“Albany Group Fights City’s Plan to Build Whole Foods on Farm Tract” by Liz Reid | August 16, 2012
“Activist Tarina Larsen from Keep Albany Local says some residents are concerned about the development’s impact on local businesses. ‘I feel that it would be very irresponsible of our city government to pit corporations against our local mom & pop businesses,’ Larsen explained. ‘Because that’s a battle that our local businesses will lose.'”
“Occupy the Farm protesters continue farming on Gill Tract” by Alyssa Neumann| August 19, 2012
“Keep Albany Local, a local organization against the project, has spearheaded a petition that includes over 1,400 signatures calling for a referendum of the city council’s decision. If the petition is approved by the Albany city clerk, a referendum will appear on the November election ballot, giving Albany residents the option to rescind approvals for the development project, said Sally Sommer, an Occupy the Farm member and Berkeley resident.”
“Petitions seek vote on UC Project in Albany” by Damin Esper | August 23, 2012
“Almost 1,400 signatures were turned in to the City Clerk’s office on Aug. 16 in an effort to force a citywide vote on the council’s controversial approval of the University of California’s development plans for its property along San Pablo Avenue.
“…If enough signatures are deemed valid, the City Council would be forced to either rescind its approval of the development agreement or put the ordinance approving the agreement before voters…’It’s putting it to the voters of Albany whether we should go ahead with the scale of this development,’ said Tarina Larsen, an Albany resident and one of the organizers of Keep Albany Local”
“City Awaits County Direction on UC Development Referendum Effort” by Emilie Raguso | August 29, 2012
“The petition-organizing group, Keep Albany Local, said, via its Facebook page, that it collected more than 1,400 signatures within 10 days…
“…the [City] council will be required to take action on the petition; council members could either decide to rescind the ordinance by their own action or submit it to the voters, said [City Clerk Nicole] Almaguer.”
“Albany Suits Try to Block UC Project” by Damin Esper | September 5, 2012
“‘This is very important for the entire city of Albany,’ said Albany resident Eric Larsen, who filed one of the suits. ‘We’re talking about the difference between a regional shopping center and a local grocery store. We would like to see development of a project that is local and sustainable in nature.’
“Larsen said the EIR found that a smaller project would have met all project objectives except for providing outdoor seating. However, the city’s ‘statement of overriding considerations’ found that the alternative would not meet the project’s objectives.”
“Project May Go to Voters” by Damin Esper | September 20, 2012
“Keep Albany Local’s main concerns are with the size of the market, with the attendant extra traffic, the fact that the senior housing will not be affordable and the affects of the project on local businesses.
“‘It’s a regional shopping center,’ Larsen said. ‘This Whole Foods is going to have flowers, they’re going to have a bakery, they’re going to have, potentially, seating for their hot foods items. No one is going to jump back into their car and patronize the businesses on Solano (Avenue).'”
“Whole Foods backs out of Albany project with UC Berkeley” by Doug Oakley | September 21, 2012
“Following the City Council approval, Albany resident Eric Larsen, 39, filed a suit against the city, challenging the environmental impact report….’I was not trying to stop the development,’ Larsen said Friday. ‘I merely want appropriate development. The size and the scale they were proposing was quite significant.’
The city ‘failed to analyze a reasonable number of alternatives to the project, and they only analyzed three,’ Larsen maintained in his lawsuit.”
“UC Berkeley Committed to Albany Project” by Damin Esper | September 27, 2012
“Tarina Larsen of Keep Albany Local, the group that circulated petitions calling for the referendum, said the pullout of Whole Foods is no victory for those who want a smaller development than the 57,000-square-foot market called for in the university’s plan…’It doesn’t change anything,’ Larsen said. ‘The development agreement still stands. The UC is still in search of a big block tenant and one that would compete with our local business community. In light of the referendum, our view is the City Council should rescind the agreement.’
“Added Larsen, ‘They’re going to need a tenant and it’s up in the air. They’re looking for a grocery store of 57,000 square feet. It could be a Safeway or a Lucky. Such a grocery store would directly compete with our local businesses.'”
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