A proposal to construct a mini storage facility with artist studios at 205 Cutting Blvd. was approved by the Richmond Planning Commission last week.
The proposal lured both supporters and opponents to Thursday’s public hearing. The 82,000 square foot mini storage project features 4,870 square feet of artist work studio space, and about 5,000 square feet for retail space including a café and/or bike shop.
Project opponents, which included owners of nearby properties and storage facilities, argued there are already six other similar businesses in the area, and that another was not consistent with the city’s general plan and a Sante Fe neighborhood in transition.
Supporters argued an influx of new housing developments in Richmond is increasing demand, and also prices, for storage, and that the storage/art space project is an ideal use for a contaminated industrial site.
Ultimately, the four planning commissioners who voted on the project (two commiissioners were absent and one recused) voted in favor.
As conditions of approval, the Planning Commission requested gated parking, gateway signage to the Sante Fe Neighborhood, and to increase the commercial/retail space currently planned for Cutting Boulevard so that it also runs along S. 2nd Street.
The Planning Commission also required that Baranof finalize a Community Benefits Agreement of $5,000 annually to the Sante Fe Neighborhood Council (SFNC). That agreement has not yet been reached. And at meetings in January and February, the majority of SFNC voting members rejected Baranof’s project.
Currently, the light-industrial site harbors a 7,788 square-foot masonry building used by Whale Point Marine & Hardware. The owner of Whale Point is in contract to purchase 145 Tewskbury in Point Richmond in order to move the hardware store there.
Editor’s Note: the story has been edited to clarify the commission’s vote.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the SFNC’s position on the project. The story has since been corrected.