A small footnote in the City of Richmond’s “public scoping notice” this summer brought out speakers to a City Hall hearing to call for a full Environmental Impact Report on Point Molate development plans. The City is proposing to do an amended, or “supplemental,” Environmental Impact Report (SEIR) to update a previous EIR for a combined casino and condo project. However, the residents noticed that the City was suddenly introducing a very new project by allowing the possible doubling of condo development to over 2,000 units on this environmentally sensitive shoreline property.
Last summer, residents participated in long-sought community planning meetings to outline a vision for Point Molate. The planning process included tours of Point Molate and follow-up planning sessions. Many residents were able to tour the Point Molate uplands and historic buildings for the first time. In subsequent community planning sessions, residents expressed overwhelming support for keeping the south watershed as a public park and outdoor recreational space for kids and families. Over three-quarters of residents participating in community planning meetings supported building housing downtown or only limited housing construction in the already disturbed north watershed (site of the historic Winehaven building). The Council adopted both the consultant and the community’s plans. However, in January 2019, Mayor Tom Butt received enough votes from a new City Council to remove any restrictions on building in the environmentally sensitive south watershed.
At the hearing and in written comments, EBCNPS commented that adding more than a thousand new housing units makes this a new project and requires a new, current Environmental Impact Report.
For info on ongoing information on Point Molate developments, also see https://ptmolatealliance.org/.
Jim Hanson, Conservation Committee Chair