The San Ramon Planning Commission is getting closer to a final resolution on a controversial large-scale building project proposed for the city's northwest sector, just outside Danville.
Plans for the Faria Preserve call for 740 residential units -- single-family homes, town homes, condominiums and senior housing units -- along with a community park, open space, church and educational facility.
Public hearings on the proposal have been held by the commission since November, and the developer, Lafferty Communities, has made a number of revisions to its plans over the course of the last few months.
In January, the entrance was changed from Deerwood Road to Perdue Road in response to nearby residents who worried about increased traffic through their neighborhood.
Last week at the fifth public hearing on the proposed development, Lafferty vice president of operations Pat Toohey said a nearby parcel was purchased to give the church area more space and a level place to build.
"We've taken the one-and-a-half acre parcel and coupled it with the (new) 1.7-acre parcel," Toohey told the commissioners. "What that does is it gives more than three acres (of) church parcel, and it gives you a 1.1 acre flat pad where the church could be developed."
He said other changes have been made regarding affordable housing, changing the number of reduced-price units from 112 to 99.
Toohey said Lafferty has made all the changes it's willing to do to accommodate requests from the public.
"We've just about exhausted anything we could talk about on this project," he said. "We are looking at finishing the public-hearing process."
Some members of the commission are also ready to start wrapping up the series of public hearings.
"We have to start having some dialog as to what our concerns are so we can start solving them," Commissioner Donna Kerger said, noting she's been listening to the same issues since the project was originally proposed eight years ago. "We need to start thinking about what direction we're going to go in."
She also complimented Lafferty for its work in accommodating residents' concerns.
"I have to say publicly that we don't get that many concessions from a developer," Kerger said.
But some members of the public still want a couple of issues considered. Jim Blickenstaff and Michael Jones both were concerned about the area where apartments and senior housing would be built.
Blickenstaff said he was worried that the project would be approved with what he called "a blank space," while Jones questioned placing those units where they are.
Jones wanted the high-density housing near Perdue Road, which he said makes sense because there's shopping and mass transit nearby.
Jones, Blickenstaff and Robert Klingner, representing a coalition of 12 neighborhoods, also repeated their concerns about the park that would be built by Lafferty as part of its development agreement.
Those worries center around whether there's adequate parking, lights that would be installed and the difference between what they see as a neighborhood park -- one that would hold events from across San Ramon -- and a community park, for just local residents.
The San Ramon Parks and Community Services Commission has held multiple hearings about those issues and voted to recommend the park be approved. Several members of the planning commission questioned whether they or the parks commission had final say over what would be recommended for consideration by city council.
Members of the planning department, however, clarified that the parks commission would recommend specifics, with the planning commission taking a broader view.
Lights still remain a question for some of the planning commissioners, including Jeanne Benedetti, who questioned Karen McNamara, public services director and interim parks and community services director, about whether the fields could be the last booked.
McNamara said while there's no plan for that, one possible idea would be to have the lights installed and turned on to see the impact on nearby homes, then hold a public hearing on whether they'll be used at all.
One more public hearing is set for March 4.