The Petaluma Neighborhood Association, a group critical of “big-box” developments, is appealing the city’s recently approved Deer Creek shopping center, arguing that the project’s Final Environmental Impact report does not adequately address traffic impacts and does not comply with the city’s General Plan.
In the letter, sent to the city this week, attorneys for the group ask that the environmental report be reevaluated and re-circulated before permits are issued and is a preliminary step before a lawsuit is filed.
The Friedman’s anchored shopping center is a 345,000 square foot development that will include numerous restaurants, stores, gym and a parking lot for about 1,000 cars.
Opponents, including Paul Francis who runs Petaluma Neighborhood Association, say it will result in visual blight and gridlock on the Eastside, especially because it relies on the Rainier crosstown connector, which does not yet exist.
“We support Friedman's 100 percent, and we want to see Petaluma grow in a responsible manner,” said Francis. “The real solution is to develop the site as mixed use, as it was initially intended, reduce automobile traffic with a walkable project that ties into the surrounding neighborhoods.”
Merlone Geier Partners, the project developer, responded by calling the letter “further evidence that Paul Francis intends on filing a frivolous lawsuit.”
“Over a four year period, the impacts of the Deer Creek Village shopping center have been thoroughly considered by the City, independent consultants and by neighbors who have attended dozens of community meetings,” wrote spokesman Marko Mlikotin.
“Unfortunately, the law allows just one individual to stop a project that enjoys overwhelming community support. What is now at risk are hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars that can help the City's financial problems, fix potholes, and keep neighborhoods and schools safe.”
What do you think of the appeal? Should the project be stopped through any means necessary? Or will it bring much needed revenue to the city?