Controversial "Saranap Village"
Project Proposed for Boulevard Way

Is this a good fit for Saranap?

There is a current proposal before the County to build a mixed-use development with commercial, retail and residential units on four sites near the corner of Boulevard Way and Saranap Avenue.

Take a look at what is being proposed, then make up your mind about this project


Let’s take a look at some of the details:

The developer, Hall Equities Group, applied to the County for a General Plan Amendment that would allow them to get around current development regulations that we all must follow when building in Saranap. The General Plan is the County’s blueprint for development. It is the “constitution” for land-use development in Contra Costa County. Changes to a General Plan are made only in the rarest of circumstances and therefore, amendments require approval by the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.

The developer is proposing significant changes to our neighborhood — changes that will irrevocably and permanently destroy the character of our Saranap. Here are just a few of our concerns:

HEIGHT

The developer’s plans call for buildings of up to seven stories and heights in some cases from 78 to 90 feet, approaching three to four times the height of the existing buildings along Boulevard Way and Saranap Avenue.

The current zoning and General Plan allow, in the affected area, buildings up to three stories with a maximum height of 30 feet or up to five stories with a maximum height of 50 feet, depending on whether the parcel is zoned for residential or commercial use. That equates to a maximum of four stories if commercial is proposed on the ground level.

The maps below show existing height limits for each section of the proposed “Saranap Village” project and can be compared with the height limits the developer is planning for the project. This will require a General Plan amendment. Staying within the existing height limits in the General Plan will still allow a significant, but not as overwhelmingly massive, project and that will allow the developer to build a project that can be successful and harmonious with the Saranap neighborhood.

DENSITY AND TRAFFIC

In addition to building approximately 43.541 square feet for commercial uses, the developer proposes 235 apartments and condominiums. This is nearly DOUBLE the units allowed by the County General Plan and current zoning. This is exactly how a transit village would be planned… like the transit village on Treat Blvd. at the Pleasant Hill BART station, and the new transit village planned for the parking lots at the Walnut Creek BART station. But Saranap doesn’t have a BART station. Saranap is not a transit village.

The effect is shown in the County's Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR). Table 4.16-6 estimates the net increase for traffic generated by this project to be 4,998 MORE VEHICLE TRIPS PER DAY!

Site A, one of the four sites that make up the developer’s proposal, currently includes an empty lot at the corner of Boulevard Way and Saranap Avenue; a small retail/office complex at 1285 Boulevard Way; 24 rental units at the Sandpiper Apartments at 1180 Saranap Avenue; and a single-family home next door to the Sandpiper Apartments at 1176 Saranap Avenue. The developer is proposing to build a block-long and block-wide seven-story building with a maximum height of 90 feet. It will have commercial space on the first three floors, 391 parking spaces in the basement and first two floors, and 143 apartments on the top five floors, at a density of nearly 100 units to the acre, more than three times what current regulations allow.

And Site A is only one of the four sites included in the proposal. All four sites exceed the height and/or density limits set in the current County General Plan.

It’s important to note that the project area is only about 20% of the length of the four lane section of Boulevard Way, leaving 80% in its current condition. So clearly this project is not a fix-all for Boulevard Way.

This hardly seems like a good fit!

Over the next few weeks and months SHO will share more details and concerns with you about the traffic burden that this project will impose on our neighborhood; about the heritage oak tree that will be relocated just to accommodate the developer’s project; and much more. Please, get involved!

Speak Up! It's important that the County not amend the General Plan:

If you think this project needs to be trimmed down to be built within existing zoning laws and in compliance with the existing General Plan, this is the time to speak up. If the Contra Costa County General Plan is amended, it sets a it sets a precedent for more oversized buildings in Saranap. Certainly at risk are the rest of Boulevard Way to the freeway and all the commercial areas near Olympic Blvd., Tice Valley Blvd., and the south end of Boulevard Way.

We urge you to participate in protecting our Saranap by taking the following simple steps, and checking back to the www.saranap.org website for updates.

Join in and help us support reasonable development in Saranap:

What can you do to help? Check the items below that indicate what you will be able to do, enter your name and email address, then click the Submit button to let us know:


    

Yes No
Yes No
Yes No
Yes No





Why do we need your name and email address?
So we can keep you informed about updates to the status of the proposed Saranap Village project and information from the Saranap Homeowners Organization. Your name and email address will not be shared or used for any other purpose.

     


1. Talk to your neighbors about your concerns:

This is a way for you to have an immediate effect in your neighborhood. Let your neighbors know your concerns about the change to the General Plan and the “Saranap Village” project, and tell them to go to the www.saranap.org website where they can find more information and see accurate renderings of what this massive project is going to look like. We will also need volunteers to circulate petitions to retain the existing zoning in Saranap and oppose the General Plan Amendment.

