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Saturday, August 21, 2010

New Neighborhood Group Fights Ikea Expansion

Ikea To Expand Into Emery Bay Village Neighborhood

Group Decries "Wrong Site/Wrong Use"

Emeryville City Hall backed development proposals have a way of incubating neighborhood preservation groups. Such is the case of a new, so far nameless group some are calling the '53rd Street Neighborhood Committee', an ad hoc resident group formed to stop a proposed Ikea bulky item customer pick-up center slated for 53rd & Hollis Streets next to the sylvan resident enclave of Emery Bay Village.

The committee, some 125 resident petition signers strong, says the proposal is a "regional retail facility", incompatible with Emeryville's new General Plan and will negatively impact an adjacent existing 'family friendly' neighborhood by 200 customer vehicle trips per day, not including the copious delivery truck traffic generated by the proposal.

Emery Bay Village resident Marcia DuBois, a member of the committee's 12 person 'core group', says Ikea representatives gave a presentation of the proposed expansion to 52 neighbors in late July but was met with "blanket opposition". She noted, "Not one citizen speaker was in support of the proposal". Ms DuBois said much opposition centers on the negative impacts that will be borne by neighbors. She cautioned, "The projected 200 customers pick ups per day, with vehicle activity from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm - seven days a week, would severely degrade our quality of life with noise, fumes, potential hazards and traffic jams".

Ms Dubois saved much of her ire for the incompatibility with Emeryville's new General Plan, "We need the citizens of Emeryville to stand up for the General Plan so many worked so hard to create: big-box regional retail should be west of the RR tracks and south of 40th St., not next to homes. This location is zoned for office/technology, a use more compatible with family housing".

Ikea seemed to scale back the plan after calls from committee members highlighted incompatibility with the General Plan. The existing warehouse where Ikea proposes the pick-up center, is about 120,000 square feet and Ikea at first planned to use more than half, 62,000 square feet, a number that would automatically require a General Plan amendment under 'secondary use' planning provisions. Later, committee members noted the planned usage had dropped to 59,000 square feet, barely under the limit line and rubber stamp approvable with only a 'conditional use' permit . The 3000 square foot reduction move by Ikea has been called a pittance and a way to avoid a potentially difficult General Plan battle. Some neighbors insist the Ikea project remains a General Plan violation, at least in spirit. Others called the slight-of-hand a cynical ploy by Ikea.

Marcia DuBois joined her core group colleagues on the 53rd Street Neighborhood Committee in opposition to the IKEA proposal, "We oppose the location of an IKEA bulky-item customer pick up facility immediately adjacent to a family-oriented residential community of 142 homes, 2 pre-schools, a children's gym and a high school". She appealed to all Emeryville residents to help save the neighborhood, "Please come to the Planning Commission meeting on Thursday, August 26 to protect our homes" she said.

The committee is primarily comprised of Emery Bay Village residents, 53rd Street residents and Emeryville Child Development Center parents.

The Planning Commission will debate and vote on this issue after public testimony is taken. All are encouraged to attend at 6:30 PM on Thursday August 26th at City Hall.


  1. This is going to pass...why? Because Emery Bay Village is not Watergate. Watergate residents get what they want from the city council. EBV is not on the radar.

  2. Please come to the meeting tomorrow at 7:15 pm! We must not give in to defeatism. That is what developers and their supporters count on. Let's take a stand on this issue and change the direction of events in our city.

    We have worked VERY HARD on this issue for our neighborhood and for all of Emeryville and we believe that we can win WITH THE SUPPORT OF THE CITIZENS OF EMERYVILLE! I hope to see you all tomorrow.
    Marcia DuBois
    For the 53rd St. Neighborhood Committee