First meeting on Safeway proposal tonight

Representatives from seven community groups, named in March as part of an effort by Safeway to embrace residents who shot down the grocery store’s expansion plans four years ago, will meet tonight to deliberate on a new Safeway store.

Tonight’s meeting is the first of several for the seven stakeholder groups. In 2003, city residents brought down a proposal for a huge expansion of the grocery store on Howard Avenue and El Camino Real.

“We want this done with as much inclusion as possible,” said Candace Hathaway, who specializes in mediating land-use disputes and was retained by Safeway.

The five scheduled meetings are designed to create a list of ideas about the design and intent of a new store. Hathaway said a smooth process could translate into a preliminary design in seven months. It could take two years before a formal design could go before the Planning Commission.

In June 2003, the Planning Commission flatly rejected a proposed 70,000-square-foot plan that expanded into the neighboring Walgreens due to its overwhelming scope in the neighborhood. The City Council rejected it the following year.

The seven-member group will have one representative and an alternate. The groups are: the Chamber of Commerce, Citizens for a Better Burlingame, downtown merchants, downtown property owners, nearby homeowners, a petitioner group in support of the store and Safeway.

The meeting will be from 7 to 9 p.m. tonight at 1361 N. Carolan Ave.

bfoley@examiner.com

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