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All You Want To Know About Point Molate

Copying the recent Berkeley Daily Planet article in the June 9, 2008, E-FORUM (Point Molate According to the Daily Planet, June 9, 2008) and the city Managerís report on the Draft Finding of Suitability for Early Transfer (FOSET) for the remaining Naval Fuel Depot property at Point Molate (www.bracpmo.navy.mil) resulted in a flurry of emails asking questions about Point Molate. Most were concerned about the prospect of a casino, and others were concerned about development impacts, such as traffic at an already choked Richond-San Rafael bridge approach.

 

As always, the E-FORUM remains the best and most comprehensive source of information about City of Richmond affairs, and Point Molate is no exception. Following is everything you wanted to know about Point Molate and much, much more:

Point Molate is located on the San Pablo Peninsula approximately 1.5 miles north of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. Beginning in 1942, Point Molate served as a U.S. Navy fuel storage and transfer facility. It closed on September 30, 1995 under the U.S. Department of Defense Base Realignment and Closure Act of 1990. A 45-member Blue Ribbon Advisory Committee developed the Point Molate Reuse Plan (Plan), which was approved by the Richmond City Council acting as the Local Reuse Authority (LRA), in 1997. This Plan serves as the guide for the reuse and development of the site.

On September 23, 2003, the City of Richmond obtained the deed from the U.S. Navy for 85 % of Point Molate. Due to the beautiful location and historical attributes of Point Molate, the City hopes the site can:

  • Enhance the economic base and long-term economic viability of the City;
  • Create and attract job and business opportunities;
  • Improve the Cityís regional presence and attractiveness; and
  • Expand open space and recreational opportunities.

On December 16, 2003, after a competitive process, the LRA selected Upstream Investments, LLC (Upstream) as the developer of the site. The Richmond City Council approved a Land Disposition Agreement with Upstream on November 9, 2004, authorizing the City to sell its portion of Point Molate to Upstream. Upstream currently proposes to transfer ownership of Point Molate to an Indian tribal group, the Guidiville Band of Pomo Indians, to develop the site as an Indian casino. On March 7, 2006, the City Council approved the First Amendment to the Land Disposition Agreement to allow for phased site development. Upstream provides semi-annual status reports on progress made under the Land Disposition Agreement.

The City of Richmond, Upstream and the U.S. Navy continue to be engaged in negotiations regarding the cleanup, remaining transfer and proposed development of Point Molate. The California Regional Water Quality Control Board is the Stateís lead agency overseeing the cleanup and transfer of the site. The major tasks still ahead are:

  • Planning and research for the early transfer of remaining land (15%) from the Navy (The Draft FOSET described above is a step in this process)
  • Development of strategies for land planning, infrastructure phasing and economic development;
  • Site permitting and remediation;
  • Infrastructure and building development and construction; and
  • Management of programs to benefit Richmond.

The Point Molate Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) was established as a way to involve the public and increase awareness of the environmental and restoration actions for Point Molate. For more information about this Board, please visit the RAB website

Beginning in 2004, Upstream Investments, LLC (Upstream) has paid the City of Richmond $10 million to continue its right to purchase Point Molate. The final $5 million payment is due in January 2009, and will entitle Upstream to make the purchase for one more year, at which time Upstreamís rights terminate.

There are substantial hurdles Upstream has to jump to complete the deal, including:

  • A certified EIS/EIR
  • An approved cleanup plan and the funding to implement it
  • Agreement to take the land into trust by the Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • A compact with the governor of California
  • Approval of the Development Plan by the City Council
  • Payment of the remainder of the $20 million purchase down payment and execution of a note for $30 million.

If Upstream is successful:

  • The City will receive at least $10 million to $20 million dollars annually for various service agreements debt service, fees and mitigations.
  • There are substantial requirements to train and hire Richmond residents for jobs.
  • The Guideville Band will build and maintain a waterfront park and Bay Trail through Point Molate.
  • Most of the site will remain as open space and will have public access.
  • The development is conceptually similar to the Reuse Plan adopted by the City in 1995.

It is anticipated that concerns such as traffic will have to be fully mitigated, probably by major changes to the I-580/Western Drive interchange just east of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.

Many people were not here in 2004 when the deal was made or have forgotten the details. For full coverage of how it unfolded, including the drama involving players such as Chevron and Willie Brown, see the following E-FORUMS, mostly from 2004, in chronological order: