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A train wreck at Towne Centre

Submitted by on 1, September 23, 2008 – 10:00 amNo Comment

And here we thought we’d get an early night Monday. Ha!

The Planning Board was slated to approve a plan to allow Alameda Towne Centre to expand to about 706,000 square feet from its current size of about 600,000 square feet, most of which would go to a second story for the soon-to-be-Kohl’s and shoreline improvements that will include new restaurants. The plan would require additional review of a proposed parking garage across from FutureKohl’s and a host of noise and building height and size controls worked out in a deal with neighbors of the center. The board discussed all this about a month ago already but continued the item to Monday. There were only seven speakers.

And yet …

Several members of the board said they didn’t feel comfortable with the expansion plan. They want to see how the center fills in before they give the okay to expand. Anne Cook, who referenced the debate over OSH at the City Council last week, asked why they should okay an expansion for the center if we can’t get the stores we want in there. But they may not exactly be able to say no to it all, either.

Apparently, the Planning Board okayed an expansion to 657,000 square feet back in 2003, contingent on the center’s management coming up with a plan for the shoreline and a location for a gas station. Or maybe they didn’t. Or could it have been 681,000? Even the two members who were on the board in 2003, Cook and Andrew Cunningham, seemed unclear as to what they approved. Staff is going to check it out. And get back to the board. Which will take this up again on October 13. Six days after the City Council is slated to hear an appeal of the board’s approval of an environmental review of the proposal and several elements the board approved in August.

Stay tuned.

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