2. Email Candace Andersen, our County Supervisor:

Here is a sample message to Supervisor Andersen that you can use or modify using your own words:


Dear Supervisor Andersen,

I am opposed to amending the General Plan to allow such an inappropriate development as the proposed Saranap Village. It is oversized and completely out of character for our neighborhood.

Let the developer bring a plan to Saranap that we can support which adheres to the current General Plan and zoning regulations.

I urge you to vote to deny the request to amend the General Plan to exceed current height and density limits for Saranap.

Thank you


Click on the following link to open your email program with a new blank email addressed to Candace Andersen, Supervisor for Contra Costa County District II:
Candace.Andersen@bos.cccounty.us
Copy and paste the sample message into your email program.
Please have each person in your household send an email as well if they have separate email accounts.
THE NUMBER OF EMAIL MESSAGES THE SUPERVISOR RECEIVES COUNTS!

If you prefer, write a letter to Supervisor Andersen:

Supervisor Candace Anderson, District II
309 Diablo Road, Danville, CA 94526
Phone: 925-957-8860 Fax: 925-820-3785

3. Let the planning staff at the County Community Development Division of the Department of Conservation and Development know that you are opposed:

Here is a sample message to Deputy Director Aruna Bhat that you can use or modify using your own words:


Dear Ms. Bhat,

I am opposed to amending the General Plan to allow such an inappropriate development as the proposed Saranap Village. It is oversized and completely out of character for our neighborhood.

Let the developer bring a plan to Saranap that we can support which adheres to the current General Plan and zoning regulations.

I urge you to recommend denial of the request to amend the General Plan to exceed current height and density limits for Saranap.

Thank you


Click on the following link to open your email program with a new blank email addressed to Aruna Bhat, Deputy Director — Community Development Division, Department of Conservation and Development for Contra Costa County:
Aruna.Bhat@dcd.cccounty.us
Copy and paste the sample message into your email program.

If you prefer, write a letter to the Director of Community Development:

Aruna Bhat
Deputy Director — Community Development Division, Department of Conservation and Development
30 Muir Road, Martinez, CA 94553
Phone: 925-674-7205 Fax: 925-674-7258

4. Attend County hearings about the project:

The County Community Development department and the Board of Supervisors will hold a series of hearings about the proposed change to the County Building Code, the Draft Environmental Impact Report, and the final approval of the project. If you can, attending these hearings as someone concerned about the project will be very valuable. Check back here and look for our email messages as hearing times and dates are announced.

5. Sign the petition:

Shari Walker, a resident who is against the change of the General Plan, created a petition on the MoveON.org website that is to be delivered to Candace Andersen, Supervisor for Contra Costa County District II and Aruna Bhat, Deputy Director — Community Development Division, Department of Conservation and Development, Contra Costa County. Click the MoveOn.org logo or the link below and sign and submit the petition.

DENY the REQUEST
from Hall Equities Group
to Amend the County General Plan
  
Click here to add your name to the petition


Thanks for your interest!
Questions, Comments, or suggestions? Send us an email:



Read and Comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Report

The Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the project has been released. You can read it online or download it at www.cccounty.us/5195/Saranap-Village. The 60 day public review and comment period started on September 19, 2014. During the review and comment period the County Zoning Administrator will hold a hearing for oral comments at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, November 3, 2014 at the Department of Conservation and Development offices at 30 Muir Road in Martinez. The County Planning Commission will hold a hearing to consider the merits of the project. The date for that hearing is anticipated to be held in early 2015.

Written comments on the adequacy of the Draft EIR must be received by 5:00 p.m. on Monday November 17, 2014 at the following address:

William Nelson
Contra Costa County
Department of Conservation and Development
30 Muir Road
Martinez, CA 94553
Phone: 925-674-7791 Fax: 925-674-7257

Comments can also be emailed to: william.nelson@dcd.ccounty.us.

Exactly what is a Draft Environmental Impact Report?

Click here to open a page that has information explaining what a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) is and what's contained in the DEIR for the Saranap Village project. Not to scare you, but the DEIR for this project has 15 sections (including 7 appendices) totalling 1,887 pages. The DEIR section has 389 pages and a well-constructed easy to use table of contents.

The material in the full 1,887 page DEIR has been and is being reviewed by some of your neighbors who are members of the Saranap Homeowners Organization. The information on this web page is based on what we have reviewed, and additional pertinent information will be include on the saranap.org website to keep our Saranap neighbors up to date about this important project. If you have expertise reviewing EIR's and are willing to help, especially if you are a traffic engineer or a land use attorney, please let us know. Click here to use the questions or comments button above to contact us.

To keep up to date, you can fill out the Join In form with your name and email address. You can also check ‘Yes’ for any of the actions that you are interested and able to do, but this is optional. Then submit your response and we’ll keep you in the loop — but we won’t overwhelm you with email. Click here to fill out our Join In form now.




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