In a last minute change of plan, the Petaluma city council voted to postpone discussion of the Deer Creek Village shopping center project, after the developer requested more time to review comments submitted by residents, neighborhood groups and their attorneys criticizing the plan.
Just an hour before the council was set to convene for its meeting, the city clerk and attorney received an email from Michael Grehl, vice president of Merlone Geier Partners, requesting that the city postpone discussion of the project’s
The FEIR is a critical document that assesses everything from noise and traffic to impacts on nearby businesses of the proposed 345,000 square foot shopping center that would be located on North McDowell Boulevard and Rainier Avenue.
“We’ve enjoyed a positive working relationship with you and feel it’s pivotal that our project be heard with full support of staff,” Grehl wrote Petaluma Deputy Planning Manager Heather Hines. “We continue to look forward to bringing the project and its final FEIR for review at such time when the city is ready to hear and vote on these items.”
Over the past several days, numerous residents have submitted comments to the city, pointing out flaws in the shopping center, specifically its dependency on the , which may not be built following the dissolution of redevelopment agencies.
The comments came from Janice Cader Thompson and Gerald Thompson, who live across the street from the proposed shopping center, from former mayor Pam Torliatt , and Paul Francis, who heads the Petaluma Neighborhood Association and who sued the city over the Target Regency project in 2010.
Read the letters on the right
Because of the incoming comments (and the fear one of those groups will sue the city and the developer if the project is approved), City Attorney Eric Danly recommended that the council delay the issue until April 2. The council voted in favor of postponing the discussion 6-1, with Teresa Barrett opposing the delay.
“I am very disappointed in this decision and think that for the developer to pull the project does a disservice to everyone, to both the public and the process,” Barrett said.
Harris, Albertson and Healy all expressed disappointment and frustration over the delay, although Healy added that it served a useful purpose to “get all the cards on the table.”
Mayor Dave Glass emphasized that the delay was not caused by the council, but was due to the developer’s request.
“I don’t want anyone to say that the city council delayed this project, that would not be truthful,” Glass said. “This project was removed from the agenda at the request of the applicant…and it was in the best legal interest of the city.”
The city will now hold a special meeting to discuss Deer Creek on Monday, April 2 at 6pm.
Do you want to see the shopping center be built at the location? Something else? Has this project dragged on too long and simply needs to be approved? Talk to us (in the comments below).