The Marketplace a 170,000-square-foot shopping center proposed in northeast Modesto is coming back to the City Council after about a years delay for environmental studies on the developments impact on urban decay, traffic and other issues.
The Planning Commission on Monday recommended that the council approve the development, which is proposed for 18 acres at the southwest corner of Oakdale Road and Sylvan Avenue. The council is expected to consider the project at its Dec. 10 meeting.
Project engineer Dave Romano said after the meeting that construction could start in 2014 if the council approves the project.
Berberian Holdings withdrew its project from the councils consideration about a year ago after opponents threatened legal action and decided to conduct a deeper review of the project through an environmental impact report.
About three dozen residents from nearby Naraghi Lake-area homes attended Mondays Planning Commission meeting to voice their opposition. Ripon attorney Thomas Terpstra, who represents the Naraghi Lake Neighborhood Preservation Association, also attended and spoke against the shopping center.
Opponents reiterated concerns they had raised a year ago: There is no need for The Marketplace because of the tens of thousands of vacant retail-commercial space in east Modesto. They also dispute the claims that The Marketplace will produce retail jobs and provide more shopping options. Instead, they expect the shopping center to draw tenants from nearby shopping centers, leading to more vacant retail space and the potential for blight.
Terpstra said the project will contribute to gridlock and deteriorating traffic in Modesto. He said the environmental review identified a dozen intersections and road segments that would fail to meet city traffic standards because of the project. But city staff said the review for nine of the intersections and road segments was based on the cumulative effects of The Marketplace and other developments over decades.
Naraghi Lake-area homeowners did get one victory. Planning commissioners did not recommend, as Berberian Holdings wanted, that the shopping center have vehicle access from Hashem Drive, saying it has too much traffic for a residential street. Commissioners recommended pedestrian access from Hashem to the shopping center.
Plans call for The Marketplace to be anchored by a 51,730-square-foot grocery store. Naraghi Lake-area homeowners said Monday they believe Save Mart will be the centers anchor tenant and will close its nearby store at Floyd and Oakdale avenues.
A Save Mart official Wednesday would not provide definitive information about the grocery chains plans.
We have had and continue to have interest in this location, Alicia Rockwell, director of public affairs and communications, wrote in an email about The Marketplace. There is no further information available at this time.
Terpstra said he and his clients will make their case against the project at the Dec. 10 City Council meeting.
Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209)578-2316.