Richmond spent the past three months asking the public for alternatives to a waterfront casino resort and analyzing ideas ranging from a giant pot farm to a baseball stadium, but none will come to fruition.
The City Council on Tuesday night decided that none of the 28 proposals was feasible and chose not to include them in an environmental impact report for more study.
"I do think we're obviously going to need to consider alternatives, but it doesn't look like this alternative process yielded the results that we want," Vice Mayor Jeff Ritterman said.
The public's ideas would require finding a rich benefactor to develop the land or mean the city would have to put up development money it doesn't have. And when it comes to the pot farm, which itself is a slippery legal slope, Councilman Jim Rogers said Point Molate would be "a stupid place" for that when there are plenty of empty warehouses elsewhere in the city.
The council's decision means the environmental report can be completed and released for public review without further delay. A public hearing on the document will likely be in late February.
What happens next is up to the City Council. Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, Ritterman, Councilman Tom Butt and new council members Jovanka Beckles and Corky Booze all oppose a casino at Point Molate.
Beckles and Booze will replace Councilwomen Ludmyrna Lopez and Maria Viramontes when they are sworn in Jan. 11. Lopez supports the casino
The sprawling Point Molate near the foot of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge has sat mostly vacant since the Naval Fuel Depot closed in 1995. City leaders see the land as a golden opportunity for economic development that could bring plenty of jobs and revenue.
Developer Upstream and the Guidiville Band of Pomo Indians want to build a $1.2 billion casino-hotel resort, but the proposal bitterly divides the community.
In August, city officials began soliciting ideas from the public for what else to build at Point Molate. A consultant found that most of the 28 proposals were not feasible or were too similar to what is already in the environmental report.
A large medical pot farm was the only idea from the public that could generate enough cash to cover development costs plus $3.2 million a year in tax revenue.
But marijuana remains illegal under federal law and Point Molate, with its sweeping waterfront views, could be put to better use, the report stated.
Other ideas for an industrial office park, and a residential-commercial development powered by renewable energy, would generate annual revenue of up to $1.1 million, but neither could cover development costs in the near future, the report added.
Richmond voters opposed a waterfront casino in a November advisory vote.