Revised Plans Reveal
AUGUST 1, 2015—Saranap Village, Take 3: Hall Equities Group, the developer, in mid July submitted to the county plans for a project substantially downsized to make it more acceptable to neighbors who had objected to its height and bulk. Under this “mitigated alternative,” the total mass of the project has been trimmed by 22 percent, most buildings are shorter and stepped back farther from the street, and retail space and the number of residential units have been reduced.
While the overall footprint of the project remains essentially the same, there have been significant changes to three of the four sites. Among them:
- The number of residential units dropped from 235 to 196. (The original plan, introduced in the spring of 2013, included 325 units.)
- The amount of retail
space has been cut by nearly half.
- The fitness club and wine bar are no longer part of the plan.
- The space allocated to the grocery store has been reduced from 15,500 to 7,636 square feet and the space for the restaurant from 5,600 to 4,813 square feet.
- The building on Site A has been pushed back an additional 25 feet from the curb on Boulevard Way, allowing for a plaza that wasn’t part of the original plan.
- There are 194 fewer
parking spaces in the mitigated alternative than in the most recent plan,
reflecting the smaller number of residential units and reduced retail space. The
revised plan provides for up to 552 parking spaces, 69 more than are required
by county code. Of these, 471 would be in parking garages and the rest along
Boulevard Way and Saranap Avenue.
- There would no longer be underground parking in the buildings on Site A and only one sub-level on Site B, the two largest of the four sites in the proposed development. Instead, on A there would be a separate six-story, open-air garage for tenants, visitors, and shoppers, and on B there would be two parking levels behind the retail stores.
- The large oak tree in Sufism Reoriented’s parking lot, originally slated to be moved to a traffic circle at Boulevard Way and Flora Avenue, would remain where it is and become the central feature of a courtyard serving the relocated restaurant and tenants of the building at the east end of the project. The Boulevard Way–Flora Avenue roundabout would feature tree landscaping or a sculpture instead.
Traffic. Not mentioned in the mitigated alternative is traffic, which is one of the concerns most often raised about the project. The county reviewed comments about traffic issues raised in response to the original draft EIR, but didn’t include its responses in the mitigated alternative because HEG withdrew its application in order to develop the alternative plan. They will be released after the comment period for the revised draft EIR.
The county’s responses are certain to reflect the fact that a pared-down Saranap Village will generate less traffic than there would have been under the original plan.
General plan amendment. The Hall group is still seeking a General Plan amendment to reclassify the property as a planned-unit district with a mixed-use zoning designation, which would allow more residential units and less retail space relative to the current designation. Approvals are required for planned developments on sites of less than 15 acres; Saranap Village would cover about 4.6 acres.
Mitigated alternative. As note above, the most recent changes to HEG’s plans for Saranap Village are detailed in the mitigated alternative, which was published by the county on July 31. Click here to download this document, a seven-page PDF.
Aspects of the Saranap Village project covered by the California Environmental Quality Act will be addressed in a recirculated draft environmental impact report, an updated version of the draft EIR to be published in September, which the Department of Conservation and Development’s consultants are preparing. The document will examine the possible environmental impacts of changes to the project in the mitigated alternative since the original draft EIR was published last September.
In addition to the changes noted above, the revised EIR will examine the aesthetics of the project and a recommendation by the county to reclassify Boulevard Way as a “collector” rather than an “arterial,” which is what it is now. Collectors allow a lower level of traffic than do arterials.
A public scoping meeting on the recirculated draft EIR will be held August 17. This is an opportunity to comment on the scope of the environmental information to be included in the document. Click here to learn more.
A representative of Hall Equities Group will outline changes to the project in a presentation at the SCA’s annual meeting August 20. The meeting will take place at Grace Presbyterian Church, 2100 Tice Valley Boulevard, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend.