By Mike Kinney
A proposal to locate a Dollar Tree store in a vacant building on San Pablo Avenue in Richmond is facing opposition from neighbors.
The city received a request for a design review permit to conduct exterior improvements to the building and parking lot at 12300 San Pablo Ave. (at the intersection of Barrett Avenue) in order to make way for the discount chain store.
City officials paused the design review process after receiving over two dozen letters from neighbors opposing the proposal.
“Given the comments received expressing concern about a discount store in the community, staff requested additional time for the applicant to meet with the Richmond Heights Neighborhood Council,” said Hector Lopez, senior planner for the city of Richmond.
The original property was owned by West Coast Motors and has been abandoned and boarded up for a number of years now. But some neighbors say filling it with a Dollar Tree Store will not activate the vacant space in a way that will benefit the community.
The city received at least 25 emails from residents opposing the proposal. A main concern posed in the emails was that the discount store will attract crime, with opponents citing recent national media reports on the issue. Concerned residents additionally warned of the store’s potential impact on traffic at the intersection near the I-80 on-and-off ramps, and added that national discount chains undercut local small businesses.
“Let’s save that space for something that can uplift the community rather than create a magnet for crime that would endanger our community and burden our hard-working police officers,” one resident stated.
The Standard has requested comment from Dollar Tree and will update this story if and when the company responds.
Jim Hanson, president of the Richmond Heights Neighborhood Council, said the proposal will be studied and presented at a council meeting later this month.