It's not a question of whether development of a large parcel of land in northwest San Ramon will happen, but a question about what that development will look like.
That's according to San Ramon Planning Commission members at the most recent hearing on the Faria Preserve. Ten people turned out to the second public hearing on the development proposed just outside Danville.
The Faria Preserve is currently planned as a 740-unit community development that includes five neighborhoods with single-family homes, town homes, apartments and senior housing, along with plans for a church, park and educational facility.
Faria has sparked strong opposition from those who live in the area. At the Dec. 24 planning commission hearing, Ron Smith presented the commissioners with a petition with 137 signatures, about 56% of Thomas Ranch residents, who are opposed to the development.
Those in Thomas Ranch are concerned about the location of the apartments, currently planned for the southwest side of the 440-acre site. They're also worried about the impact on traffic and lighting in the area planned as park of the development.
Residents say they're concerned the project could reduce property values. They're also worried about the impact of the Faria Preserve on local schools. Planning Commissioner Donna Kerger noted that's an issue for the school district, and by law, school overcrowding is not to be considered by city officials during the planning process.
Commissioner Dennis Viers noted that other iterations of the project have been approved. Commission Chairman Eric Wallis said the project approval is not a question of whether it will be built but whether the plan is consistent with the city's Northwest Specific Plan and its General Plan.
The planning commission and local residents may soon get a better idea of exactly what the development will look like. A three-dimensional model is being prepared by the developer, Lafferty Communities.
Current plans call for the project to be built in three phases, with a large area of the ridge line to be leveled and one waterway to be diverted.
A recent traffic analysis at 12 intersections showed nearly 6,500 vehicles currently drive the area daily, with 523 vehicles traveling during the peak morning commute and 662 at peak evening hours. The intersections in the study include those on Deerwood Road, San Ramon Valley Boulevard and Crow Canyon Road.
At least four more public hearings are planned in January and February. The next public hearing is set for Jan. 7. Public comments on the environmental impact will be taken through Jan. 6.