Monday, March 2, 2009

More Wetlands on SF Bay Shoreline?

Richmond hopes to protect 5 miles of wetlands
Carolyn Jones, SF Chronicle, March 2, 2009

Developers, city officials, and park advocates are working to transform three parcels of private property in Richmond - a 5-mile stretch of wetlands that is among the last undeveloped swaths of San Francisco Bay shoreline - into permanent open space, most likely part of the Eastshore State Park. Public meetings are scheduled and city staff is working on possible zoning changes to residential or open space as part of revamping the city's general plan.

The land, a marsh that's home to egrets, herons and 15 threatened species, stretches from the West Contra Costa Sanitary Landfill, just north of the Chevron oil refinery, to Point Pinole Regional Shoreline. The Richmond Rod and Gun Club occupies the southern portion, and the rest is zoned for light industrial uses. The Giant Powder Co. and the town of Giant, both now vanished, once occupied the northern end.

Not everyone thinks open space is the best use of the shoreline. Richmond City Councilman Nathaniel Bates says the city already has too many parks. "We need jobs and economic development," Bates said. "Instead of just buying more land, I'd like to see the park district spruce up the parks they already have."

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