San Ramon commission to discuss apartment project

Cell tower regulations also on tap for planners' meeting

The San Ramon Planning Commission is set to discuss the latest updates to a proposed four-story complex of residential and commercial units along San Ramon Valley Boulevard on Tuesday evening.

The proposal from Santa Clara-based ROEM Development would include 169 new apartments, 6,105 square feet in new corner retail space, a two-level parking garage and retention of the existing 6,200-square-foot Windmill Farms market at 2251 and 2255 San Ramon Valley Blvd., a site that also now houses Outpost Sports Bar and Grill.

The commissioners' debate on the San Ramon Valley Apartments project is listed as discussion-only, with no decisions to be made Tuesday.

The meeting allows the applicants to speak with the commissioners, receive direct feedback on the present plans and then finalize the scope of the project for continued environmental review, according to Shinei Tsukamoto, city associate planner.

The project has been revamped several times since its original proposal in 2014, including changes made after a Planning Commission workshop in July.

The latest adjustments include incorporating the commission's suggestion that five live/work housing units be removed and space repurposed, according to Tsukamoto.

The developers still propose 169 residential units overall, but the apartment types are disbursed differently after converting five previously proposed live/work units into traditional one-bedroom units, Tsukamoto said. The apartment conversion also results in the corner retail space being increased to 6,105 square feet.

The main complex would be four stories, with ground-level commercial spaces and apartments above. The site is located on approximately 3.55 acres on the west side of San Ramon Valley Boulevard at the corner of Deerwood Road, across from In-N-Out Burger.

In all, there is 12,305 square feet of commercial space, which includes the Windmill Farms market, and almost 144,400 square feet of residential space overall.

The applicants have proposed reducing the building height by 3.6 feet to 46.4 feet overall. They've also added more trash and recycling storage areas and will provide a children's play area at south side of apartment building after taking commission feedback into account, Tsukamoto said.

The parking count consists of 266 spots for residents (27 more than required by city regulations), 35 for guests (one more than required) and 10 for commercial operations (27 fewer than required).

The developers propose offering 26 apartments as affordable units, 15% of the total project but less than the required affordable-housing obligation, according to Tsukamoto. The plan calls for the remaining 10% to be paid to the city as an in-lieu fee.

Among the pending issues are the level of improvements to the Windmill Farms property and whether the Windmill Farms property could be included for calculating the overall residential density, Tsukamoto noted.

The commissioners are not scheduled to make any final decisions on the project Tuesday; those would occur at a yet-unscheduled future public hearing, according to city staff.

Tuesday's commission meeting is set to begin at 7 p.m. at San Ramon City Hall, 2222 Camino Ramon.

In other business

* The commission will receive an informational presentation on newer Federal Communication Commission (FCC) regulations -- aimed at expediting the telecommunication facility upgrade process nationwide -- and the impact of the new rules on the city.

More than 80 wireless telecommunication facilities exist on 38 properties in the city or its sphere of influence, but the pace of new towers has slowed in the past five years with wireless companies opting instead to modify existing towers with new antennae and equipment, according to Tsukamoto.

The 2012 FCC regulations, which were further clarified by federal officials this May, prohibit cities from requiring a minor use permit or denying a proposed modification for an existing facility if the proposal does not "substantially change the physical dimensions" of the facility, Tsukamoto said.

City staff is proposing to amend the zoning ordinance to spell out procedures for considering cell tower modification projects in light of the new federal rules.

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6 people like this
Posted by Bunny
a resident of San Ramon
on Oct 20, 2015 at 1:47 pm

We don't have enough water for the people who already live here. Seems poor planning to allow in over 200 more people.

Schooling is often an issue. Has it been decided where children who will live in that area go to school? Has provisions been made for pets? Dogs will need a place outside to exercise safely.

2 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of San Ramon
on Oct 21, 2015 at 6:09 am

Ms. Bunny,
Why don't you go to the meeting and ask these questions?

Complaining on this forum doesn't change anything.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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