A group of residents has been battling hard to stop Costo’s proposed 32-pump gas station on a former Office Depot parcel across from the Danville store. The Danville store was shoehorned into a smaller than ideal parcel so there was no room gas pumps on site. At the time, it immediately became a huge source of sales tax revenue with Danville with San Ramon taking all the traffic impacts.
The second project, redevelopment of The Marketplace Shopping Center, also is running into head winds. The plan calls for demolishing more than 57,000 square feet of the existing center including the anchor store, Nob Hill Foods. The developers are proposing a 284-unit apartment complex that would rise five stories.
The Planning Commission held a workshop earlier this month on the plan. The staff report noted that it includes 42 studio units (averaging 604 square feet), 148 one-bedroom (averaging 772 square feet) and 94 two-bedroom units (averaging 1,103 square feet). A total of 32 units would be reserved for low and very low income households.
Commissioners took no action, but comments indicated that the five-story height could be an issue. Residential neighborhoods are located south of the shopping center that was developed about 35 years ago. It’s across Bollinger Canyon Road from Central Park and City Hall.
The gas station battle has similar aspects to the fight over the Pleasanton Costco that now is trapped in a second legal action after the city redid the environmental documents. In both cases, opponents have thrown any available mud against the legal wall in hopes something will stick.
The 32-pump Costco San Ramon station certainly will generate its own traffic apart from the big box store. The Planning Commission’s approval was appealed to the City Council in December. It’s connected to west San Ramon directly by the Fostoria Way overpass, while the Crow Canyon Road arterial is a long block away. There are no residential units nearby.
The Safer San Ramon group is calling for a full environmental impact report including a traffic study. Other demands include: fiscal impact study, cumulative air quality study, independent study of impact on local businesses, delivery of fuel schedule, queuing capacity at each pump, demand and emission of pollutants during construction. It also notes that operating hours are longer than other area Costcos as well as the station was not included in the North Camino Ramon Specific Plan.
As you can see, any and all mud that may stick. And mind you, this is a gas station surrounded by retail and business uses, not a neighborhood. The nearest residences are more than 500 feet away, significantly more than the 300-foot setback recommended by the Bay Area air board.
It’s striking to compare the challenges to the Costco gas station as well as the potential for the apartment complex with the smooth way Sunset Development changed its master plan for Bishop Ranch to accommodate 4,500 high-density units after adding its City Center project. It got done with barely a peep from the public and will transform the park into a truly mixed-use development with dwellings so close to offices that people can walk to work.