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Richmond Council considers shoreline options

Will new General Plan protect shore - or sacrifice it to development?

Richmond has a huge length of Bay shoreline, but much of that shoreline is threatened with development - casinos, high-rise residential buildings, and gated communities - and little is adequately protected. As the city revises its General Plan, however, we have the opportunity to preserve these lands as parks, habitat, and other appropriate uses, to complete the vision that Sylvia McLaughlin, co-founder of Save San Francisco Bay, has articulated for creating a "necklace of parks and open space" along the East Bay shore. In addition, the Sierra Club supports applying principles of environmental justice and smart growth to planning for all the city's land.

The Sierra Club supports the North Richmond Shoreline Open Space Alliance, a local grassroots organization of North Richmond residents and environmental groups. It advocates protecting the North Richmond shoreline as open space. It would do this by specifying that existing open space remain zoned as habitat and open space. On properties already zoned for development, any right to development could be transferred to other locations away from the shoreline, and the shoreline lands then zoned as open space.

The city is now considering three options. Option 1 is the one that would protect the North Richmond shoreline, Point Molate, and the shoreline at the Zeneca site as park and open space. This designation, however, is defined as active recreation. Many of the shoreline areas are marshlands, and Option 1 needs to be strengthened to protect them as habitat.

For several of these key areas the city is considering competing proposals for inappropriately intensive development.

  • At Point Molate, Richmond has developed a suitable plan for a small boutique development based around the historic Winehaven building. The rest of the peninsula should be protected as park and open space. The city should reject casino development and luxury gated housing at Point Molate.
  • The Wildcat Creek Marsh is an important habitat area, and must not be used for port facilities. The Port of Oakland should remain the focus of any East Bay port expansion.
  • The area around Zeneca has serious toxic contamination. Through the tireless work of Sherry Padgett and other South Richmond residents, we are now learning just how toxic this site is. It needs to be cleaned up and protected for habitat, but it is doubtful that it could be made safe for any development.
  • The Liquid Gold site, adjacent to the Hoffman Marsh, is very contaminated land owned by the Union Pacific Railroad. Development there would be devastating to the marsh. In the past Richmond has considered high-rise development here, but the city should protect this area as open space.


Write to the Richmond City Council:
c/o Sierra Club Bay Chapter
2530 San Pablo Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94702.

Urge the Council to protect the North Richmond shoreline exclusively as open space and habitat, with compatible recreational uses, and to adopt the planning principles of the Sierra Club and the North Richmond Shoreline Open Space Alliance. Tell them not to allow development at Zeneca and Liquid Gold, and to limit development at Point Molate to the terms of the original plan which the old City Council scrapped in favor of the casino-hotel development. We have inserted a return post card in some copies of this Yodeler. You can send that in, although your hand-written letter is even more effective.

To work with the Club on these issues, contact or call (510) 848-0800, ext. 304


2007 San Francisco Sierra Club Yodeler


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