County to Respond to
Interest Group’s Recommendations
MARCH 14, 2019—Developers wanting to build along the commercial stretch of Boulevard Way east of Saranap Village would need to meet requirements governing building height and density, affordable housing, protected views, landscaping, and infrastructure, if recommendations drafted by the Saranap Community Interest Group are incorporated into the county general plan.
The proposal is the product of the Saranap Avenue / Boulevard Way Planning Process, a 16-month collaboration between the SCA, the Saranap Homeowners Association, the office of Second District Supervisor Candace Andersen, and the county Department of Conservation and Development.
SCIG, an informal, collaborative body consisting of members of the SCA and the Saranap Homeowners Association, has met several times to develop the requirements. In addition, the process has included three community meetings hosted by DCD and Supervisor Andersen. The group’s proposal was submitted to the DCD in February. DCD will respond to the recommendations at a public meeting to be held next Tuesday, January 19.
The area under discussion extends from Saranap Avenue east to Rule Court / Palana Court (near Valley Glass). One of SCIG’s recommendations is that this be expanded to include Saranap Avenue up to and including Hull’s mortuary and Price Self-Storage, and along the west side of Saranap south to and including Birchwood Apartments.
The group’s “Vision for Saranap” reads, “We are a harmonious, collaborative community of diverse neighborhoods and people, including single-family dwellings, multifamily dwellings, offices, and commercial properties.” Here’s an overview of their recommendations.
Building height and density. The maximum building height would be 35 feet, excluding exit stairs, elevator penthouses, mechanical equipment, decks, and similar features, which could be no higher than 15 feet and cover no more than 25 percent of the roof area. The maximum density would be 30 units per acre.
Affordable housing. The proposal seeks to “incentivize” affordable housing and encourage developers to include below-market-rate units in all proposed developments in the area instead of paying in-lieu fees. At least 15 percent of the units would need to be “affordable,” which is defined as moderate, low, and very-low income.
Protected views. Developers would need to create “view corridors” that preserve existing public views of the distant hills and ridges and Mt. Diablo.
Landscaping and setbacks. The proposal calls for landscaped setbacks of at least 15 feet from the back of the sidewalk.
Infrastructure. New developments would need to include street infrastructure like that in Saranap Village – bike lanes, enhanced sidewalks, angled parking with meters, landscaping, street furniture, and lighting.
March 19 Meeting
The most recent community meeting was held on January 23. After an introduction by SCA President David Dacus and SHO President Tim Lynch, the SCIG’s proposals were outlined by the SCA’s Stephanie Monson and the SHO’s Paula Santi. About 50 people attended.
Next Tuesday’s meeting will be the fourth and possibly final meeting in the planning process. It will be hosted by Supervisor Andersen and DCD Director John Kopchik. Those attending will be able to ask questions and respond to DCD’s presentation. The meeting will be held at Parkmead Elementary School, 1920 Magnolia Way, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., in the Multipurpose Room. We’ve asked for a fifth meeting, but the county hasn’t responded to our request yet.