Danville council to talk Diablo Road apartment complex | News | DanvilleSanRamon.com |


Danville council to talk Diablo Road apartment complex

Downtown parking, new smoking rules, disaster council among other topics

The Danville Town Council is set to meet with two other town groups Tuesday evening to review a proposed 150-apartment complex on Diablo Road adjacent to the southbound Interstate 680 on-ramp.

The council, Planning Commission and Design Review Board will discuss the final development plan from ROEM Development Corp., and Danville Office Partners, LLC, in the context of the project's surroundings and the town's development standards, but they won't make any final decisions on the project Tuesday night, according to town staff.

The two-hour joint study session is scheduled to take place before council members' regular meeting, during which they will talk about downtown parking, new anti-smoking regulations, zoning text amendments and the Danville Disaster Council.

The developers of the Diablo Road apartment project propose to add the three-story complex with 150 rental units, as well as a parking garage, courtyard and clubhouse, to 373-383 Diablo Road.

The 3.74-acre site currently contains two-story office buildings and is located just west of the freeway. The apartments would not sit right along Diablo Road, rather they'd be set back behind roadside buildings with tenants such as Heritage Bank of Commerce and American Packaging Capital.

The property is one of two in the town to secure a new multifamily land-use designation through the 2030 General Plan approval in recognition of the regional housing needs allocation shortfall identified in the town's 2007-14 Housing Element, according to Kevin Gailey, the town's chief of planning.

Based on town density rules, the site would be eligible for a maximum of 112 residential units, so the developers seek a density bonus to allow 150 units -- a request "being pursued in conjunction with the applicant's commitment to provide a specified amount of affordable rental units in the project," Gainey wrote in his staff report.

The town officials will discuss the density bonus request as well as hear the applicants' presentation on how the project relates to applicable design and development regulations as part of the joint study session, according to Gainey.

"(Tuesday's) conceptual review is not a permit or entitlement and shall not be binding on the town," Gainey wrote.

The Diablo Road apartments discussion is set to begin at 6 p.m. at the Town Meeting Hall, 201 Front St. After the joint study session, the council is scheduled to host a regular meeting starting at 8 p.m. inside the Town Meeting Hall.

In other business

* The council will talk about issues related to downtown parking availability, including a review of in-lieu parking fees for property owners and the possibility of considering a temporary moratorium on new land-uses in certain areas of the downtown business district.

Town Manager Joe Calabrigo is presenting the council Tuesday with a proposed resolution directing staff to prepare a new fee-nexus study related to downtown parking in-lieu fees.

Properties in the downtown business district can meet their parking requirements in part by paying a fee to the town to cover the cost of providing additional public parking. The rates stand at $3,500 for retail and $7,000 for all other land-uses, according to Calabrigo.

"This fee has not been reviewed or increased in at least 20 years and based on recent efforts by the town, it understates the actual cost of providing public parking in downtown," he wrote in his staff report to the council.

In order to evaluate the fee structure, the town must complete an updated fee-nexus study that identifies the 2015 costs to acquire, design and build new parking downtown -- information would help the council reset the fee at a rate comparable with recouping an appropriate portion of those costs, Calabrigo said.

The town is also striving to update its downtown parking assessment study, which could take several months, according to Calabrigo.

He notes in his staff report that the council may want to consider adopting an interim urgency moratorium on new uses within certain downtown areas to maintain the status quo and allow time for the parking and fee studies to be completed.

Such an ordinance, which could be brought to the council as early as Nov. 17, could be adopted by a four-fifths votes and would take effect immediately for an initial 45-day period, he added.

* The council will consider giving support to new smoking regulations that were debated throughout the summer and fall.

Council members in September approved the first reading of an initial ordinance proposing new smoking rules, including prohibiting smoking in apartments, condominiums and other multifamily complexes and expanding all smoking rules to e-cigarettes and medical marijuana.

But they asked for several changes when the second reading and final adoption was considered last month, according to Nat Rojanasathira, assistant to the town manager.

So staff updated the ordinance, incorporating provisions to allow for designated smoking areas in multiple-family buildings under certain circumstances, mandate landlords to notify tenants of the town's new smoking regulations and require "no smoking" signs to be posted in common areas where smoking is prohibited.

The new smoking ban would pertain to all multifamily buildings of three or more units, prohibiting smoking within the units and common areas of the building and property -- other than designated smoking areas. Smoking also wouldn't be allowed on porches, patios or balconies.

