Nov 25, 2015
1 comment

Despite efforts to reduce impacts on neighbors, Richmond Wholesale Meats in Marina Bay will undergo a permit review following continued complaints of excessive noise and unhealthy diesel fuel emissions.

On Tuesday, council moved to hold a public hearing at the Planning Commission about whether the company’s conditional use permit to operate at 2920 Regatta Blvd. should be modified or revoked.

Late last year, Richmond Wholesale closed its Factory Street facility in North Richmond and concentrated operations at Regatta Blvd. Until that happened, neighbors who had lived by the Regatta Blvd. facility for years said they had no complaints.

In March, the Richmond Confidential reported on meetings between neighbors and the business regarding early morning truck activity and what the residents described as a sharp increase in diesel emissions.

Richmond Wholesale has been responsive to the complaints and says it has implemented a number of mitigations.

Among the changes, policies were implemented and signs installed to curb truck idling, an operations manager for the company said. In addition, refrigerator storage containers that once pumped out diesel exhaust now operate on electricity and face away from homes. A sound wall was built and other steps were taken to reduce noise and lighting at the facility.

Despite the improvements, neighbors say enough hasn’t been done to mitigate impacts.

“I still continue to awaken at 5 in the morning at the sounds of their machinery,” one resident said Tuesday.

Another neighbor agreed Richmond Wholesale has reduced its lighting impact down from “stadium lighting” and added noise continues to be excessive. A third neighbor said she has to sleep with the windows closed, but noted Richmond Wholesale operators appear to be doing their best to respond to concerns.

Company officials call council’s decision to have their conditional use permit reviewed a waste of time and money. They say the company abides by regulations in its location, which is zoned for light industrial, and has been a model business in the city since 1959, supplying jobs and donating to local nonprofits and other community efforts.


  1. The concerns of these neighbors are real and important and should not be ignored or dismissed. The health of the people living near any business should always take precedence over everything else. We’ve heard some residents demand that Wholesale Foods as well as Galaxy Bakeries and even Bio-Rad shutter their doors and move. Is that realistic and in the best interests of Richmond? What kind of solution can be found to satisfy both parties?

    Some of the speakers suggested that these businesses pack up and relocate to the Parkway where they wouldn’t bother anyone or, at the least, they wouldn’t bother their Marina Way neighbors. Is this practical? The cost of relocating a business is not cheap. So what can be done?

    At the very least, everyone needs to take a more proactive position where they’re trying to find a solution. We have too many people here in Richmond that stand before the Council telling them how much they paid for their new homes when they moved here and now they’ve learned that they moved next door to a business and demand that their needs supersede the needs of the businesses. I’m not sure that’s the right approach for the city as a whole. It might satisfy the people making the demands and some of their neighbors but there are few cities that can get by only on property taxes. Most cities also need sales taxes, business taxes, employee taxes, inventory taxes, taxes, taxes and more taxes.

    And then there are some people who still need jobs and these businesses provide those jobs.

    So what’s the solution?

    As stated above, the first part of that solution is to go in with the right attitude where all sides are trying to find a workable solution. You’d be surprised how easy things can be when you come in trying to find a solution instead of demanding that everyone else accede to your demands. This study is a good first step to learn exactly what the issues really are and just how bad they are. Anecdotal testimony is great when sitting around a bar or in front of a TV camera but before taking action as this demands, shouldn’t we all be working with verifiable facts?

    Don Gosney | Nov 25th, 2015

About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.