Safeway plans a big expansion

2403329686_00f3b96b79Safeway 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!

–jon

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17 responses to “Safeway plans a big expansion

  1. I’m fine with a bigger Safeway, but I definitely do not want to see Safeway closed for TWO YEARS! Glen Canyon Market is pricey for every day items and the closest alternate Safeways are Mission or Diamond Heights… neither of which are very close. I hope it doesn’t pass!

  2. The SNA has been working very closely with Safeway to ensure neighborhood involvement in the store remodel. The store remodel will greatly improve the quality of the existing store. We’ve reached out to neighbors (non SNA members included) to make them aware of the project. Safeway will also do this in conjunction with the appropriate application process and calendar.

    Safeway has not confirmed a planned change in operating hours to 24/7.

    Additionally, we’ve asked Safeway to ensure that the new store is more pedestrian and cyclist friendly, to help reduce traffic. And, we’ve suggested car-share services such as Zip Car and City Carshare, that Safeway has agreed to investigate.

    The communication between Safeway and residents has been positive. And the store will help improve our quality-of-life in Sunnyside. We will finally have a supermarket that we can look forward to shopping in.

    If anyone has any questions about the store project, please feel free to contact me.

    SNA President,
    natvnykr@m1sf.com

  3. adriennejohnson

    I have to admit this is one of the community topics that leaves me puzzled. I am not sure how I feel about it. I know that 24/7 is not OK with me, this not being a late night neighborhood.

    I think my two biggest issues are traffic and noise. When I was shopping there the other night at 10:30 PM (aacckkk! no milk for the morning!) there was a man cleaning the parking lot with a very loud leaf blower. I can’t imagine how the neighbors put up with it (this is not the first time I have seen this, either). If this were compounded by late deliveries and late night shopping… it does not sound pleasant.

    I know I would feel better about the whole thing if I knew there were delivery time lockouts to ensure that we do not have the enormous tractor trailers on Monterey after 8 pm.

    I am interested to see how this comes out. My guess is there are a lot of options that have not been explored for any number of things that the new store could incorporate to make it better for the area. I love the idea of car share being there! Hopefully there will be a pharmacy, too.

  4. As a neighbor whose home adjoins the Safeway lot, I have been very involved in the discussions with Safeway about the project. My major concerns are disruption, pollution, and noise during the project, as well as noise, safety, traffic, and other quality of life issues afterwards. Yes, it’s noisy living right behind Safeway! However, if the enclosed loading dock comes to pass, I believe it will be much quieter for us neighbors immediately next to the store. I am strongly opposed to 24/7 hours and have communicated this clearly to Natalie Mattei every time we have met. The SNA has also expressed the very strong opposition of the neighborhood to 24/7 hours in writing to Safeway and the city planning dept. Looking beyond my own backyard, I can see that an improved Safeway would be a benefit to our neighborhood, providing services like a pharmacy (which is planned) and more choices. We need more full-service supermarkets in neighborhoods in the city if we are going to encourage fewer car trips and promote access to healthy food for all residents. For these reasons, I am not opposed to the project although I probably have more reasons to be than others who don’t live next to the store. If you have concerns or questions, please get involved, come to the SNA meetings, and learn more about it!

  5. Hi:

    A friend from Miraloma turned me onto your site. I’m a long-time resident in W. Portal and was past president of the Greater W. Portal Neighborhood Assn for 3 years. I strongly approve of what I see as the “Slow Down!” message on this site.

    I currently run the SF Housing Action Coalition (SFHAC), a small non-profit dedicated to smart growth, transit-oriented development and more solutions for housing affordability. We have about 85 member organizations from across the spectrum of SF, including several neighborhood associations. I don’t know how the FoMB feel about it, but SFHAC strongly supported the Balboa Park Area Plan adopted earlier this year.

    SFHAC has been pursuing Safeway for years in an effort to get them to consider “housing over retail” at some of their SF locations. This is a concept of increasing importance to US planners, urbanists, environmentalists and to our members. Again, I don’t know whether FoMB has taken a position on this topic, but we’ve had our eyes on their Monterey site for years. It is difficult for SFHAC to support their current expansion expansion plans if its purpose is to design a suburban retail model of attracting cars into a neighborhood close to a freeway.

    While good grocery stores are a key feature of any successful neighborhood, we are also interested in seeing transit-oriented housing becoming part of the site’s use. It’s a logical fit. There are many successful examples of this in US cities. SF has a good one at Fulton and Masonic. We are interested in urban uses that enhance a neighborhood without relying on autos. Needless to say, we strongly support enhanced access for pedestrians, bicycles and transit. I’d urge you to research NCT zoning, a new category that is being added to the city’s area plans, including Balboa Park.

