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College Avenue Safeway Expansion Meeting of June 19, 2008 - Video

This is a video of the recent June 19, 2008 meeting to present Safeway's controversial plan to dramatically move and expand the current Safeway store at College Avenue and Claremont.

The new store will be at 6310 College Avenue and roughly at what is now a corner gas station. The new 75,000 square foot store -- three times the size of the current facility -- will undoubtefly bring more traffic and also foot traffic closer to the center of Rockridge in North Oakland. That's the concern of the over 300 people who packed the room on that hot Thursday June 19th evening.

The video features incumbent Councilmember Jane Brunner's presentation of the meeting, a talk with Patrick McCullough, who was Brunner's challenger in the last election primary (2008), a presentation by Dan Metzger of the Claremont / Elwood Neighbor Association, Stu Flashman of The Rockridge Community Planning Council, and Elizabeth Jewel, the planning consultant, as well as Todd Paradis, of the Safeway Real Estate department, and a lively talk by Nancy McKay and Susan Shawl of the "Concerned Neighbors" group.

There were 60 public speakers, and most of them were against the project, while the Berkeley Daily Planet counted 5 supporters. I didn't get that part of the meeeting into the video as it's already 32 minutes long.

Yes, you're going to need some coffee to see it. Most of the video contains an informative presentation by Paradis, and includes slides on what the building is planned to look like. In the video, you can hear some hisses.

The climate of the meeting could be described as edgy.

I think given the economy and other matters, Safeway's timing is terrible. People are already stressed out and working just to make ends meet. Gas is as high as it can be, and going up. So any undesired change in the neighborhood is going to rile up anyone beyond normal levels. That's what's happening with Safeway.

Also, this is not the only project Safeway is planning. They want to expand in Berkeley, on Solono Avenue, too. There are Oakland and Berkeley residents who are talking about forming a "joint opposition" to Safeway's plans in general.

I'll keep an eye on this issue for you. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy the video.
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