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Monday, October 21, 2013

Letter to the Tattler: Scott Donahue

Concerns About the Sherwin Williams Development 

Dear Neighbors, 

I have attended three community presentations about the Sherwin-Williams development site.  What the developer is proposing is a mostly residential community with some office space and a small amount of retail.
The developer has an approach that is clear in its intent: high density rental residential.  They seem to feel their proposed project will get approved as is.  If you would like to see something else, now is the time to express your opinions – lean on your planning commissioners and council members and show up on Thursday night, the Planning Commission study session on this project.

One unquestioned assumption the developer seems to have is a density of about 80 units per acre is acceptable for this site.  However the state of California in their rulings about the rights of property owners says 30 units per acre are enough to assuage property rights concerns.  If the developer offers affordable units perhaps the state would say 40 units by right.

Residents of Emeryville expressed their concern at community meetings with the high density of the current design and how the site is inaccessible from two sides because of the railroad tracks to the west and City/Novartis property to the north.
The other assumption the developer has is the relative location of the massing of buildings.  Residents have talked about the problems of wind with the developer preferred configuration, as well as the lack of cross streets in the proposed extra long parcels. 

If you are a fan of urban living and like the high density, it could be arranged differently on the site. The residents of the 1500 Park Street building (to the south of the project site) might like more density in the northern portion of the proposed Sherwin Williams development as a bargaining chip.  The rest of the site could be more pedestrian friendly.

If we as neighbors make our opinions known this Thursday night at the Planning Commission study session at City Hall, it might make a positive difference for the neighborhood.

Scott Donahue

1420 45th Street

Scott Donahue is an artist living and working in Emeryville since 1977.  His sculptures appear on Hollis Street's PG&E building, inside the council chambers at City Hall, on the Berkeley pedestrian/bike bridge across I-80 at University Avenue and elsewhere around the Bay Area in private and public collections.  Mr Donahue has served on many municipal committees at City Hall and he currently sits on the Pedestrian/Bicycle Advisory Committee.  Scott is the brother of Tattler editor Brian Donahue. 

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