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 email@example.com.
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.
Coming This Fall:
A “Saranap Downtown Community Plan”
AUGUST 16—One of the concerns of neighbors critical of Saranap Village was that it was being considered without the benefit of an official “specific plan” to guide overall development in the area.
Second District Supervisor Candace Andersen announced at yesterday's Saranap Village hearing something she had mentioned in conversations with the boards of the Saranap Community Association and Saranap Homeowners Organization: that she’s initiating a process to develop, with community input, a “Saranap Downtown Community Plan,” which would serve that purpose for the area along Boulevard Way east of Saranap Village, and include some side streets.
The plan will govern the size, type, and density of future construction in the area.
Hall Equities Group, the Saranap Village developer, is contributing $50,000 toward the process. Supervisor Andersen said the county is pitching in $15,000 and that her office has identified another source for additional funding. Some of the cost might be recouped from future developers, she said.
The supervisor said work on the plan will begin this fall and that she hopes to have it complete by the end of 2018 – “before the next development comes along.”
Photo of Las Trampas Creek © 2013 by Patrick Mage