The Vallejo Planning Commission voted 6-1 to deny a proposed marine terminal and cement facility in south Vallejo, reported the Vallejo Times-Herald.
Several of the commissioners cited “quality of life” concerns with the Vallejo Marine Terminal (VMT) and Orcem project, which sought to re-establish industrial uses on the site through the removal of a deteriorated timber wharf and construction of a modern deep-water terminal and green cement facility.
“At the end of the day, I have to vote my conscience, always,” said Chair Landis Graden. “I don’t worry about what people say or do because as long as I can sleep at night, I’m okay with that.”
Graden said that every real estate deal he works on, he asks himself if he would want his mother to live in that location. “I don’t think I would, because of the quality of life,” Graden said about having his mother live near the 32-acre site.
Meanwhile, Commissioner Chris Platzer, the lone vote in support of the VMT/Orcem project, read a prepared statement stating staff attempted to persuade the commission to agree with the recommendation to reject the project.
“I would rather not so much be persuaded but rather be informed,” Platzer said.
City staff recommended the commission reject the project for numerous reasons, including it having a negative effect on the neighborhood, impacting traffic around the area, being inconsistent with the city’s waterfront development policy, and degrading visual appearance of the waterfront.
Platzer further added the draft Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) does not have complete information needed to make a decision.
City staff and the applicants have gone back and forth regarding if the project needs a FEIR. Orcem and VMT say certification of the FEIR would allow the city to have full information about the project. The city contends such a certification is not needed if a recommendation to reject the project is being offered by city staff.
“I’m not surprised for the denial, I am surprised for the 6-1 vote,” said Orcem President Steve Bryan shortly after the vote.
He confirmed that an appeal of the commission decision would be submitted to the city council, which can overturn the planning commission vote.
Bryan said the commission’s decision sterilizes the project site.
“The people who want mixed-use, that would add thousands of cars, would that not impact the life of people in that area?” he asked.
Many opposed to the project have suggested a mixed-use approach to the site, which might include housing, artist spaces and other retail businesses.