NOW UNDER DISCUSSION:
Vision Statement and Policies
Governing Boulevard Way Development
MAY 23—The draft of a proposed vision statement and policies governing development along the commercial stretch of Boulevard Way were introduced by the county Department of Conservation and Development at a community workshop held in Lafayette last night. Based on input from an earlier meeting, the vision and policies, once finalized, will be added to the county general plan.
Last night’s workshop was the second in the Boulevard Way / Saranap Avenue Planning Process, which was organized by District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen and the county planning department. The first was held December 4. A companion survey was posted online so those who didn’t attend could contribute their feedback. About 50 people were at that workshop, and 219 completed the survey.
The workshop and survey were designed gather community input on the types of development residents feel should be allowed in the study area, improvements they’d like to see, and their thoughts on the planning process itself. The boundaries of the area under discussion are Old Tunnel Road / Saranap Avenue – where Hull’s Funeral Home and Price Storage are – down to Boulevard Way and east to Rule Court / Palana Court (near Valley Glass).
A consensus “community vision”
“What the [first workshop and survey] tell us,” said Senior Planner Will Nelson, “is that the majority of people are open to something happening in the study area, that we need a consensus ‘community vision’ for the area, and that it needs to include roadway improvements.”
The mission statement says, in part, “While maintaining the single-family neighborhoods as they are, there is an opportunity to revitalize the commercial area along Boulevard Way through development of mixed-use projects offering neighborhood-serving businesses and a wider variety of living options. Further community enhancements could include select infrastructure improvements such as expanded pedestrian and bicycle facilities and development of a neighborhood park or community meeting space.”
The five proposed policies focusing on the corridor favor mixed-use projects – “neighborhood-serving commercial uses and multiple-family dwellings” – over single-use (commercial- or residential-only) projects. They also put constraints on the height, density, scale, massing, colors, and architectural style and features of buildings in the area. The specifics will be addressed in the next, and final, phase of the process.
Reflecting suggestions made in the earlier workshop and survey, one of the proposed policies addresses traffic and parking and beautification of Boulevard Way. This might include wider sidewalks, bike lanes or sharrows, landscaping, “parklets,” street furniture, public art, “and other appropriate amenities.”
Another proposed policy calls for land to be set aside, though not necessarily in the commercial area, for a “neighborhood park / community open space / common area,” which would be partially funded by developers.
An opportunity to be heard
Supervisor Andersen opened the workshop. DCD Director John Kopchik explained how the Boulevard Way planning process came about and how it has unfolded to date. County planners Sean Tulley and Syd Wayman went through the December workshop and survey responses to each of the 10 questions included. Nelson summarized the findings and discussed a potential approach to taking the process through to completion.
County staff then led break-out groups that discussed the wording of the proposed vision statement and began zeroing in on specifics of the policies.
Those who didn’t attend but wish to weigh in can complete a survey on the planning department website. There you’ll also find a summary of responses from the first workshop and survey and a link to sign up for the planning process email list. The deadline for taking part in the survey is June 22.
The results of this second workshop and survey will be announced at the third and last meeting in the planning process, which Nelson said will take place “in a few months.” The vision statement and policies could be finalized by the end of the year, he noted. It will be the first “community vision” statement added to the general plan.
When adopted, the vision and principles will apply only to future development in the area. Kopchik said his department reached out to property owners in the affected area and that seven of them attended a recent meeting, though he didn’t provide any details.
Only about 20 people attended the May 22 meeting, which hadn’t been well publicized.