Safeway is planning a major upgrade to its Monterey Boulevard store with plans to more than double its size. Safeway’s Natalie Mattei told residents the corporation wants to close the store for up to two years while it expands into what is now the parking lot. The entire street level floor will be used for retail and the production facilities will be moved into the basement. Parking will be on the roof with one entrance much as it is now. They want an enclosed loading dock on Monterey on at the Eastern side of the store.
They also want to expand their hours to 24/7.
Safeway has presented their plans at two meetings of the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association and to the SNA’s Safeway Project Committee and they have been working closely with neighbors whose property abuts the rear of the store. They have also passed a design review check with the Planning Department which is happy with the results.
The SNA released a flyer last year listing concerns that Sunnysiders might have, including traffic, parking, noise, construction impacts and aesthetic architectural issues.
The area is zoned NC1 (neighborhood commercial) and is meant to be a mixture of light commercial activities and residential uses. If Safeway is to make such a huge upgrade it will have to apply with the Planning Department at a full, public Commission hearing for a conditional use permit according to Cecilia Jaroslawsky who is the Planning Department planner for this project. The CU will be needed to address both the size of the lot (two lots will be merged into one) and the size of the structure itself, she said. Jaroslawski said the project will have to undergo full CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) review. Environmental Review Officer Bill Wycko will then decide what kind of review will address traffic, parking and other impacts.
One environmental review issue is the proposal to take deliveries from Monterey Blvd. The Planning Department wants trucks to make their stops on the roof, rather than by backing into a loading dock from the street. Safeway is resisting this requirement responding that they would have to modify their whole structure to do that. Jaroslawsky said Safeway is working on this with Wycko. If they don’t come to a happy conclusion its expected that Wycko will order a full environmental impact report, rather than a “negative declaration” which finds that the impacts can be easily mitigated.
Safeway has not yet applied for a conditional use permit, nor have they submitted for their CEQA application. The environmental review must be completed first which could take a while so there’s still some time for the neighborhoods to consider this.
How do YOU feel about a bigger Safeway? Can we handle the traffic and the noise? Would you shop there? Start the conversation now in the comments!