Moratorium on Expansion of Alameda Towne Centre
ALAMEDA CITY HALL HAS GONE TOO FAR Citizen\'s Call for a Moratorium on the Expansion Project at Alameda Towne Centre (August 2008) The City of Alameda Planning Board should NOT certify the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) for the Alameda Towne Centre Expansion Project. How can City Staff and consultants conclude that increasing Alameda Towne Centre by 30% - from 545,000 to 706,000 square feet - creating a regional mall with a major discount store would not impact Alameda\'s environment and streets This increase would generate an estimated 9,700 additional vehicles per weekday - a 50% traffic increase on the streets adjacent to Alameda Towne Centre, yet the FEIR states there would be no traffic impacts. How can the City conclude that only a few minor modifications at intersections are needed to accommodate such a major traffic-generating project From a traffic perspective, nothing has changed with regard to this project since the Target 2006 Draft Environmental Impact Report was released. Despite voluminous evidence to the contrary, incredibly, the City Staff still insists the Target proposal would cause no adverse traffic impacts. Thus, the Final EIR published June 25, 2008, still allows a discount store at Alameda Towne Centre. In fact, this time, the FEIR gives developers leeway to put in an even larger discount store by modifying the Mervyn\'s building to add a second story and a multi-level garage! Alameda is an island. We have a finite amount of land. Development rules that work for other cities simply do not apply here. If we are to retain the quality of life that beckoned us to live here in the first place, we must give more careful consideration to the way we develop our city. We cannot afford to rush to judgment. The problems with this project began when it was originally built on the bay side of the island, instead of the estuary side. Now, City Staff plans to compound that error by significantly increasing the size of the centre. That will bring more traffic, more noise and more air pollution to surrounding neighborhood streets. We cannot allow this to happen! The citizens of Alameda are not against growth; we are against poorly planned growth. We demand a voice in decisions about the way our city grows. We implore the Planning Board to REJECT the FEIR for the Alameda Towne Centre Expansion Project until a reality-based, technically correct assessment of its impacts can be presented and reviewed by the public. We, the people, will settle for no less. Let the shopping center\'s owners complete the part of their remodel, that is already approved .Then - and only then - can the traffic and environmental impacts of the center be evaluated realistically. We, the undersigned residents and taxpayers of Alameda, PETITION the City of Alameda Planning Board and the Alameda City Council to take the following actions: 1. REJECT the second Planned Development Amendment (PDA 05-0004). 2. REJECT the associated FEIR granting further expansion rights to the developer of Alameda Towne Centre. 3. Insist that the developer complete all aspects of the project that have already been approved and then insist they complete all conditions of the first Planned Development Agreement. These conditions include construction of sidewalks, widening of internal driveways so the fire trucks, delivery trucks and buses fit within the centre\'s roadways, add bicycle facilities and other amenities such as landscaping. 4. Then - and only then - conduct new, reality-based traffic and environmental studies for any further expansion. 5. Allow ample time for thorough public review and comment on the new evaluations. We - the citizens who elected you - demand the City Council and City Planning Board adopt an open, transparent process when analyzing all proposed developments on Alameda Island. We demand a process that places citizens squarely at the center of every development debate; that recognizes the very purpose of city government is to respond to the concerns of its citizens; and that emphasizes the PUBLIC in the term PUBLIC SERVANT. The bottom line is that traffic doesn\'t impact roadways; it impacts people and their quality of life.