EL CERRITO -- The public will have some final chances to offer opinions on a plan that would make dramatic changes to guidelines for development on the city's primary commercial corridor before it comes before the City Council later this month.

The proposed San Pablo Avenue Specific Plan, which can be reviewed at www.el-cerrito.org/SPASP, will be on the agenda and open to comment at a special Planning Commission meeting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at City Hall, 10890 San Pablo Ave.

The plan for the 2.5-mile length of San Pablo Avenue calls for refocusing the automobile-oriented business highway to a thoroughfare that emphasizes walking, bicycling and mass transit, while allowing denser development at key areas and added flexibility to allow more residential as well as commercial development.

The plan, in formulation since 2007, is being done with the participation of Richmond, which has jurisdiction over most of the western side of the avenue. The plan area also extends east to the Ohlone Greenway along the BART tracks.

The city states that goals of the plan are "to deepen a sense of place and community identity; attract private investment; strengthen partnerships; enhance the public realm; promote the everyday use of transit, walking and biking; and foster environmental sustainability."

The guidelines are in accord with the city general plan objective of revitalizing San Pablo, as well as its Climate Action Plan and sustainable community goals, said Melanie Mintz, the city's interim community development director.


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The commission meeting will be the final step before the plan goes to the City Council for consideration at a special session at 7 p.m. Sept. 22 at City Hall.

Written comments about the plan will also be accepted and should be submitted to Melanie Mintz, El Cerrito City Hall, 10890 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito, CA 94530 before the Sept. 12 deadline so they can be included in the packet of information that the council will consider. Comments can also be made in person at the council meeting.