Category Archives: Development

Council Approves Parc 55 Housing Development

On Feburary 16, the Council unanimously approved the Parc 55 project in the Warm Springs area of Fremont. This project is an aged-restricted housing development focusing on seniors. The project includes a total of 497 units, 90 of them affordable units.

In general, I don’t like to see us converting commercial parcels to residential. This is something the City has done more of than I would have prefer to see (i.e. Connolly’s in Irvington). It contributes to increased traffic, school overcrowding, and tends to require more services than the taxes it generates. However, there is a huge demand for affordable housing in Fremont, especially senior housing. This project will generate more than the standard share of affordable housing and, not surprisingly, was praised by affordable housing advocates. The project will be age-restricted and will not generate any school children.


Council Approves Housing Development at Connolly’s Site in Irvington

In a 3-2 vote last night the City Council approved the development of a 67 unit development at the site of the Connolly’s furniture store in Irvington.

I voted against the project when it came before the Council in November of 2014. Not surprisingly, I voted against it this time as well for many of the same reasons.

I believe that the City has been developing too many standard, suburban housing developments. It’s in the General Plan that the City wants to be a more ‘strategically urban’ city. This project is little more than a dense suburban development with mainly 1,500-1,800 sq. ft. homes some of which have 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. There are 11 ‘live/work’ units on Fremont Blvd. I don’t believe the conditions put on these units will insure that they really are commercial in nature. The discussion even leaned towards the ‘appearance’ of commercial development, by requiring a sign for the business, as being the main concern.

The General Plan notes that the City is ok with ‘pruning’ some of the retail areas. It notes that other commercial uses, and maybe even housing, could be considered to replace the retail. The General Plan does not say that poorly performing retail areas should be scrapped and replaced only with dense housing developments to allow for the property owners to sell their land for the highest value possible.



Study session on Walnut/Guardino development (11/17)

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.

Granite Ridge Residential Development Approved

On September 24 the Planning Commission denied the Granite Ridge proposal at Paseo Padre and Sequoia on a 5-2 vote. The main concerns of the commissioners were inadequate onsite parking and the overall density of the project. The applicant modified the project by removing five of the 132 units and presented a 127 unit development (73 Apartments / 54 Townhomes) to the City Council in their formal appeal of the Planning Commission’s vote last Tuesday (11/10).

The Council voiced a number of concerns about the project such as the density of the project and how it fit into the existing neighborhood. I noted that there the only provision for solar was that this may be put on some of the car ports in the future. I opined that much more should be done than that. At a minimum, any new townhomes should be ‘solar ready’ so that the owners can easily add solar panels to their roof and that these can be metered to that particular unit. For the large apartment building, much can be done at the design phase to make sure that solar panels can be easily added in the future.