Chevron Mini Mart Project Moves Forward with Conversion Plans

(Courtesy of Orinda Planning Department)
The Chevron gas station and work bays at 11 Orinda Way are slated to receive major renovations, including an observation deck overlooking San Pablo Creek, a new fueling station, electric vehicle charging station and pedestrian pathways. The availability of fresh food and other items at the mini-mart round out the vision for the project.

    The fueling station at 11 Orinda Way is one step closer to getting a facelift.
    The Planning Commission approved an application submitted by the Chevron Corporation, which allows the conversion of an existing vehicle service bay into a convenience market.
    Plans for the station include remodeling the building, new signage, a modification of the onsite fuel canopy and the addition of an observation deck to view San Pablo Creek.
    A new fueling station and an electric vehicle charging station are also slated for installation.
    Property owner Chevron initially proposed dedicating the creek portion of the land to the city for future restoration and public access. The commission preferred the land become an easement due to liability, according to Director Drummond Buckley. The easement would allow public access behind the new market, from Orinda Way to the creek.
    “So, it’s not just liability from the trail,” Buckley explained at a July 12 planning commission meeting. The liability of the creek itself, including concern about contaminants from the station leaking onto the property, are some motivations behind the easement preference.
    “We want to get access to that land,” said Friends of Orinda Creeks (FOC) member Tom MacKinnon, in a public comment at the meeting, emphasizing FOC wants to see the creek trail expanded. “So, to further our goal, we need to obtain ownership, or an easement, or whatever, on all the land along the creek.”
    In the final vote, the commission agreed to the dedication of the creek portion of the land to the city.
    The Chevron project was first presented Feb. 9, 2021. The development proposal includes a zoning amendment modifying the city code to allow convenience markets at service stations larger than 40-square feet in the downtown commercial district.
    Upon approval of the zoning amendment, a commercial use permit is required for the conversion of the auto service building, as well as for a 24-hour operation.
    A design review and a permit for the detached and elevated observation deck are also included, with an exception permit necessary, due to the deck’s projected location within the minimum creek setback. A tree removal permit rounds out the application list.
    The city’s statement of official action notes the renovation’s deck, creek access, new pedestrian pathways and landscaping will promote pedestrian traffic.
    Another hot topic is the type of food the new market will sell. The availability of nutritious and healthy food is a condition of the proposed use.
    Concerns were raised about the lack of support for the project at the planning commission meeting, citing photos of the poor food options at another local Chevron mini mart and the possibility of traffic flow issues because of the renovated station.
    A Chevron representative confirmed the next step in the process is for the city council to review the project’s required municipal code changes at a Sept. 19 meeting.

Andrea Madison can be reached at

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