SCA Board: Saranap Village the
Right Project at the Right Time
SEPTEMBER 3—Given the Saranap’s proximity to downtown Walnut Creek and easy freeway access, it’s never been a question of if the commercial/light-industrial section of Boulevard Way would be developed. It’s always been a question of when, and what it will look like. We feel that the time is now, and that Saranap Village is the right project.
The SCA board of directors, having considered the original and modified plans for the project, has voted unanimously to support the scaled-back mitigated alternative version. We’ve tallied written comments from participants at two meetings we’ve held that focused on the project, and in both cases the clear majority were in favor of it. We’ve heard presentations by representatives of Hall Equities Group, the developer, at our last five annual meetings. We’ve attended private workshops for the SCA board and open houses at Hall’s Boulevard Way information center.
We feel HEG has listened to the concerns of neighbors, reducing the mass and height of the buildings and lowering the number of residential units by 20 percent and retail space by half. We now think it’s the right size for the community.
We know that there are those in the neighborhood who oppose the project for various reasons, and we respect their views. But we know too that no plan by any developer would satisfy everyone.
We encourage neighbors who share our view to make their voices heard. Because “numbers count” at the local level, we urge you to send e-mails to
- the county planning commission, in care of Hiliana Li (firstname.lastname@example.org) (put “Saranap Village Mitigated Plan Alternative” on the subject line), and
- Second District Supervisor Candace Andersen (email@example.com).
Supporters can also sign an online petition in support of the project at MoveOn.org: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/support-the-saranap-village.
The fate of Saranap Village will be determined in the months (or possibly years) to come, and we’ll keep you informed every step of the way. We remain committed to providing accurate information and a community forum about new development in our neighborhood. It’s your membership fees that make this work possible.
If you’re not an SCA member, please take this opportunity to join. Click here for a membership form.
Rendering of the restaurant on Site B, which would be where the Sufism Reoriented parking lot is today. For additional images, site plans, and information, visit the Saranap Village website.
2020–22 Completion Date Likely: Hall
JULY 10, 2016—Attendees at the July 7 Saranap Community Association annual meeting were in support of the proposed Saranap Village development on Boulevard Way by a margin of about two to one. If approved, though, the project probably wouldn’t be completed for another four to six years, due in part to an expected lawsuit, according to the developer.
Mark Hall, president and CEO of Hall Equities Group, the developer, gave an update on the project for the fifth year in a row. He showed renderings of the scaled-back project and outlined the most recent round of reductions in retail space and the number of rental units (see article below).
Hall said paperwork has been filed by a law firm that often represents unions that he expects will result in a lawsuit that would delay construction “for quite a bit of time.” Taking the likely litigation into account, he said the project probably wouldn’t be complete until 2020 or 2022. It would be built in phases, spread out over three to three-and-a-half years.
Turnout at the July 7 meeting was light, about 50 people. All who attended – SCA members and non-member guests – were given a form on which they could indicate their support for or opposition to the development and write comments. Twenty people said they support it and 11 said they oppose it. “A much-needed improvement to the neighborhood” was typical of comments of those who support the project. Most of those who said they oppose it gave its height or density as the reason.
Revised EIR Published,
Reflecting Scaled-Back Design
Supervisors' vote expected in late fall
JUNE 15, 2016—It looks like we’ll know by the end of the year whether Saranap Village will be built – and in what form. The county Department of Conservation and Development (DCD) on May 5 published the draft of a revised environmental impact report for the project. The revised EIR, called a “recirculated draft EIR” (RDEIR), reflects changes to the project since the developer, Hall Equities Group, first submitted plans nearly two years ago. The project has been scaled back considerably since then.
The RDEIR concludes that all potential environmental impacts identified by the county’s consultants can be reduced to “less-than-significant levels.”
Publication of the revised EIR set into motion a four-step process that, if it follows the usual timeline, will result in the project going before the board of supervisors in the late fall. The public will have an opportunity to provide input at each step of the way.
Neighbors Helping Neighbors Co-Founder
Honored for "Making a Difference"
NOVEMBER 7, 2015—Dawn White, co-founder of the SCA’s Neighbors Helping Neighbors program, received a 2015 Making a Difference award from the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County for her work with the program. Dawn was recognized as the main driving force behind NHN, which provides free services to Saranap residents.
Dawn is a long-time Saranap resident who has worked in elder care for many years. She accepted the award on behalf of the program’s 17 volunteers at the Interfaith Council’s annual meeting, which was held November 6 at the Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church in Lafayette.
Photo of Las Trampas Creek © 2013 by Patrick Mage