The San Ramon City Council discussed the proposed Faria Preserve residential development for nearly four hours Tuesday night before deciding to continue the public hearing to an undetermined date later this summer.
The additional time gives city staff an opportunity to analyze and report back on concerns raised by some council members about traffic impacts, creek disturbance, senior housing and pedestrian safety related to the project planned for northwestern San Ramon.
The proposal from developer Lafferty Communities would add 740 new homes and neighborhood amenities on approximately 286.5 acres near Deerwood and Bollinger Canyon roads. Plans call for new single-family homes, town houses, condominiums, apartments and senior housing as well as plans for a community park, house of worship and educational facility.
The council was reviewing the San Ramon Planning Commission's May 6 approval of the project.
Councilman Harry Sachs filed a formal call for council review of the commission decision on May 15, citing concerns about landslide risks and whether the project could obtain state regulatory agency permits based on potential impacts to creeks, wetlands and natural habitats.
More than 100 citizens packed the city council chambers for the public hearing Tuesday night, with some attendees standing in the hallway and even a few peering through exterior glass doors and windows as the main meeting room was standing-room only.
Lafferty representatives and consultants presented to the council for about an hour and 15 minutes toward the beginning of the discussion.
The consultants supported their findings and action plans with regard to landslide mitigation and expressed confidence that the project would receive approvals from other regulatory agencies such as the Regional Water Quality Control Board and state and federal fish-and-wildlife departments.
The floor then opened for about 40 minutes to a dozen citizen speakers, a majority of whom denounced the project.
The opponents voiced concerns about a range of issues, including traffic safety, public school impacts, water service to the development, potential landslides, visual affects, quality of life for residents and whether city officials have acted properly during their Faria Preserve deliberations.
The conversation then moved to the council, and Sachs expanded upon the concerns outlined in his call for review.
The councilman said he wanted three new provisions added to the project: more senior housing in one neighborhood to alleviate issues with commute traffic and schools, construction of an off-site pedestrian walkway at Norris Canyon and Bollinger Canyon roads, and a reduction in overall residential units.
The mayor and other councilmen went on to offer their own thoughts and concerns related to the proposed development.
In the end, the council asked city planning staff to further explore five issues: the proposed off-site walkway, impacts to Interstate 680 on- and off-ramps at Bollinger Canyon Road, senior housing, traffic study estimates for the area during commute hours and ways to reduce negative creek impacts.
Council members voted to continue the public hearing temporarily, indicating they planned to hold a special meeting on the issue later this summer. An exact date was not scheduled on Tuesday.
Approximately 45 residents were still in attendance by the time the council approved the continuance motion just before 11:30 p.m.
Editor's note: A full story about the Faria Preserve hearing will be posted later this week.