OAKLAND -- Struggles over a proposal for a new and expanded Safeway store on College Avenue ended Tuesday when the Oakland City Council unanimously approved a compromise agreement among neighborhood groups and Safeway.
The plan will move forward now after years of stalls over size, traffic, its effect on smaller businesses and other worries from nearby residents.
Outgoing District 1 Councilmember Jane Brunner brokered the compromise on Nov. 8, when the City Council was scheduled to vote on an appeal to stop the plan by the Rockridge Community Planning Council and Berkeleyans for Pedestrian-Oriented Development.
Stuart Flashman, a local resident who worked with other neighbors on the compromise negotiations with Safeway said: "I'm relieved and pleased about this plan. Not perfect, and it's not what we would have designed, but we're not building it."
Several speakers urged the council to vote yes on the plan, but not everyone was enamored with it. One speaker said the size of the project is "atrocious."
The changes include putting the supermarket on the ground floor, with parking on the roof. About 9,500 square feet will be leased to small shops, and no more than 40 percent of the retail space can be leased to national chains. A pedestrian path about 35 feet wide will open from 63rd Street to Claremont Avenue, creating a plaza at Safeway's main entrance and exit.
The store will be 45,500 square feet instead of the originally planned 51,500 square feet, and the loading dock will be covered. Safeway will ensure sufficient parking in response to concerns that residential streets will be filled with Safeway's customers or employees. Also, Safeway will pay for residents' parking permits for several streets in the area.
Another stipulation is that because of parking and traffic impacts, no full-service restaurants can open without the approval of neighborhood groups.