West County Times 9/17/2009

Letter to the Editor
September 17, 2009

Richmond’s proposal to rezone Point Isabel for commercial development and housing circumvents the community’s desires, while benefiting Kohl’s.

Kohl’s leased property at Point Isabel more than two years ago. Then it announced plans to open a 99,011-square-foot department store.

That land is zoned light industrial, minimizing the impact on adjacent critical wildlife habitat.

Kohl’s needed Richmond to spot-zone for commercial development. That required a hearing and the public was against it. We want to preserve the shoreline, with the lightest possible industrial footprint.

In February, Kohl’s dropped out, citing “the general state of the economy.” (Meanwhile, it took over 31 Mervyns and this month opens six Bay Area stores.)

Five months later, Richmond issued a draft general plan rezoning most of Point Isabel as regional commercial mixed use. With this, Kohl’s and others could build with no public hearing. Housing — with its light, noise, and trash — would be a wildlife disaster.

Costco was grandfathered in on the site of a co-op warehouse. The USPS facility — vigorously opposed — was only OK’d with the lease of the park to East Bay Regional Park District as mitigation.

Nothing will mitigate for intensive development at Point Isabel. Enough is enough.

Mary Barnsdale, El Cerrito

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