The first reading of the updated ordinance is set for Tuesday night, with the second reading and final approval set for Nov. 17. It would take effect 30 days after approval.

* The council will discuss recommended zoning text amendments for portions of the Town Municipal Code related to land-use and development.

The set of amendments, the second in the town's four-phased municipal code update process, consists mainly of consolidation and reorganization of the development procedures and general provisions portion of the code, according to principal planner David Crompton.

The amendments include updating the general definitions section, adding a new "planning applications" section that explains all types of planning applications and related requirements, and creating a new article specifically focused on describing the town's decision-making authority and application-review process, Crompton noted in his staff report.

The Planning Commission reviewed the amendments and recommended them to the council in September.

* Jed Johnson, maintenance services director, will share a report about recent activities, programs and statistics of his department.

* The council will present a proclamation to Barbara Chavez, chairperson for the Hospice of the East Bay Tree of Lights, designating November as National Hospice/Palliative Care Month.

* Following the regular council meeting, the council members will convene as the Danville Disaster Council to approve the summary of actions from its last meeting and hear an update on upcoming activities and events related to disaster preparedness.

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20 people like this
Posted by BB
a resident of Danville
on Nov 2, 2015 at 4:34 pm

Where are all these people going to park and go to school?

7 people like this
Posted by American
a resident of Danville
on Nov 2, 2015 at 7:21 pm

Great question about schools! Assuming elementary would be Vista Grande which is already overcrowded. Should make developer make large donation to school district to build additional classrooms at local schools.

30 people like this
Posted by Dave
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Nov 3, 2015 at 6:20 am

Oh please don't turn downtown Danville into an extension of Walnut Creek!

21 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Danville
on Nov 3, 2015 at 6:25 am

Developers don't care about parking or congestion or schools just the $$ and they are out of town and we have to deal with the aftermath. They are also adept at contributing to campaigns for our local leaders so there is always an inherent risk to the real good of the community when it comes to development. Good, positive development should be encouraged, but any and all measures to mitigate any negative impacts need to be out front and easily understood by all.

11 people like this
Posted by JJ
a resident of Danville
on Nov 3, 2015 at 7:47 am

Where are these people going to get water? We just keep building and building. I'm not opposed anyone living here in this beautiful area but we don't have the resources to support more apartments or homes at this time.

4 people like this
Posted by Peter Kluget
a resident of Danville
on Nov 3, 2015 at 8:36 am

I'm concerned. Where are all of the usual loonies ranting about Agenda 21, ABAG, "stack and pack," black helicopters, etc? Are they all sick? They are usually all over something like this by now.

With regard to the questions others posted - all developers are required by law to pay into the school district any time they build new housing units, and the city officials in Danville are notorious for exacting every last bit of community improvements and other concessions from developers compared to other cities. How this one will play out I don't know, but I wouldn't worry about the community getting too little out of the bargain.

Of course, there will always be folks who will complain anyway.

15 people like this
Posted by Good neighbor
a resident of Diablo
on Nov 3, 2015 at 8:54 am

Attention Town Council & Planning Commission!
Please don’t kowtow to ROEM Development Corp!
Keep the current zoning to 112 units—NOT 150 units thatROEM wants!
Follow the town’s current zoning max building height limit at 35 feet!—NOT the taller height that ROEM wants!
After losing the Summerhill court case and exposing that the Town Council lied—You need to regain our trust and follow your own laws!!

12 people like this
Posted by Herman Glates
a resident of Danville
on Nov 3, 2015 at 8:57 am

Herman Glates is a registered user.

Here I am, Peter. I had a cold, but I am feeling much better. Thank you for your concern.

Zoning law requires no more than 25 – 30 units per acre. They want to cram in 40 units per acre.

These units will be tiny (~700 sq. ft.) right next to the freeway noise. Who would want to live like that?

They’ll build a parking garage / driveway that will have 258 parking spaces. So 1.72 parking stalls per unit.

13 units will be for poor people. I got nothing against poor people. I used to be poor. I just wish they’d live someplace else.

8 people like this
Posted by Danville Parent
a resident of Danville
on Nov 3, 2015 at 9:04 am

Are these apartments located far enough from all the nearby schools to prevent any registered sex offenders from residing there ?!?

5 people like this
Posted by Donald J Trump
a resident of Danville
on Nov 3, 2015 at 9:59 am

I for a fact know that the proposed site, 391 Diablo Rd property, and the Heritage Bank site are all encumbered by CC&R's that prohibit the development into residential units.

Danville Office Partners LLC has sued the adjacent property owners to get this through.

