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The trucks of Towne Centre

Submitted by on 1, September 22, 2008 – 7:45 amNo Comment

Looks like the folks at Alameda Towne Centre are making a few concessions to neighbors to try to get a proposed expansion of the shopping center through.

The Planning Board is slated to discuss the proposed changes before it votes on a planned development amendment to expand the center at its meeting tonight.

The center’s owners, Harsch Investment Properties, want to expand it to 706,000 square feet (they had previously got the okay to expand to 681,000 square feet; it’s about 600,000 square feet now) and put a parking garage across the way from where Kohl’s is going to go in. But neighbors expressed concerns about the traffic the expansion would generate and noise from late-night truck deliveries and predawn power-washing and lot-cleaning, plus access improvements they say the developer was supposed to make as part of its makeover of the center.

Harsch has agreed to limit the hours when street sweepers and other equipment are used and also require trucks to use the center’s Park Street entrance after 10 at night. And they said they will submit to additional review of building additions of 15,000 square feet or more, new construction that tops 37 feet – and the planned parking garage, to make sure it won’t interfere with access to the center. (And here’s an interesting tidbit: the center’s management expects the expansion to include a second floor for Kohl’s, as we’ve reported before, and also ground-floor shops in the parking garage.)

One concerned neighbor who we spoke with said she’s cautiously optimistic about the compromises, which she credited Willows resident Dorothy Reid with helping to hammer out.

“If we can get that into the PDA, it will have a lot more teeth than the agreements we have made in the past,” said Christine Healey, who lives near the center and said she has had problems with loud, late-night truck deliveries and predawn noise from leaf blowers and street sweepers.

Still, an appeal of the Planning Board’s earlier certification of an environmental report for the project and approval of some elements of the expansion plan is apparently moving forward over concerns about the extension of the center’s hours from 6 a.m. to midnight and deliveries and maintenance being allowed 24 hours a day. The appeal could go to the City Council on October 7.

Staff documents for tonight’s discussion are right here (item 9B).

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