Quantcast

North Bay Business Journal

Friday, March 12, 2010, 3:59 pm

Group sues Petaluma over approval of Regency shopping center

Print Friendly Print Friendly    

Share this item

    PETALUMA — A group opposed to the East Washington Place regional shopping center project has sued the city of Petaluma, asking for the City Council’s early February project approvals to be set aside and a new round of environmental-impact analysis be conducted because of alleged lapses in following the California Environmental Quality Act.

    A group called Petaluma Community Coalition petitioned Sonoma County Superior Court on Thursday to set aside the City Council’s Feb. 8 approvals of a 364,000-square-foot shopping center and ancillary office space Florida-based Regency Centers plans to build on about 34 acres on East Washington Street near Highway 101, according to the 13-page filing.

    Also sought is a halt to any further project activity Regency could take with the approvals.

    “As certified by the city, the project’s final EIR fails to identify, evaluate and require mitigation for all direct, indirect and cumulative environmental impacts the project will cause,” the complaint said.

    The coalition faulted the city for its CEQA process in analyzing and mitigating significant impacts on the environment, requiring “all feasible mitigation measures”, discussing project alternatives, responding “adequately” to draft environmental report comments, recirculating the report when “significant new information” materialized and supporting its statement of overriding concerns for approving the project despite any significant impacts.

    In a separate statement, the coalition identified a possible Friedman’s Home Improvement store as the second anchor tenant in the center along with Target as the new information. Friedman’s was noted as having a letter of intent to lease space in the center in late November, as hearings on the final environmental report before the City Council were commencing.

    Also claimed is that the city violated state planning and zoning law. The coalition claims that a mostly retail project goes against the “mixed use” land-use designation in the current city General Plan.

    In its statement on the CEQA lawsuit, coalition members said a mixed-use project should have residences above retail and better transit and pedestrian access.

    “What we’re getting now is a typical 1970s style big box strip mall that is completely auto-dependent,” said Paul Francis, co-founder of Petaluma Neighborhood Association. “There is no housing. This is not a mixed-use project. It’s opposite of what’s called for on this site.”

    The project originally included housing by Pulte Homes, but that part of the project was deleted as the housing market soured since the project was first proposed in December 2004.

    The coalition is led by former city councilman Matt Maguire, Dale Axelrod and Xander Robb and describes itself as a” collection of residents and community groups” such as Petaluma Neighborhood Association, the Petaluma River Council, Petaluma Tomorrow and the OWL Foundation. The coalition’s law firm in this case is M.R. Wolfe & Associates of San Francisco.

    Copyright © 1988–2014 North Bay Business Journal
    View the policy for linking to website content.

    Print Friendly Print Friendly    

    Comments

    5 Comments

    1. March 12, 2010, 4:16 pm

      by BOBKUR

      THE CITY OF PETALUMA IS GOING TO BE THE NEXT VALLEJO. THIS DEVELOPER IS GOING TO OWN THE CITY AFTER THE LAWSUITS. THE DEVELOPERS BOUGHT THE LAND FROM THE SCHOOL DISTRICT AND FRONTED THE MONEY TO BUILD A NEW JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL. SO NOW THE CITY WANTS THEM TO JUMP THROUGH HOOPS. I HOPE THE DEVELOPER GETS ALL HE WANTS.


    2. March 12, 2010, 4:22 pm

      by G. H. Larsen

      IF WE THINK THE ECONOMY IS DEPRESSED NOW, WITH GROUPS LIKE THIS DICTATING WHAT IS DONE WE WILL HAVE NO ECONOMY AND NO JOBS AND BECOME A FULL FLEDGED THIRD WORLD COUNTRY AS THEY WANT. HOW WONDERFUL FOR AL GORE, TIGER SALAMANDER AND SPOTTED OWL.


    3. March 14, 2010, 2:14 pm

      by Ray Stawiarski

      These people are standing in the way of progress for the entire city. The people of Petaluma need to remember these names: Matt Maguire, Dale Axelrod, Xander Robb, Paul Francis. Be sure to give them a peice of your mind; don’t EVER do business with them and think twice before treating them with anything but contempt. That is my opinion.


    4. November 7, 2010, 10:32 pm

      by jack

      Mr. Stawiarski, do you really condone treating people who disagree with you politically with contempt? What happened to civil discourse in this society?


    5. April 17, 2012, 12:48 am

      by max

      Actually, the people involved in the lawsuit are all residents of Petaluma and all live in the neighborhood near where they are going to build the project. If that wasn’t enough; the developer, Regency Centers (based in Jacksonville FL) sued the city first, filing a SLAPP suit against the City and pressuring the planners to approve their project even though they knew it was a junky project. The community members sued afterwards, forcing the developers to make concessions that were economically good for the community. Two provisions of that settlement agreement were… One, that the developer drop their frivolous lawsuit. Two, that the developer pay back the city attorney’s fees related to the cost of Regency Center’s lawsuit against the city of Petaluma, totaling about $72,000! I would say, that was a good job that these four residents did for the community, they deserve respect!


    Submit Your Comments

    Required

    Required, will not be published

    Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. For more information, please see our Comments and Letters Policy. To share this item by email or social media, use the links above.

    Do not use this form to contact people, companies or organizations mentioned in this story. Contact them directly. Private messages left here will be deleted.