Tom Butt
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  Planning Commission to Consider Campus Bay Plan Tonight
November 19, 2020

Tonight, the Richmond Planning Commission will consider the following:

PLN20-310: Campus Bay Mixed-Use Project PUBLIC HEARING to consider a recommendation to the City Council on the: Addendum to the Richmond Bay Specific Plan Environmental Impact Report; adopting a Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program; a Development Agreement; a Vesting Tentative Map for Condominium Purpose; and a Use Permit for Residential Uses in the SD:R&D and T5MS-O transect zones and for the park use proposed within the –S, Shoreline Overlay District for the proposed Campus Bay Project, which proposes a mix of up to 4,000 residential units and 50,000 SF of retail uses, along with open space including parks, trails, and other similar spaces open to the public at the site generally bounded by Meade Street on the north, San Francisco Bay on the south, South 46th Street on the west, and South 49th Street on the east (APNs: 560- 050-023, 560-050-021, 560-050-022, 560-010-046, 560-010-047, 560-026-002, 560-028-007, 560-027-005, 560-022-019, 560-023-026, 560-050-007, 560-050-019,). The project also includes infrastructure and roadway improvements needed to support the proposed development. Zoning: SP-2, Richmond Bay Specific Plan; OS, Open Space; and –S, Shoreline Overlay. CHEROKEE SIMEON VENTURE I LLC, owner; HRP Campus Bay Property, LLC, applicant Planner: Lina Velasco Tentative Recommendation: Recommend Approval to City Council

On September 24, 2019, the City Council voted 5-2, with Willis and Martinez dissenting, to adopt a resolution supporting the DTSC Alternative 3A remediation of the Zeneca site instead of the Alternative 6 previously endorsed by the City Council. The final decision is not actually Richmond’s; it was made by DTSC when they published their final Feasibility Study and Remedial Action Plan for Lot 1, Lot 2, and the Uplands Portion of Lot 3, Campus Bay, Richmond, California.

We are now 15 years after DTSC first took responsibility for the site. The Draft Remedial Action Plan (RAP) concluded with a comparison of the various alternative plans, with DTSC recommending Alternative 3a based on the following:

  • Meets the threshold criteria for protection of human health and the environment (e.g.,meets RAOs [Remedial Action Objectives]) and would comply with applicable requirements.
  • Moderate to high rankings on all of the balancing criteria, including a high overall long‐term effectiveness ranking and provides cleanup to accommodate the potential future land uses set forth in the RBSP.
  • Relatively high cost‐effectiveness compared with other alternatives evaluated.

There remains opposition to any development of the site unless it is remediated  with Alternative 6, which is essentially removing all the contaminated soil to a far off hazardous waste dump site. While Alternative 6 would also meet the threshold criteria for protection of human health and the environment, it would require estimated 35,200 truckloads to remove the soil and another 29,170 truckloads to replace it, creating 7,500 MT of greenhouse gas emissions from 2.2 million gallons of diesel fuel. While DTSC ranked “Alternative 6 highest for long‐ term effectiveness and permanence at the Site,” it ranked it “lowest off‐site long‐term effectiveness and permanence due to negative long‐term impacts through disposal of a large quantity of soil and cinders at  a landfill. The long‐term effectiveness is similar to other alternatives, but with slightly more permanence for Alternative 6 due to the removal of additional soil and the treated cinder from the Site. The additional in‐situ groundwater treatment up gradient of the BAPB under Alternative 6 does not provide substantial additional long‐term effectiveness orpermanence,as the BAPB would still be necessary, although for less time than under the other alternatives.”

It is instructive to look back when this all began. At that time, many of the same people who continue to protest the DTSC recommendation were gushing over the decision to place DTSC in charge, citing DTSC’s superior expertise and experience over the discredited San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, and characterizing the change from the Water Board to DTSC as a “victory,” with the assurance of “proper agency oversight”. On May 16, 2005, the Green Party of California published the following news release:

Cal-EPA agrees to lead clean-up of highly toxic, possibly lethal San Francisco Bay sites after pressure by Green city council member
For immediate release: Monday, May 16, 2005

Cres Vellucci, State Press Office, 916-996-1970,
Beth Moore Haines, GPCA Spokesperson, 530-277-0610,
Kevin McKeown, GPCA Spokesperson, 310-393-3639,
Sara Amir, GPCA Spokesperson, 310-270-7106,

RICHMOND (May 16, 2005) – The clean-up of two highly toxic – and possibly lethal – shoreline sites on San Francisco Bay will now be supervised by the state Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) after a newly-elected Green Party city councilmember in Richmond led a grassroots drive to force the state agency to take immediate action.

The sites are thought to be the source of many life-threatening cancers and other ailments to people in the area, according to doctors and local activists. Both sites are contaminated with dangerous compounds, ranging from mercury and heavy metals to pesticides, PCBs and other hazardous chemicals.

The California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal-EPA) announced late last week that it has agreed – after demands by Richmond City Council member Gayle McLaughlin and area progressives – to give DTSC chief oversight at the University of California, Berkeley's Richmond Field Station and adjacent Zeneca/Cherokee-Simeon Campus Bay .

"This is a wonderful victory for the many community groups and Richmond residents who mobilized to demand the proper agency oversight for cleanup of these extremely toxic sites. It is an incredible example of how a community rallying in its own interest can accomplish a better and healthier Richmond," said McLaughlin, who carried the unanimous resolution by the Richmond City Council calling on Cal-EPA to act more rigorously in correcting problems in the area.

Initially, the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board had full jurisdiction over both sites. Community mobilization late last year resulted in a DTSC/Water Board split over jurisdiction over the Zeneca site with the Water Board retaining full jurisdiction of the UC Field Station.

However, McLaughlin and others called for a full change in the oversight of these adjoining contamination sites to DTSC because the Water Board did not have, they charged, the "expertise or experience" to handle the complex cleanup.

McLaughlin worked with Bay Area Residents for Responsible Development (BARRD), West County Toxics Coalition and the Richmond Progressive Alliance, which helped elect McLaughlin to the Richmond City Council last November.

The Green Party of California
P.O. Box 2828, Sacramento, CA 95812
Phone: (916) 448-3437

In 2005 Gayle McLaughlin, Bay Area Residents for Responsible Development (BARRD), West County Toxics Coalition and the Richmond Progressive Alliance, had full faith in DTSC to study the Zeneca site and recommend a cleanup. Now, in 2020, they are saying they don’t really trust DTSC after all.