Over 75 comments were received on this topic, all but 3 of which were in opposition. The main issue people have with the proposed development is its overall size and incompatibility with the surrounding neighborhood. Others mentioned impacts on traffic, water supply and school overcrowding.
The original proposal was for 882 units with a density near 70 dwelling units/acre (du/acre). The current proposal is now for 670 units (~50 du/acre). There was some confusion as to what density was required given the General Plan. The initial indication was that it was zoned at 50-70 du/acre but
one resident noted that the City is only required to allow a density greater than 30 du/acre. If this is true, which appears to be the case, I think we should only permit a lower density near 30 du/acre to make it more compatible with the surrounding neighborhood.
I believe that we should develop with increased density near transit stations. However, adequate transit-oriented development (TOD) needs to be mixed use. A good example of this is the block on Civic Center south of Walnut. With the ground floor retail there, it’s reasonable to expect that local residents would reduce the number of car trips they make. If you put enough of these blocks near one another, and be as close to a BART station as this location is, you could actually expect some people to go without a car altogether.
Unfortunately, the Walnut/Guardino location is not mixed-use at all. The site itself is about 0.4 to 0.6 miles from the BART station itself, well beyond the typical 0.25 mile radius which is considered easy walking distance. Secondly, there is no nearby retail at all. The closest retail would be by Raley’s which is 0.8 miles away. It’s not reasonable to expect people to walk to this or other retail.
Given that there’s not much people could walk to, they will need cars to get around. Most families need two cars, and two places to park them. While I’m in favor of development which reduces parking demand, we have to be realistic that this is not that kind of development. I think the number of on-site parking spaces should be at least 1.75 per unit.
This was only a study session and no action was taken. The proposal with 670 units will likely come before the Council soon.