Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hearing Tonight For Sacramento, CA Neighborhood Group's Appeal of Design of Fresh & Easy Store Proposed For Their Oak Park Neighborhood

Upcoming New Markets News: Northern California - Sacramento

Representatives for Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market will attend the city of Sacramento Design Review Board's appeals hearing this evening in response to an appeal of the design and siting of the proposed Fresh & Easy market set to be built in Sacramento's Oak Park neighborhood filed by the Oak Park Neighborhood Association which is a coalition and organization of the neighborhood's residents.

The appeal of the Fresh & Easy store's design was filed by Oak Park neighborhood resident Dustin Littrell on behalf of numerous neighborhood residents and the Oak Park Neighborhood Association of which he is a member .

The meeting starts tonight at 5:30pm in the city council chambers at Sacramento City Hall. You can view the meeting agenda here.

The hearing on the Oak Park Neighborhood Association's appeal of the Fresh & Easy store design is the second item on the agenda. Below is the agenda item from the commission's agenda for tonight's meeting:

[DR08-132 Fresh and Easy Market 34th and Broadway (Continued from 09/17/08) (Noticed on 09/05/08 and 10/03/08) Location: 3352 1st Avenue, District 5, 010-0312-007-0000, 010-0312-014-0000 Recommendation: Approve - Item A: Environmental Exemption (Per CEQA 15332); Item B: Request to develop a new grocery store in the Oak Park Design Review District. This item is before the Commission on appeal from the Design Director's decision. Contact: Matthew Sites, Associate AIA, 916-808-7646; Luis R. Sanchez, AIA, Senior Architect, 916-808-5957.]

You can view a Design Commission Staff Report at this link: Staff Report.

The Oak Park neighborhood Fresh & Easy store is being built by the Holloway development Company. A representative of that firm is expected to attend the hearing tonight on behalf of Tesco Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market.

Additionally, according to information from the Design Review Board, John Hauser of Denver, Colorado-based Drake Real Estate, which is a master builder for Tesco's Fresh & Easy, also is expected to represent the grocer at tonight's appeal hearing. Brendan Wonnacott, who acts as a spokesman for Fresh & Easy and works for its public relations form APCO Worldwide out of its Sacramento office, also is expected to be at the hearing representing the company.

Dustin Littrell will lead the Oak Park Neighborhood Association team in a presentation of the groups design changes for the Oak Park Fresh & Easy store at tonight's hearing.

Mr. Littrell says the neighborhood group has five key points or changes it wants Tesco to make to the Oak Park store design.

Those five areas of concern are, according to Dustin Littrell:

1. Enhanced Sidewalk - Widened, landscaped path w/ trees, benches and decomposed granite running from the corner of 34th St. and 2nd Ave. to Broadway

2. Broadway Arbor (Trellis) - Brick and metal structure running along Broadway, creating a continuous presence along the street, mitigating effects of building footprint being rotated away from Broadway

3. Tower redesign - Located in southwest corner of the building, an emergency exit door is situated under it, connecting the physical building to Broadway. The proposed design created concerns with regards to loitering, illegal activity and safety.

4. Broadway Entry - Shift pedestrian/ADA access to front doors, out of the parking area to the West, mitigating pedestrian/bike/car encounters. Widened approach from Broadway sidewalk with areas for cafe-style seating and landscaping.

5. Exit only at South exit - Create an exit only condition at the southern most drive aisle from parking area onto 34th St. This will create shorter distances for pedestrians crossing much slower, exit-only traffic. It will also help mitigate traffic congestion at the corner intersection of 34th St, 2nd Ave and Broadway.

"At the appeal (tonight), I will be presenting arguments for all five points, emphasizing the importance for measures resolving all five areas of concern and packaging them all as necessary for neighborhood buy-in. The community has already lowered their expectations so much, resolving these remaining items is an absolute necessity for community support," Mr Littrell told Fresh & Easy Buzz.

Dustin Littrell says the neighborhood group has been discussing the five concerns with the developer of the Fresh & Easy market in the Oak Park neighborhood.

"Fresh & Easy has attempted to incorporate the first three points into their newest plans. We are thrilled they've finally made an attempt to listen to the concerns of the community although I still believe their latest proposal has fallen short of the mark and further design detailing need to be considered," Mr. Littrell says.

"The last two points (numbers 4 and 5) have not been addressed by Fresh & Easy," Mr. Littrell says. "These two address pedestrian access from surrounding residential neighborhoods and local businesses. These (concerns) have neighbors and ADA (advocates for the disabled) advocates concerned for safety and congestion at the already busy corner."

Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market hasn't taken a public position or issued a public statement on the appeal by the neighborhood group of the design of the store proposed for the Oak Park neighborhood in Sacramento.

We tried to contact Tony Eggs, who is a corporate officer at Tesco Fresh & Easy in charge of real estate and store site selection, but were told he was unavailable and out of town the two times we attempted to contact him this week.

None of the three people set to attend the appeal hearing tonight representing Tesco Fresh & Easy are Tesco employees. One works for the Oak Park store developer. The other for a real estate firm, Drake Real Estate, which is contracted to Tesco Fresh & Easy, and the third, Brendon Wonnacott is employed by the retailer's public relations firm.

Perhaps one or more Tesco employees or corporate executives will attend tonight's hearing. However, those were the only three names available as scheduled to attend at press time.


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