PCC Appeals Bigbox Project Design

Re: Appeal of Planning Commission approval on April 13th, 2010 of Site Plan and Architectural review of the East Washington Place Development, including architecture, landscaping, layout, and site amenities. Regency Petaluma, LLC, applicant/property owner.

 April 26, 2010

 Dear Councilmembers:

 This letter is to outline the basic pertinent facts and grounds for our appeal, as well as the relief we seek in regards to the above referenced Planning Commission action.

 On April 13th, The Planning Commission substantially approved the above referenced project design, with minor modifications. Because the approved design with changes clearly contradicts the Petaluma General Plan’s direction and specifications for this site, we are compelled to appeal the Commission’s decision.

 Among other major reasons for our appeal besides General Plan inconsistency are:

             The current approved configuration of Johnson Dr. as illustrated on the applicant’s plans is detrimental to the health and safe use of the swim center and skateboard park by children and adults due to increased exposure to air pollutants and toxic particulate matter due to the proximity and amount of new traffic caused by the project

  • Lack of safe, friendly pedestrian and bike access (Few large intersections that concentrate pedestrian and bike access are contrary to the General Plan.)
  • Lack of “robust” mixed uses incorporated into the plan
  • Lack of an integrated design that blends the project with surrounding uses
  • Lack of buildings being situated along Kenilworth Dr.
  • Lack of designated specific locations for solar photovoltaic arrays

 These are a few of the reasons we are appealing this decision. We regret that the Commission was too timid and easily cowed to assert its clearly stated preferences for some meaningful changes, forcing us to take this action.

 Among the relief we seek are:

  • Honor the vision for this site as specified in the General Plan
  • Reconfigure Johnson Dr. to move away from swim center/skate park: extend further south to T into an extension of Fairgrounds Dr., which can connect to Kenilworth Dr.
  • Place multistory mixed use buildings with active uses on ground floor with housing or office space on upper floors along Kenilworth Dr.
  • Reduce the acreage of paved parking lots by mandating a two story Target building (A1) with structured parking underneath
  • More pedestrian gathering areas, plazas and pedestrian features on site
  • Better, safer and more pedestrian and bike access points connecting to surrounding areas
  • Make Kenilworth Drive between Johnson Dr. and East Washington St. into a Pedestrian/Bike walkway only
  • Specify roof areas designated for solar PV arrays (Note that HVAC equipment is easily situated almost anywhere on a typical roof, contrary to the applicant architect’s specious claims that tenant HVAC equipment can only go in predetermined locations, which just happen to be unknown at this time.)
  • Provide traffic control and calming improvements to East D St. and Old East Side intersections

 These are some of the changes we feel are minimally necessary to make this project even close to acceptable for Petaluma. We hope that regardless of Regency’s meritless and bullying lawsuit, you will be able to rectify some of the most egregious shortcomings now embedded in the plan.

 Sincerely,

Petaluma Community Coalition

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