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City Council Unanimously Approves Point Richmond Shores

After years of contentious wrangling over the design of the Toll Brothers project at former Terminal 1, the City Council unanimously adopted the measures required to approve Point Richmond Shores and sale of the property for some $13 million.

 

Although the City Council has been bitterly divided over how much community influence should have been allowed to affect the design of this project, it was the specter of a CEQA lawsuit brought by the Coalition of Concerned Citizens of Richmond that  finally provided the leverage to negotiate the changes that ultimately satisfied the neighborhood and Bay Trail advocates (TRAC).

 

There are both heroes and bums in this story. Among the heroes are the Coalition of Concerned Citizens of Richmond and TRAC, who were relentless in pressing for changes. Former Mayor Irma Anderson deserves credit for initiating the charrette process that led to the settlement. Those City Council members who stood fast also played a role. The chief bum is Steve Duran, Richmondís Community and Economic Development Director, who consistently refused to respect the citizens for whom he worked and encouraged Toll Brothers to forge ahead with a design that would fail. In the process, Duran ran up Toll Brothers costs and frustrations, delayed the project for years (including the revenue Richmond would derive from it), infuriated hundreds of Richmond residents and subverted the CEQA process. This is a textbook example of how a City should not manage an economic development project.

 

Toll Brothers is somewhere between a bum and a hero in this. The fact that they finally came around gives them a right to claim a bit of hero status in the end. As a bum, they fought it for a long time, but that may not have happened without the encouragement and support of Duran.

 

See Coalition of Concerned Citizens Sues Over Point Richmond Shores, January 13, 2007, Toll Brothers Must Be Smiling, November 15, 2006, Richmond Policies, CEQA Violations and Housing Recession May Doom Toll project, August 27, 2006, Trouble For Toll Brothers?, July 30, 2006, Toll Brothers Tells Richmond To Take Its Trail and Stick It, July 22, 2006, Toll Brothers Lavishes Money on Dublin, Stiffs Richmond, January 27, 2007 and More On Terminal 1 EIR Fraud, August 6, 2006.