    If anyone at FoMB would like to discuss this further, I’d welcome the opportunity.

    Sincerely,
    Tim Colen, Executive Director
    415.541-9001

  6. I live a few doors down from Safeway and I can say, I am happy with the plan.

    Nothing makes me happier than having access to food or over the counter medications at 2 am. In addition, a larger Safeway means I have more options. Better food and supply choices.

    There are very few 24 hour grocery stores in the adjacent community. I will glad if its in my hood.

    I will admit, the liquor store on Monterey and Foerster is often a loud party or venue for crime at 2 am. I have observed people on the street and called the police a handful of times. However, Safeway has a security guard and takes more proactive measures than a family owned liquor store.

    In addition, I am a street parker. I have never encountered people parking on the street to use Safeway. The traffic has not been that bad, which the exception of rush hour.

  7. @SNA Pres- Nicole, thanks for the input from the neighborhood association. It is good to know the neighborhood is being seen and heard. It would be great to put some of that info out for the readers to see and think about!

    @ Daphne- A better Safeway would be wonderful, without a doubt. After years of living near the Church st. Safeway, I have missed being near a large store with more variety.

    Also, just so the neighborhood knows, you can go to Safeway meetings (or any meetings involving zoning or planning held by the City) without joining anything, they are open to anyone. Joining neighborhood groups, though, can certainly help amplify your voice and help you meet your neighbors : )

    @ Tim- That is certainly an interesting perspective. No one here at FOM has a position on this subject. The point of the FOM is to find a way to get the many voices of Monterey Blvd. into the public discussion of the future of our boulevard. We are certainly interested in hearing and discussing all POV’s, including yours.

    @Amber- You & Daphne have my sympathy in living close to those lots. There is so much noise there it must be challenging at times.

    I am not so optimistic about traffic impact. West bound rush hour traffic is impacted whenever someone wants to turn left into the lower lot. As the City is projecting increased car traffic in all of SF over the next 10 years, I can’t see the situation getting better.

  8. @ SNA Prez Last night at the Safeway committee meeting Safeway’s rep Natalie Mattei confirmed that there “are no plans” for a 24/7 supermarket. Then she said that Safeway will be applying for a permit to do just that should they change their minds “some time in the future.”

    Whew! Glad that’s cleared up!

  9. I agree with Amber. I am ecstatic to have a bigger Safeway! I live only two blocks away on Monterey and I never shop at the Monterey Safeway! They are never fully stocked and are extremely limited on varies items! That’s why I always shop at Diamond Heights Safeway! They always have everything that I need and I always leave with a smile!

  10. I remember the old Safeway where the parking lot is today and in 1972 they built this Safeway and it is now outdated and a new store is needed. I go to Diamond Heights all the time because it has everything! It will be nice in 2 years when Monterey Blvd. is modern with everything…so I am for a new Safeway.

  11. Pingback: Proposed Safeway renovation plans median removal and wide driveway | Friends of Monterey Boulevard

  12. All of the incredibly NIMBY attitudes displayed by many of the comments left here are nothing more than anti-growth activism that is counter to the natural development of a city. And I use the term “Development” NOT in the derogatory sense of “Developer” (The NIMBY’s most hated entity) but as referring to the notion that a city is an organic being that shifts, changes, and evolves over time. All the “smart development” advocates are simply those who “got in, and want to slam the door behind them” to anyone else that wants to live here. Their shortsighted activism results in a highly regulated market, actually PUSHING HOUSING PRICES ***UP** not down. The city of Santa Monica removed all it’s tight rent control restrictions and saw an actual DECREASE in housing prices. If anti-growth includes stopping Safeway from providing at attractive, wildly improved, and quality supermarket in the neighborhood, then we will all suffer for it. GO SAFEWAY!!!

  13. Pingback: Friends of Monterey Boulevard

  14. Why would anyone be happy with the existing outdated, under stocked store with few services? The new development seems responsibly planned and will benefit the community. I am hopeful the store has adequate security to address the concerns of the people living nearby.

  15. What I don’t understand is why the plan doesn’t include apartments and/or townhomes *above* the new Safeway here? This city needs more housing and this would be a wonderful opportunity to build some.

    I agree that that the lack of stock and selection at the Monterey Blvd Safeway makes it pointless to go there. But why not include more housing in the plan to improve our neighborhood’s grocery options?

    • There is not enough room to park for the store…We had 7 gas stations on Monterey Blvd all taken down for apartment buildings ENOUGH APARTMENTS NO MORE WANTED!

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