Category Archives: Development

How Much Parking is Enough at Warm Springs?

Lennar gave an update on their project at the future Warm Springs BART station. There isn’t a lot to report as they mainly just showed some specifics of where the building footprints would actually be. They did present some specifics on parking requirements and I questioned whether these would be adequate. (I will defer the similar discussion about Walnut / Guardino since we have a study session on that tomorrow.)

For the Lennar development, the rental units would all have a requirement of only 1.0 spaces per unit. This seems woefully inadequate. It’s also unclear how guests would park at the facility. Some of the Warm Springs developers talked to me early on saying that they wanted to see the parking requirements raised to 2.0 spaces per unit for part of their development. They noted that it would be hard to sell a unit in that location with less than two parking spaces given there is no ‘there’ there yet in Warm Springs and there likely won’t be for several years. (more…)

Joint City Council / School Board Meeting – 10/5

The Fremont City Council and Fremont Unified School Board held a joint meeting earlier this week. Sorry for the lengthy post but there was a lot discussed.

First, there were comments noting that the amount of money coming from the State has decreased over the past few years which has hurt local school funding. Also, Senate Bill 50 prevents the City Council from rejecting residential developmentbased on school issues alone. I raised the point that while this is true for property that is designated as residential under the General Plan, it does not mean that a General Plan amendment must be made to allow for more residential units to be built. For example, a General Plan amendment was required for the 500 unit Patterson Ranch development.

Superintendent Morris noted that the District now has 10 open classrooms. These 10 will be filled next school year in order to reduce class sizes. The expected growth next year will result in another 20 classrooms being required. These classrooms simply don’t exist. And this does not consider the students from the Patterson Ranch development nor the proposed Walnut / Guardino development. It’s unclear at this time how the School District will deal with this additional demand. (more…)

Upcoming Meeting on Walnut / Guardino Development

Many people have emailed me asking about the proposed apartments to be built at Walnut / Guardino. The Planning Commission is having a meeting to discuss this a week from tomorrow. The official notice from the City is below.

The City of Fremont Planning Commission will hold a Study Session to receive a presentation identifying potential alternative designs for an urban residential project proposed at 1031 Walnut Ave. Following the presentation, the public will be given the opportunity to comment on the design alternatives. Upon conclusion of public comments, the Planning Commission may then provide their comments to assist with further refinement of the project. No formal decisions or recommendations will be made on the project at the Study Session.

Date: Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Time: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Location: Fremont City Hall – Council Chambers
3300 Capitol Avenue, Building A

For questions and comments, please contact Bill Roth, Associate Planner, at or 510-494-4450.

Referral from Mayor Harrison about “Development Activity Concerns”

The second referral item on the agenda Tuesday night was from Mayor Harrison about “Development Activity Concerns”. This comes one week after the last City Council meeting where a number of residents complained about the development policies in Fremont. It also comes only six days after a Fremont Unified School Board meeting where a group of developers had threatened to sue the district for giving the new homes in the Patterson Ranch development an ‘unassigned’ status.

The referral was a request to have staff create a report that “evaluates strategies for managing residential development activity into the future that continues to be consistent with General Plan goals and policies by directing and managing future development”. I was a little puzzled by the intent of this since staff should be reviewing every new development in the context of the General Plan. Every development decision should consider how it affects Fremont’s future overall.

I understood this to be a request for an assessment of the cumulative impacts that the various development decisions over the past few years have had, and whether the developments that are being planned can be implemented without causing significant negative impacts to the City. In that vein, I requested that staff analyze the following:

– Current and predicted traffic patterns along key roadways in the City,
– The water supply and what the effects of planned development will be on that,
– The capacity of our school system to absorb all planned development, and
– How the City can provide adequate affordable housing as laid out in the Regional Housing Needs Assessment

I’m hoping that the report that staff will prepare in the next few months will be an honest assessment of what the City has done right AND what we have done wrong. A report that simply attempts to make excuses for prior decisions will be of no use at all.

Henkel (Niles Gateway) Development Approved

On Tuesday, March 3 the City Council heard the issue of the Henkel development. This is also known as the Niles Gateway since it is the first thing one will see when they enter Niles from the south (via Niles Boulevard). This brought out many Niles residents most of whom spoke against the project. They had many concerns including the density of the development, traffic, connectivity to Third Street, and contrast with historic character of Niles.

The project was rejected by the City’s Historical Architecture Review Board (HARB) in a 4-1 vote on January 15 saying that it did not conform to the existing historic nature of Niles. The project was approved unanimously by the Planning Commission with several conditions on February 12.


I agreed with the opponents of the project for several reasons.

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