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January Planning Commission Recap: Cannabis Incubator Approved; Updates on Sherwin, Adeline Springs Projects

6 mins read

The new year started with a marathon January 25th Planning Commission meeting that spanned nearly five hours. The meeting was filled with interesting updates to some ongoing large projects as well as another use permit for a cannabis manufacturing facility.

Director’s Report:

  • At their January 16th meeting, the City Council authorized the filing of an application with MTC for railroad quiet zones at the 65th, 66th and 67th street grade crossings.
  • Also at their January 16th meeting, Council approved two construction noise waivers for Saturday work. The first was for four days in January and February at the EmeryStation West project, the other was for crane work on February 3rd to remove the signage. As you may recall from our August report, the Commission approved a plan to update the signs. However, it has been decided to remove them entirety.

Public Hearing: 6613 Hollis Cannabis Manufacturing and Delivery Incubator Facility

The most interesting portion of the night revolved around the consideration of a Major Conditional Use Permit to allow a cannabis manufacturing and non-storefront dispensary facility in the existing 5,700 square foot building at 6613 Hollis Street (site of Rotten City Pizza).


The Project includes the non-volatile manufacturing, processing, packaging, storing of cannabis products to distribute to other cannabis vendors and operations to support the delivery of cannabis products to end users at offsite locations The project also includes a Conditional Use Permit to allow off-site parking. This was continued from the special December 20, 2017 meeting due to the lack of details provided by the applicant.

Since then, the applicant has been able to provide updates on the setup of the space as well as details on the tenants who will be a part of the incubator, which include three tenants: Sunderstorm Manufacturing, which produces cannabis gummies; Green Life California, which specializes in distribution and delivery; and Golden State Cannabis, who also specializes in non-storefront delivery and retail.

The Commission appreciated the detail that was brought forth this time around, and it allowed them to better appreciate the setup of the facility. The Commission also appreciated the though that went into ensuring proper security and waste disposal as to not create an issue for neighbors. As Commissioner Barrera expressed,

“This is the level of detail I think we were looking for to be able to make a decision on this business that it sounded like we all supported last time.”

Commission Keller echoed Commission Barrera, and again expressed his desire and appreciation for creative business ideas like this one:

“I like what you are doing here, this is what I support, I support this whole project.”

The motion to grant a condition use permit was unanimously approved by the Commission.

View the Entire Staff Report →
Watch the staff presentation and subsequent commission discussion above at 3:13:00.

Study Session: Adeline Springs

The first session solicited comments on a Conditional Use Permit and Design Review application for the Adeline Springs development which was covered in out July and October Recaps. In short, The plan is to demolish the existing 5,866 square foot building and construct a new, five-story building that will accommodate 29 rental residential units and 4 to 6 live/work units on a 12,528 square foot parcel located at 3637 Adeline Street or the “star intersection” corner of Adeline and West MacArthur behind Lanesplitter Pizza and the former Scend’s Bar & Grill.

At their October meeting, the Commission expressed frustration over the inability to visualize the proposed outer material of the building. In addition, there was unanimous agreement that the proposed beige color was not suitable for the building or location, and there was concerns regarding lack of green elements and transparency and the material under the balconies.

Since the October meeting, the developer has updated the design of the projects, including the use of an accent material and color into the exterior design. Placement of sections of the Parklex wood material on the residential floors help break up the corrugations as well as add a warm pop of color. In addition, the development has gotten preliminary GreenTRIP certification. GreenTRIP standards look to reduce traffic and green-house gas emissions from residential projects, namely aiming for daily household driving projected to be no more than 25 daily vehicle miles driven per household, a parking ratio of 1.0 spaces per unit or less, and the provision of at least two traffic reduction strategies.

Overall the Commission approved of the updated design, as summed up by Commissioner Keller:

“The project has come along way…I like the other accents you have put into the building, and I like the articulation of the different levels of the floors, so overall I think you guys have done a really good job.”

Keller also highlighted the proposed package pickup that would help residents get rid of packing material from their online purchases:

“I like the package pickup. I actually wish we could get that in our building, I think it’s very helpful…normally you wouldn’t see that as an amenity, but it is now that we do so much through the internet.”

View the Entire Staff Report →
Watch the staff presentation and subsequent commission discussion above at 0:07:00.

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Study Session: Sherwin-Williams Architectural Final Development Plan

The Planning Commission held another study session to review the final architectural development plan for the Sherwin-Williams development. As covered in our October recap, the last study session ended with the Commission voicing their general approval with the progress on the architectural features as well as the proposed family-friendly design elements. There were some clarifying questions and comments about adding sustainability features such as solar panels, and several members expressed concerns about parking and the need for an effective Transportation Demand Management plan that included shared parking, and support for the sculpture garden concept.

