Density Bonus Ordinance Update (4/19)

This is another one of those ‘wonky’ planning issues that may not interest a lot of people. But these kinds of issues can have a significant impact on how development is allowed to proceed. The State has mandated new guidelines that allow for developers to get a ‘density bonus’ if their project are in certain locations and meet certain requirements.

Since the affected locations must be near signficant transit, the only real place these changes will apply is the Walnut / Guardino development near Fremont BART. (The development near Warm Springs BART has already been approved.) There were two items in here that concerned me which is why I voted against it. I was the lone dissenting vote. (more…)

2016 City of Fremont Community Survey


The City commissioned a community survey to understand the concerns of Fremont residents. Overall, people feel good about living here. While there are lots of data here, I’d like to call out a few points.

The number one concern among residents is the cost of housing here with 71% of the residents surveyed finding it an extremely serious or very serious problem. I’d like to see the City take advantage of new development requests by insisting they provide more affordable units. Unfortunately, they usually ask for only large townhomes that will likely sell in the $800,000-$1,200,000 range. This is arguably the most important issue for local elected officials here in Fremont, and throughout the Bay Area.

Residents’ views on housing and development are changing. 48% of residents surveyed felt that ‘too much growth and development’ is an extremely serious or very serious problem. This is up from 18% in the previous survey from 2013. There is a growing chorus of residents saying that we are growing too fast.

Fremont residents feel safe with only 28% of the residents surveyed finding crime an extremely serious or very serious problem. I’m proud of the work our Police Department does. Our low crime rate is one of Fremont’s best features and we need to ensure that we keep it that way.

Finally, most residents don’t know about the biggest developments planned in Fremont. Only 22% and 17% of the residents surveyed are extremely familiar or very familiar with the Downtown and Warm Springs plans, respectively. I wonder how many of the residents in south Fremont are aware that there have been 4,000 new homes planned near the new BART station.

The complete survey results can be found here –

Master Plan for the Last Parcel By Warm Springs BART Approved

On 4/5 the City Council approved the Master Plan for the Old Warm Springs parcel by Warm Springs BART. I was the lone dissenting vote.

We were told that the development around the new Warm Springs BART station would be an ’employment-oriented BART station’. We were shown pictures of large office buildings and well-designed plazas lining ‘Innovation Way’. This was indeed a chance to build a mixed-use transit-oriented development (TOD) that could have been a model of how to do TOD. Instead, we got a 4,000 unit housing development that will be a boon to the developers that bought the land, and will provide little benefits to the existing residents of Fremont.

I see many examples of mixed-use, transit-oriented development near BART stations and CalTrain stations throughout the Bay Area. With ample employment and retail, these areas become destinations for the host city bringing in many employees and shoppers from outside of their city. These locations also become destinations for the local residents providing places to work and shop near home. This development claims to be mixed-use but I would disagree.

The parcel on the agenda was the last of the three big ones near the Warm Springs BART station. It is a 28.7 acre parcel to the north of Grimmer and to the east of Fremont Blvd. Of the buildable area, 73% will be dedicated for residential development with 42% of the total being townhomes. I don’t know how you call that “employment-oriented” transit development.