Good Luck!

8 people like this
Posted by Good neighbor
a resident of Diablo
on Nov 3, 2015 at 10:09 am

It wouldn't be the first time the Town Council and the Planning Commission have lied to us.

3 people like this
Posted by David
a resident of Danville
on Nov 3, 2015 at 11:24 am

Don't massive construction projects take 'Water' to complete? Why is the City approving new housing and packing in more residents when we are in a major drought? Is EBMUD going to publish the developers name in the scofflaw water waster list ? Total hypocrisy.

12 people like this
Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on Nov 3, 2015 at 11:49 am

Peter, I know you are always great for jumping on your soapbox and accusing everyone (even the left wingers like me) of being racists, nimbys, homophobes, and I-got-mine-now-you-go-away-types, but the concerns raised by BB, Dave, Bill, and JJ are legitimate. Every one of them.

My daughter attends Charlotte Wood, and is one of well over 1100 students jammed into a tiny campus - and her situation not only isn't unique, it is very much the rule throughout Danville, Walnut Creek, and San Ramon. And the water? One year of El Nino, if we even get that, won't solve anything. Parking? Danville and Walnut Creek are getting as notorious as San Cramcisco for allowing developments with wholly insufficient parking. At some point we will have to face reality and stop breeding like bunnies.

Google-map the plot these nitwits are talking about, and look at the satellite view too. It's ridiculous. Next they will want to build directly on top of 680. It's very hard for me, having lived here for 9-1/2 years, to not believe there is some degree of graft going on between our city officials and local developers.

6 people like this
Posted by PSMacintosh
a resident of Danville
on Nov 3, 2015 at 1:47 pm

"in recognition of the regional housing needs allocation shortfall identified in the town's 2007-14 Housing Element"

Is this DANVILLE's true "housing need" or ABAG's dictated housing need?

Why does each and every city need to have rental apartments of some inexpensive variety?
Shouldn't that decision (about WHAT to build) be the PROPERTY OWNER'S choice and NOT forceably dictated by some pushy foreign/external organization with its own grandiose agenda and philosophical/political concepts.

What's wrong with designing Danville to be and maintain itself as an expensive, well-off area with excellent schools and low crime population?

Who is this that is dictating that every city has to have some equal mixture of good and bad....peace and trouble.....to it?

I'm NOT saying that "rental apartments" are a terrible thing in and of themselves. But aren't they more suited to be right next to a large downtown office/business type of city.

Isn't there a place for a suburb of house neighborhoods to get away from some other types of housing? Isn't it OK to have some locations of homogenous and same housing groups together?
NOT according to "liberal" planners.......and they know best for everyone!

Right now, I drive down Diablo Road to the downtown many times a week. The traffic is relatively light and suitable for that stretch from the freeway to Hartz. It is a peaceful ENTRYWAY past the Oak Tree to the downtown. It is primarily a business district.
After the 250 cars from a 150 unit apartment building is added to that flow, the traffic will be MUCH MORE CONGESTED AND SLOW in that spot, more accidents will occur, and eventually there will be the need for another signal.
THANKS A LOT, DANVILLE COUNCIL.........for nothing!

AND IT ALL STARTED WITH A CHANGE AND ADDITION TO THE LANGUAGE OF THE MASTER PLAN to encourage and incentivise the building of rental apartments in Danville. A change of language forced down our throats by people outside of the town.....and not stopped by the Council (because they are aligned with these external political forces).

4 people like this
Posted by PSMacintosh
a resident of Danville
on Nov 3, 2015 at 1:58 pm

Building this Apartment Building in Danville is just FORCING these people to become long-distance COMMUTERS--a whole bunch of them crammed into a little space with no where to work except OUTSIDE of Danville (for the most part).
How is this a good (even "liberal") concept?

Build Apartment Buildings around BART stations and surrounding large downtown business centers!
They don't need to be spread out "equally" across every city.

3 people like this
Posted by Dave
a resident of Danville
on Nov 4, 2015 at 1:01 pm

When you are done ranting, PSMacintosh, maybe you can take a moment to reflect on your comments and see that your legitimate concerns about traffic congestion are getting lost in your biased and inaccurate assumptions about lower income people who might want to live in Danville.

Who do you think your grocery store clerks, Danville public works employees, waiters and waitresses, etc. are? They are mostly lower income people who DO work in Danville and might want live nearby.

Also, equating rich and poor with "good and bad...peace and trouble" shows and equally prejudiced view of life. I would guess that you would be too cowardly to tell a store clerk who was waiting on you and who expressed a desire to live in an apartment in Danville that he/she should forget about it because you don't want them to increase the crime rate in Danville.

