Novato residents favor building a pedestrian-friendly shopping center made up of small and medium-sized retailers at North Redwood Boulevard, a place where families could shop, then stay for dinner and a movie.
That’s the conclusion the city is making after two community workshops to discuss the future of the parcel on the corner of Redwood and Olive Avenue, the last significant piece of land Novato has for development.
“People really want something that will be fun, and offer outdoor dining and entertainment, that’s pedestrian oriented, with hidden parking and connections to the SMART bike path, said Bob Brown, director of community development for Novato.
About 120 people attended the workshops, held over two Saturdays in September, and worked with city planners and volunteer architects to come up with a vision for the area.
“We had a great expression of ideas, so we’re really happy with how it’s moving along,” Brown said.
Draft plans for the shopping center should be available online early next week and Brown hopes to submit the recommendations to the Economic Development Advisory Commission, followed by Design Review, Planning and the council by the end of the year.
Residents also support building housing on the Atherton ranch site and a mixed use development on a small parcel on the northwest corner of Olive and Redwood. Mixed use typically means shops on the ground floor and apartments or offices upstairs.
However, opinion is split on how to best redesign Redwood Boulevard, which many say is too wide and should be reconfigured. (The thoroughfare was the only road between North Bay communities before Highway 101 was built.)
Some residents who attended the workshops support landscaping the median by putting in benches and more trees, creating a space where residents could stroll or sit on a bench and read the newspaper. Others say Redwood Boulevard should be narrowed and the additional space turned into a bicycle lane and sidewalks.