In case you didn't get a chance to read it.
JoAnn McEachin on behalf of:
Friends of McDowell Elementary School, Little League children, and East Petaluma residents
1512 Sierra Drive
Petaluma, CA 94954
July 8, 2018
Petaluma City Council,
We, the undersigned, petition to appeal the decision by the Planning Commission to approve a building permit for a Safeway gas station on the corner of Maria Dr. and S. McDowell Blvd. Our objections are based on the following:
This project is only for the benefit of Safeway, not the community. Petaluma already has several gas stations - THREE in the area of this proposed site, including the Chevron where Safeway customers can get up to 20 cents off per gallon - and research has shown that, contrary to what Safeway would like us to believe, Safeway’s reduced gas pricing has not brought down the pricing of other gas stations nearby.
The proximity of the proposed gas station is too close to the day care and school, as well as the Little League ball park. Just because the regulations differ for building a gas station near a school (allowed) as opposed to building a school near a gas station (not allowed), it doesn’t make the proximity issue any less of a health and safety concern.
Traffic will increase. This is common sense. The intersection at S. McDowell and E. Washington is already congested, and more traffic from cars zipping off and on to Hwy. 101 for cheaper gas will only exacerbate the problem.
Cars waiting to turn off of McDowell and in line in the parking lot (potentially blocking the sidewalk) will be idling and spewing emissions causing health concerns for all in the community.
Add into the mix the city transit buses, retail delivery vehicles of all kinds, long gas trucks, and school buses; the physical area is just not safe for vehicles trying to make turns into and out of a gas station there.
And, lastly, California is the nation’s leader in the purchase of electric cars: “…in some months, buyers in California purchase more than half of all the electric cars sold in the U.S.” (Eric C. Evarts, Green Car Reports) We emphasize this to reenforce that the community of Petaluma does not need another gas station now.
This Safeway gas station issue has been cleverly under-advertised to the public. Many residents don’t even know this project is being put forth. It is a hotly contested issue and needs to be heard by the City Council with full public participation.
We ask you to reverse the Planning Commission’s conditional approval, despite (or perhaps in defiance of) the threat of a lawsuit by Safeway. The decision should be decided in court, if necessary. Potential court costs should not deter you from protecting the health and safety of our community. That would be a bad precedent and would send the wrong message to every potential applicant for a project in Petaluma now and in the future.