With the updated plan, key design changes that have been made since the October study session In summary, these include: In Building B2, vertical elements in the form of landscaping and public art have been added on the eastern elevation; In Building C, projected balconies have been added on the southwest and southeast corners; and In Building D, design enhancements have been added to the southeast corner.

In terms of sustainability, they have proposed providing 10% of parking spaces be EV ready, which is more than the required 3%. In addition, the buildings will include cool roofs and programmable heating systems so they are energy-efficient.

Almost every member of the Commission vocalized their appreciation for the hard work the Developer has put into listening not only to the Commission’s comments, but working with the public and being transparent to try to ensure the design and area worked for the City. As Commissioner Barrera stated:

“Thank you for addressing all our comments, this projects continues to get better and better. ”

The developer will come back in front of the Commission in February for a final discussion.

View the Entire Staff Report →
Watch the staff presentation and subsequent commission discussion above at 1:26:00.

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Public Hearing: Ocean Loft Modifications

The Commission reviewed an amended plans for condition use permit and design review permit for two previously approved residential units at 1258 Ocean Ave. This project has been going through review since March of 2007, when the Planning Commission considered an application for a Conditional Use Permit and Design Review permit to demolish an existing single family residence and construct two detached approximately 1,700 square foot single family units.

More recently, the demolition permit was issued on June 2, 2017, and building permits for the two new units were issued on June 7, 2017. An application to modify the approved plans and conditions of approval to add square footage to the unit along Peabody Lane, and to make exterior modifications and add private open space to both units in the form of roof decks was submitted on December 4, 2017. Now the applicant proposes adding overhangs and roof decks to both units that are surrounded by “living walls” of plants on all elevations. Both roof decks also include a trellis topped with solar panels. .

In general the Commission approved of the updates, but there was discussion on the updated design, which some members felt made the property look too ‘boxy’ and out of step with the rest of the neighborhood and they did not feel the living wall would be as effective as the developer predicated, as summed up by Commissioner Barrera:

“The [foiliage] is going to take a while to look like that, and I guess I agree with the previous speaker as it looks very boxy.”

However, Commission Banta felt the trade-off of adding a deck and solar panels was worth it:

“The original design was attractive, but I think it’s a worthy tradeoff for what the applicant is trying to do here. I am not so concerned with the idea of boxiness.”

In the end, the application was approved 4-1 with Chair Donaldson the lone nah vote.

View the Entire Staff Report →
Watch the staff presentation and subsequent commission discussion above at 2:38:00.

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Christopher Bennett

was born and raised in the north bay and now lives on the Emeryville/Oakland border in the Longfellow neighborhood with his wife and two cats (Sherlock and Watson). When he's not writing, Chris works as an attorney who assist engineers and professional consultants navigate their contracts and related business issues.


  1. maybe i’m missing an important detail that would help me to understand this whole green building requirement, at least, as it pertains to parking spaces.

    i don’t get the push to limiting cars when the public transportation infrastructure here is as weak as it is. is there some kind of cynical population control thing at play? as in, let’s make life as miserable as possible in order to discourage more people from moving here?

    • I think the philosophy of the city is to discourage car-trips whenever possible thinking the frustration and lack of parking will ultimately change behavior of drivers. If you go to meetings, you will hear three memes repeated (I might not be getting these completely accurately)
      1). Build for parking and and you will get more cars
      2). Free parking is a magnet for cars
      3). Lack of parking will eventually lead to better transit solutions

      • Thanks for that. While it’s not a population control thing, my hunch that they’ve decided to purposely make driving painful for residents seems to be correct. I’d be fine with that if the transit system didn’t suck so hard. And it’s not like you can get everything you need right here in Emeryville – driving is necessary for so many things if you live here. I’ve never seen a city with so much vacant retail space.

      • An now without a full-service neighborhood grocery store (see my New Seasons Market Story), this will be one more reason to get into our cars and drive to Berkeley. The more retail that vacates Emeryville, the more we will need to drive/order online and the less sales tax we’ll be getting to support services and the more the city will need to raise taxes. It’s a vicious cycle! On the plus side I suppose, not having any retail would give thieves fewer reasons to come to our city, right?

    • No one in their right mind would use public transit as a viable option to getting around Emeryville at night. Sure some do out of pure necessity but they easily become a statistic.

      Walking out of any retailer with merchandise in your hand and clearly a wallet in your pocket makes you a target in broad daylight, much less the cloak of darkness.

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