Why not stick to the real issues next time?

Like this comment
Posted by Anthony
a resident of Danville
on Nov 4, 2015 at 7:59 pm

Dave, I find your comments spot on. The majority of other listed comments only substantiate that most danville residents have a "I got mine" mentality. It's time for the July 4th parade to be truly integrated and have our children learn that life in this Valley doesn't represent the rest of our country. It's also time that Danville went beyond a priority of million dollar condos above the Danville Hotel and share our culture with others. To

Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Danville
on Nov 5, 2015 at 6:18 am

Relax everybody. The town council shot it down

Like this comment
Posted by Trump
a resident of Danville
on Nov 5, 2015 at 6:36 am

Mike, shot down what? The initial plan? The project overall? More details please!

Like this comment
Posted by Ben Carson
a resident of Danville
on Nov 5, 2015 at 6:42 am

Web Link

4 people like this
Posted by psMacintosh
a resident of Danville
on Nov 5, 2015 at 12:48 pm

It's not "shot down". It's "back to the drawing board" .....with a mandate to come up with more Low Income units in the numbers.

I've been a Low Income person before in my life. But, even if I worked in Beverly Hills, I never expected to live in Beverly Hills. I would expect to live in the closest possible, affordable area that I could find.
I didn't expect that Beverly Hills SHOULD make a place for a low income person to live, to have kids go to school, to have medical services and Medi-Cal dentists, to have every possible type of city and police service. The more variety of services (within services) that have to be provided, the more costly everything becomes.

Homogenity is not necessarily bad or undesirable.

Even today, I don't every expect to live in Blackhawk.....unless someone builds low income senior housing on its perimeter. Then I would have to shop at some expensive grocery store....or drive many miles to Park & Shop where I can get some excellent, inexpensive, tasty food.

I'm playing Devil's Advocate here.

WHO IS IT that is saying that it is necessarily such a good thing to mix in low income housing with extremely expensive housing.
Would you put a building with six Section 8 apartments right into the middle of Blackhawk, up on a hill someplace with a view please? Does that make sense to you? Where does it stop? What's the criteria for determining the "mixture"?

These are not Capitalistic, Free Enterprise concepts. These are some form of Marxist, Communistic, Socialistic concepts.

Dave, if you are such a Believer, why don't YOU build a 2nd unit apartment cottage in your OWN backyard and rent it out to a Section 8 family and see how that works out for you and your neighborhood. Don't forget to provide them with some form of transportation to the County Hospital in Martinez, etc.. The services for low income people are congregated in certain areas that are local to where they are currently located in large numbers. It would actually be a hardship for some people to live in Danville/Alamo/Diablo/Blackhawk.

Planners and Politicians don't necessarily KNOW BEST FOR EVERYONE!
In fact, their track record sucks. Why do we give them such power!?!

BTW, I didn't mean to equate "poor" people with "trouble/crime". The "rich" have their own types of "trouble/crime". But it does help the Police to be able to focus on the likely needs of its local service area. The more mixed that service area is, the broader the services the Police will have to offer at less efficiency, less expertise, and more cost/personnel/equipment.

Like this comment
Posted by David
a resident of Danville
on Nov 5, 2015 at 4:58 pm

Low income in Danville is probably around 100k per year. lol

Like this comment
Posted by Mike Huckabee
a resident of Danville
on Nov 6, 2015 at 11:47 am

Hell my wife and I together make over $200K and feel poor!

4 people like this
Posted by PSMacintosh
a resident of Danville
on Nov 6, 2015 at 1:23 pm

Essentially, these "low income" units will NOT be intended for Danville citizens (or their relatives/parents) as Danville citizens probably have too much income to qualify as "low income", even though created by Danville's Council.
These units will be for others to come in and enjoy all the niceties of Danville's infrastructure, schools, etc....and probably not add much to the tax base.
This is a part of the "wealth distribution" strategy of someone's agenda for the world.
See it for what it really is.

Like this comment
Posted by Dave
a resident of Danville
on Nov 6, 2015 at 2:04 pm

PSMacintosh -

My small, executive-homes neighborhood was built with rentable "in-law" units in several of the homes, some of which are rented to local workers and students, some of which by in-laws. And it has worked fine. No increase in crime. No diminution in the quality of life in our neighborhood. Just ordinary people living their lives and working/studying nearby.

