Saving Point Molate—Again



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I would like to add to my

I would like to add to my previous comments that developer Jim Levine's "clean-up" of formerly industrial, toxic lands in now-residential Marina Bay via his former company Levine Fricke has been widely regarded as a failure needing a "do-over", which will cost us big-time when the real clean up comes. I wouldn't trust the would-be casino developer to be a good steward of any development on Richmond's most beautiful open space.

Toni Hanna 203 days ago

Mayor Butt, as a former

Mayor Butt, as a former appointee to Mayor McLaughlin's inaugural Pt. Molate Advisory Committee, and as a local top-producing Realtor, I respectfully disagree with your response. As a committee we were unanimous in the opinion that the highest and best use of Pt. Molate is as the Bay Area's next great urban park, along the lines of the Presidio. This is a demonstrably sensitive ecological area--having a rare, unbroken swath of native flora throughout the watershed, and native eel grass beds that are important in combatting global warming--and a jewel of the Bay Area. From my many years working in local real estate, I can affirm that housing units are not appropriate for this area. Today's buyer (particularly millennials, who are coming into their own and will represent the largest buying block in the time frame that you're speaking of) wants housing near transportation (BART) and walkability to amenities. Housing that creates more sprawl is neither good for the environment, especially one, like Pt. Molate, that is so environmentally important and unique, nor is it marketable. Here in Richmond we need more infill housing, not putting housing units in an area requiring a car for everything. We need more infrastructure, retail and revitalization in the existing parts of Richmond where housing already exists. Much of Richmond is a food desert and lacks the kind of amenities that bring buyers to Oakland and Berkeley and keep prices high there (not to mention, good public schools, but that's a topic for another day). Our existing waterfront homes in Marina Bay (where I live) already suffer from lower home values than adjacent cities because of this very lack of amenities and balance, with the car being the only feasible transportation option (having the SF Ferry will help to mitigate this somewhat). We have 11 HOAs (planned communities) in Marina Bay already, encompassing thousands of units, with more planned for the future. Buyers wanting waterfront housing have many options at existing Marina Bay. Pt. Molate should be preserved as parkland and as a historical site for all to enjoy. People reading this, please visit Pt. Molate--the beach is open 7 days a week--and see for yourself what a special place it is, something worth preserving.

Toni Hanna 203 days ago

I am one of the Pt Molate

Pt Molate Development
I am one of the Pt Molate Community Advisory Committee (PMCAC) members since last year and my renewable term is up May 2017.

I have attended meetings and special events trying to fit in and help any way I can to lend support and give direction to what I feel a very important cause. I am a Richmond lifer born in the Annex, living in the heart of the flatlands.

My observation is it is very hard to get a consensus to get anything done. Obvious tasks that should have been attacked long ago are utility infrastructure - power, sewer, water, etc., but it has been both the Committee and the City waiting to see what the other proposes. It has to be done. Let's work on a real proposal and get something done.

Too often, there are accusations of behind the scene dealings and hidden agendas. That is as expected. It wouldn't work without different opinions because the variance is what helps the development process.

We need to work together better as a Committee and as a Community. I have been coming and going on this property since the mid-50's and I relished the opportunities that were made possible by the "GIFT" from the NAVY. Please come together and work towards a doable means for PT MOLATE and RICHMOND. Thank you.


Al Guggemos, PMCAC 203 days ago

This article is inaccurate

This article is inaccurate and deceptive and represents an agenda to move the Point Molate master plan from away from a sustainable and complete community to a backwater where the gates close at sundown.

Point Molate is not, as Helvarg writes, 413 acres. It is 270 acres; the rest is underwater.

Winehaven was not, as Helvarg writes, a "wine port." It was the largest winery in the world, built by the California Wine Association, a monopoly tha trepresented the high water mark of the wine industry pre-Prohibition.

Helvarg writes, "Tom Butt recently began negotiating a massive real-estate development that could include up to 1,100 high-end houses and condo units." This is patently inaccurate. It is true that Levine has been discussing settlement of the lawsuit between Upstream and the City of Richmond, but the City Council has taken no action, and I have seen the same proposals everyone else on the City Council has seen. I have been negotiating nothing, nor do I have the power to do so.

Point Molate is not the Farrallones, but it is intended t be an urban park not unlike, as Helvarg writes, Golden Gate park, The Presidio and Central, Park , all much larger but all including housing in or juxtaposed.

Point Molate was conveyed to the City of Richmond by the Dellums Act (Public Law 104106, which stated: “CONDITION OFCONVEYANCE.—The conveyance authorized under subsection (a) shall be subject to the condition that the City, directly or through an agreement with a public or private entity, use the conveyed property (or offer the conveyed property or use) for economic redevelopment to replace all or a part of the economic activity being lost at the parcel.”

The original Reuse Plan adopted by the City Council in 1997, included 71% open space that includes a shoreline park, the Bay Trail and the uplands. It also included a complete community represented by rehabilitated historic Winehaves buildings, and yes, new housing.

The Reuse Plan stated, "Point Molate will play an important role in enhancing the economic base of Richmond, enhancing Richmond’s regional presence, expanding open space and recreational opportunities and creating a new City neighborhood with a mix of uses…The overall vision, thematic concepts, and specific recommendations of the Plan are consistent with President Clinton’s Five Point Plan for achieving successful conversion and reuse of military bases, which emphasizes job creation and economic development."

Helvarg is part of a small but vocal group that wants more than 71% open space and no housing. Such plan would result in Point Molate being gated at sundown and close to any public use. It would also be unsustainable because the inherent value for housing is the only feasible way to fund the infrastructure needed to development and preserve the buildings in the historic district.

The Richmond General Plan 2030 states: "The former Point Molate Navy Fuel Depot area is designated as a combination of Business/Light Industrial, Medium-Density Residential, Low-Density Residential, Open Space and Parks and Recreation to reflect the conceptual land uses in the adopted 1997 Point Molate Reuse Plan” (General Plan, 3.18)" and "In the former Point Molate Navy Fuel Depot area, improvements to public areas should be guided, for the most part, by the 1997 Point Molate Reuse Plan, except any references encouraging the demolition of Building 6.” (General Plan, 3.38)."

In the recent study by the Urban Land Institute, Only two scenarios, Housing and Mixed Use, passed the test for avoiding economic underutilization. The Mixed Use alternative is similar to the 1997 Reuse Plan and Non-gaming Alternative D. The ULI study revisited one of the alternatives in the Upstream EIR, Alternative E , Total Parkland, and declared it was "underutilized."

It is not clear what Helvarg's objection to housing is. The first Awahnee Principle is "All planning should be in the form of complete and integrated communities containing housing, shops, work places, schools, parks and civic facilities essential to the daily life of the residents." The Awahnee Principles are considered the foundation of smart and sustainable growth and are cited in the General Plan 2030.

Helvarg is pushing a Utopia at Point Molate that is impractical that exists only his own mind. He is clearly awed by the natural attributes of Point Molate, but he does not understand the concept that businesses and homes can coexist with nature, just as they do in The Presidio and any number of other urban parks.

Tom Butt 204 days ago

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