Shared Vision Begins to Take Shape
First Meeting on Future Development Held
DECEMBER 5 – Saranap residents last night took the first step toward defining a shared vision for future development in the commercial area along Boulevard Way and Saranap Avenue. About 50 community members attended a meeting organized by Second District Supervisor Candace Andersen on what is called the Saranap Avenue / Boulevard Way Planning Process.
The plan will determine what types of development will be allowed and address the size, scale, and impacts of future projects in the designated area. This will help developers avoid lengthy, and costly, application processes – and help the community avoid the kind of divisiveness that occurred around Saranap Village. The SCA and Saranap Homeowners Organization are collaborating with Supervisor Andersen in the planning process.
Initial boundaries of the area under discussion are Saranap Avenue from where it becomes Old Tunnel Road (by Price Storage and Hull Funeral Home) down to Boulevard Way, and along both sides of Boulevard Way from the Saranap intersection east to Palana Court, near Valley Glass. The area covers 24 properties on 16.3 acres. These boundaries may change, based on community input in the planning process. Here’s a map of the plan area with current zoning.
Andersen explained that the process grew out of discussions she had with residents during the contentious Saranap Village approval process. She noted that no proposals for development in the plan area are in the works and that the purpose of the planning process is to have guidelines in place before that happens.
Your chance to be heard: Share your views on future development along Boulevard Way and Saranap Avenue. Complete this online survey from the Department of Conservation and Development as soon as possible..
Annual Meeting Presentation:
Creating More Affordable Housing
SEPTEMBER 3—A new state law that makes it easier and less expensive to build separate in-law units (“accessory dwelling units”) was the subject of a presentation at the SCA’s annual meeting August 31. The presenter was Telma B. Moreira, a principal planner with the Department of Conservation and Development. She also discussed changes that make it easier to grandfather in or convert existing units of this type that weren’t up to code when they were built to become compliant with current codes.
Telma can answer questions about these laws and parallel changes to county building codes designed to make more affordable housing available in the county. Reach her via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also at the meeting, the four incumbent SCA board members on the ballot – Chhaya Badri, Tighe O’Hanrahan, James Piepergerdes, and Scott Wallace – were reelected for two-year terms. More than 100 Saranap neighbors attended the meeting, which was held at Grace Presbyterian Church on Tice Valley Boulevard.
From the Sheriff’s Department
SEPTEMBER 3—Christina Lind-Winters, a crime-prevention specialist with the sheriff’s department, was scheduled to give a presentation at the SCA’s August 31 annual meeting but came down with a stomach virus at the last minute.
Christina sent along PDFs of three folders she was going to make available that night, and asked that we make them available to SCA members. She tells us they cover most of the points she would have had she been able to join us. One is “Recognizing Suspicious Activity and How to Report It.” Another is “Mail and ID Theft.”
The third is “Neighborhood Watch with Your Sheriff’s Department.” As part of her work, Christina helps set up Neighborhood Watch groups. Her contact information is printed on the folders.
SIGN OF THE TIMES Two days after the board of supervisors approved Saranap Village, a sign appeared at each of the three sites showing the buildings to be built there and giving contact information. This is Site A, at the corner of Boulevard Way and Saranap Avenue.
Saranap Village, 5-0
AUGUST 16—The Contra Costa County Board of supervisors yesterday voted 5-0 to approve Hall Equities Group’s mixed-use Saranap Village project. One supervisor called it “exactly the kind of project we need in the Bay Area.”
Thirty-one people spoke in favor of the development, most of them SCA members, including board members David Dacus and Charles Huddleston. The SCA had previously voted to support the project, based on community input at meetings it held that included presentations about the project.
Speakers, a number of them long-time residents who live near the project site, noted that it will transform the character of a run-down stretch of Boulevard Way into a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly “downtown,” with a grocery store, restaurant, café, and retail shops. Many said they welcome the additional housing.
Only four people spoke against the project at yesterday’s hearing. Their concerns would be familiar to those who have attended prior meetings on the project.
Photo of Las Trampas Creek © 2013 by Patrick Mage