Despite what you may think, our communities are just that -- communities. Made up of people from varied backgrounds, contributing to the towns/cities in their own unique ways. Not exclusive clubs in which membership depends on a certain measure of wealth. And Danville is no exception.

The problem with the exclusionary point of view that you seem to espouse is that it doesn't focus at all on the challenges faced by the Bay Area in creating enough housing for the people whose labor supports our fine standard of living, it is that it implies that people's morality and character are defined solely by their income level or wealth -- that somehow people of means are more moral or more deserving in all that life has to offer. That has certainly not been my observation in my 50+ years on this planet.

Like this comment
Posted by PSMacintosh
a resident of Danville
on Nov 6, 2015 at 4:22 pm

I agree entirely with the premise that "people's morality and character are NOT defined solely by their income level or wealth" and that "people of means are NOT NECESSARILY more moral or more deserving of what life has to offer". So we are on the same wave length there. However, that is not the issue here.

The issue is "Why do Homogenous communities necessarily need to be broken up and 'Fixed' by being 'Mixed' in some manner?" And "Who" gets to decide? And "What" is the criteria for determining when something is broken or fixed.

I think that there is a legitimate place for HOMOGENOUS communities.
I think that there is a legitimate place for Beverly Hills mansions surrounding each other on large estates in the hills, for a Blackhawk subdivision, for a Rossmore subdivision, for a Montecito side of Santa Barbara. And also for homogenous areas of middle class subdivisions, apartment building areas, starter unit areas, low income areas, etc.
I don't see that it is necessary to force the introduction of a certain percentage of some other kind of units into a homogenous area.
I also think there are good cases for mixed units. Apartments over coffee shops and across from BART stations.

If the free market system wants it and will bear it, it will build it.

When GOVERNMENT gets into the business of trying to define its version of utopia, then it is exceeding its proper authority and is likely destined to mess things up badly.

This REQUIREMENT that MORE LOW INCOME HOUSING be built in Danville is coming from outside sources. This was no initiated by Danville citizens.
These outside forces are not experts--they don't know what they are doing. They are political theorists (similar to terrorists). They are just guessing and experimenting with our children's futures. And they are TAKING AWAY THE POWER OF CHOICE FROM INDIVIDUALS and putting that power into the hands of a select, few Politicians.
I don't trust most Politicians as far as I can throw them. I've seen too many problems from them. I'd rather let individuals make their own property decisions, even if mistakes, and then see them have to live with them. At least the mistakes will be on a smaller scale.

If YOU want to build LOW INCOME HOUSING go ahead. Do it wherever you want to, on your own property, on your own buck, and without any government subsidization or influence. And then let's see how the chips fall.
If you want to pay Beverly Hills land prices and then build inexpensive units for low income people to afford, let's see you make a profit doing that (without some form of Govt assistance).
If you want to build some large expensive Mansions in the heart of a poor district, let's see you try to sell them to some rich homeowners. You do something stupid, you get burned and you're out of business fast.

But once Government starts "thinking it knows best" and "dictating" requirements for how things must be, then watch out. Stupidity reins! And for a long time!

This is the direction that we are headed in. It is criteria-less. It is out-of-public-control. It will continue at some pace, until it crashes and burns.

Once people finally realize that their freedoms have slipped away, then they'll try to rebel. But will they be able to defeat an all-encompassing, all-powerful Government then....and with most effective personal weapons removed and only the Government armed.
It's not there yet. But we are inching ever closer.

Like this comment
Posted by PSMacintosh
a resident of Danville
on Nov 6, 2015 at 4:23 pm

Is a new Apartment Building in Concord too far away for a "Danville waitress"?
Really, the Apartments have to be in Danville?

And who's to say WHO is going to be the "low income" renter that gets in--that it will even be a person who works in Danville. There is no such requirement built in here.

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Posted by Dave
a resident of Danville
on Nov 6, 2015 at 9:37 pm

PSMacintosh -

Well, first of all, we have never had a pure "free market" economy in this country. The market has always been skewed by one force or another. And government plays a useful role in moderating those forces (through antitrust laws, etc.), so that capitalism can actually function. (Although we are veering ever closer to another "Guilded Age" at the moment.)

When the market fails to provided a necessary good (like housing) or service (public transportation), citizens (acting together through their governments) must take steps to secure it. Governments have been subsidizing housing in a variety of ways for decades, as you know. Even you have benefited from it (through your home mortgage interest deduction.

It is interesting that you purport to know what Danville citizens want. Perhaps you were appointed/elected public opinion czar and I missed it.

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