PLEASANT HILL — Despite knocking on doors and hitting up populous spots around town, opponents of the CarMax Auto Superstore did not gather enough signatures to force a referendum on the $29 million project.

Pleasant Hill Alliance of Neighborhoods had until Sept. 6 to submit about 2,100 signatures. Although the group said volunteers contacted nearly 2,000 voters in two weeks, President Cathy Teegardin did not reveal how many residents ultimately signed the referendum petition.

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“Unfortunately, we did not have enough time to collect the signatures required to put the CarMax ordinance on the ballot, given the very short deadline and the record-breaking heat wave,” Teegardin said in a written statement. “With a few more days, we would have had enough signatures to put this on the ballot.”

Critics of the CarMax dealership maintain that a mixed-use development with housing and retail would be a more appropriate use of the mostly vacant DVC Plaza shopping center on Contra Costa Boulevard. They urged city leaders to reconsider the ordinance approving the project.

Mayor Michael Harris poured cold water on that suggestion.

“We granted a final approval; the developer has a right to move forward based on what we’ve done,” Harris said. “There’s no legal basis for us to rehear this.”

Built in the 1970s, DVC Plaza spans 19 acres between Golf Club Road and Chilpancingo Parkway. Diablo Valley College is to the south of the property, a residential neighborhood that is home to many students sits across Old Quarry Road to the west; and an affordable apartment complex and a second shopping center are to the north on the other side of Chilpancingo.

The CarMax will take up nine acres of the property, replacing the vacant Kmart building and the former McDonald’s restaurant.

The first phase of the $29 million project includes an 18,824-square-foot building with offices, a car wash, presentation area and service center; a 4,000-gallon underground fuel storage tank; and a nearly 2.3-acre lighted vehicle display lot.

In the second phase, the Richmond, Virginia-based company plans to expand the car wash, build a 24,100-square-foot reconditioning facility and add vehicle staging areas.

CarMax expects to maintain an inventory of about 300 vehicles at the dealership and employ 155 people when both phases are complete. The dealership would recondition vehicles and hold wholesale auctions of 100 to 120 cars every two weeks.

The council …read more

Source:: East Bay – Business

CarMax referendum drive falls short in Pleasant Hill

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