Back to Design Review: Public Hearing Wednesday, October 16. We have BIG questions for WC City Staff
Updated: May 1, 2020
Hi neighbors and those interested in the Amy's development on 2nd Ave and N, Main in Walnut Creek!
Amy's and Hall Equities are back to show the Design Review Commission some updated plans for the development on 2nd Ave and N. Main and we'd like you to do two things in preparation for this next meeting on Wednesday, October 16. Even if you've done it before:
1) Please write to the city planner to express your views that regardless of whether or not you support having an Amy's at this location...at the very least, you DO NOT WANT TO SEE AN EXIT or ENTRANCE that dumps on to 2nd Ave.
If you could send those comments by tomorrow - Wednesday, the 9th, that would be great.
The most important address to write to is the Planning Office:
The assigned City Planner is Alan Carreon email@example.com
2) Show up to the meeting on Wednesday the 16th and express your concerns about entrances and exits onto 2nd Ave. More details below about what specifically we want to hear FROM THE CITY PLANNERS.
Here's the update on where we are today.
THE GOOD NEWS
The developer and tenant appear to be listening and we've come to a place where this might just work...assuming the city traffic engineers and staff planners don't prevent the community and the developer from getting what we BOTH want.
Amy's and Hall have gone back to the drawing board to create a few new site plans that address many of the concerns that the neighborhood and the design review commissioners have repeatedly expressed about this location.
One of the site plan concepts that Amy's/Hall presented to the city staff and traffic engineers had NO ENTRANCE or EXIT from or to 2nd Avenue
Amy's/Hall's FIRST CHOICE site plan has NO ENTRANCE or EXIT on 2nd Avenue - (per Dave Wolfram from Amy's). At this point, both LPNU and Amy's want a plan that has NO ENTRANCE or EXIT on 2nd Avenue.
For those that want Amy's to come to Walnut Creek -- there is a way to UNITE with Larkey Park Neighbors United around a drive-thru that has NO ENTRANCE or EXIT from or to 2nd Avenue.
We have cool stickers (above) that you can have and wear at this next meeting that makes it clear that the issue is protecting 2nd Avenue from vehicles entering or leaving this development from Masses, the paint store, or Amy's.
The Design Review commission only reviews the design elements. As they said at the last meeting, they do not approve the CUP (conditional use permit) or deal with issues of traffic or safety "outside the boundaries of the development parcel itself". So this meeting on the 16th will again be about, or is supposed to be about, the internal flow of the site, on-site parking, landscaping, safety of pedestrians INSIDE the boundaries of the development.
That said....the developer is presenting a plan for a Drive-Thru even though a Drive-Thru CUP has not been approved. A CUP needs to be approved by the Planning Commission -- which sees the plan after Design Review has "approved" or "recommended it" from their perspective. It's a bit of a chicken and egg dilemma.
THE SITUATION NOW...or THE NOT SO GOOD NEWS
The two Plans that Hall/Amy's are bringing the Design Review Hearing on October 16 both put traffic on 2nd Ave.
If the neighborhood and the Developer/Amy's BOTH are UNITED in not wanting ANY impact to 2nd Ave and our neighborhood, why is the plan that has ALL TRAFFIC from and to N. Main -- with NONE coming on to 2nd Ave -- not being presented the Design Review Committee?????
ASK THE CITY PLANNERS & TRAFFIC ENGINEERS!
Apparently, the Walnut Creek staff and the developer's own traffic engineers say
that this development site
MUST include an entrance/exit
on to 2nd Ave!
So, the situation is the Larkey Park neighborhood would be ok with an Amy's drive-thru if there is NO impact to 2nd Ave and the neighborhood's traffic, the developer and Amy's also prefer a plan that has NO traffic exit or entrance on 2nd Ave, but THE CITY OF WALNUT CREEK STAFF (and the traffic engineer from the developer) WILL NOT RECOMMEND a plan design UNLESS it dumps traffic on a residential street!
How ironic and messed up is that?
The city planning staff and a hired traffic engineer want to do something that isn't good for our neighborhood and that causes Amy's to 1) reduce the size of it's building further and 2) has fewer parking spots. (Per Dave Wolfgram of Amy's the No 2nd Ave Plan allows them to keep the size of their building as is and gives them more parking.)
LPNU and Amy's are UNITED around a plan, but the traffic engineers are worried about the impact to N. MAIN STREET more than they're worried about the wishes of the neighborhood and the best interest of Amy's.
So that's the focus of our efforts at this point -- to ask the question of the city staff and the traffic "experts" WHY? WHY are THREE entrances/exits on N. Main (the traffic corridor for this area) insufficient for this development?
WHY won't you recommend a NO 2nd Ave plan that would be supported by the neighborhood and is the preferred plan for Amy's?
WHY are you more concerned about more traffic issues on N. Main than you are putting more traffic on a residential street with no sidewalks, no lights, no bike lanes used by walkers, bikers, runners, pets, families, and residents every day?
The Larkey Park neighborhood group supports a NO 2nd Ave Plan.
The wider community wants an Amy's in Walnut Creek.
Everyone wants this parcel developed because it's been left by the developer to fall into the current awful state.
Amy's wants to be a good neighbor and prefers a NO 2nd Ave Plan -- it's better for them.
The neighborhood has for YEARS said there are issues with non-local traffic cutting through on 2nd Ave. We've further called out issues about no sidewalks, no lights, pots holes and other significant safety and quality of life issues to the city and are ignored.
Now we learn that it's the city staff who wants to try to correct the existing traffic issues of their making on N. MAIN by using 2nd AVE, our only controlled intersection to our homes, as a "safety valve" for more traffic issues on N. MAIN.
Now that the developer/Amy's and LPNU are united on a plan that does not use 2nd Ave, our questions really are for the city staff and the traffic folks. They need to directly state why they feel it's essential to have a plan that impacts 2nd Ave in this way. We feel the city planners/traffic engineers need to work on fixing the traffic issues on N. MAIN street -- but the answer to those problems isn't to cause traffic issues on our neighborhood street! If they feel that the traffic impact of a NO 2nd AVE plan is too great for N. MAIN, then the answer is to recognize that this lot, which butts up against homes and sits on a RESIDENT street, should NOT be used for ANY Drive-thru business - and no CUP should be granted when it gets to the Planning commission.
If you have any questions about the position of LPNU or wish to CC us on your email to the the city planning staff, please email us. firstname.lastname@example.org We'll have representatives at the meeting on the 16th so we hope to see you there. If you can't make it, please at least write to the city planner above to express your concern about using 2nd Ave to alleviate traffic problems on N. Main. EVEN IF YOU SUPPORT AN AMY's at this location, there is no reason to support having an exit/entrance on a residential street. We'll keep you updated on next steps after this meeting.
Thank you for continuing to follow this effort and continuing to support making our neighborhood safer and more liveable for everyone!