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Danville council to discuss Tassajara Parks development

Downtown parking study results, Danville Blvd. bike lanes, green infrastructure also on tap

The Danville Town Council is set to receive an update on the Tassajara Parks development proposed for unincorporated parts of the Tassajara Valley and consider how to respond during Contra Costa County officials' public review of the proposal.

The Tassajara Parks presentation will occur as part of a Tuesday morning study session during which the council will also discuss the final draft of the downtown parking utilization assessment study, how to redesign bicycle lanes on a portion of Danville Boulevard and an update on a regional water board's new green infrastructure requirements.

Town Manager Joe Calabrigo will lead the discussion on the Tassajara Parks project, which is currently in the environmental review stage before the county.

The project involves two areas of land -- 771 acres in all, currently designated and zoned as agricultural -- east of the Danville town limits and San Ramon city limits along parts of Camino Tassajara.

For the northern 155-acre site east of Blackhawk, FT Land LLC proposes to add 125 single-family homes on a 30-acre portion of the site, plus an adjacent detention basin.

The remaining acreage on the northern site, containing two staging areas and a public trail, would be dedicated to the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) for parks or open space and agricultural use.

The county Board of Supervisors, by a four-fifths vote, would have to approve an exception to the voter-approved urban limit line to allow the housing project to proceed.

The southern site, totaling 616 acres, is located roughly between Camino Tassajara and the developing Dougherty Valley and Alamo Creek communities.

The developer would dedicate 600-plus acres there to EBRPD, give seven acres to the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District and contribute $4 million to an agricultural enhancement fund established by the county.

The county also proposes a related memorandum of understanding (MOU) between itself, the town of Danville, city of San Ramon and EBRPD to contractually preserve and protect up to 17,718 acres in the Tassajara Valley subject to the county general plan and zoning standards.

"While county staff has indicated that each matter may move forward independent of the other, the draft MOU is intended in part to allow the county to make the finding necessary to grant the 30-acre exception being requested for the development project," Calabrigo wrote in his staff report to the council.

He said both items are expected to head to the county Planning Commission or Board of Supervisors by November.

Calabrigo and town staff are set to talk with the council Tuesday about how the town should move forward with having its voice heard in the county's review process.

He recommends sending a response letter to the county's draft environmental impact report by next week, asking for a meeting with county Supervisor Candace Andersen and San Ramon officials to discuss the proposed MOU and then placing the MOU on a future council agenda for formal consideration.

The Tassajara Parks discussion will take place during a study session scheduled to start at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the Danville town offices at 510 La Gonda Way.

In other business

* The council will review the final draft of the town's downtown parking utilization assessment study.

The study analyzed existing parking inventory and use patterns, parking time limits, parking enforcement, the downtown employee permit parking program, use of freight loading zones, student parking impacts from nearby San Ramon Valley High School and the farmers market, according to town transportation manager Andrew Dillard.

The study's recommendations include:

- "Intensify and reinforce efforts and requirements geared toward focusing downtown employee parking in designated locations to ensure that the most convenient parking supply is available to patrons during peak periods."

- "Minimize the impact of student parking demand on the downtown parking supply."

- "Provide consistent parking enforcement that balances the parking needs of downtown patrons and merchants."

- "Upon completion and full occupation of the Danville Hotel site, reassess Saturday parking supply and demand in and around the vicinity of the Railroad Avenue Municipal Parking Lot and further evaluate the farmers market impact on parking supply."

The final draft is being brought to the council for initial review and feedback Tuesday morning before final consideration and action, which is set for next week's regular council meeting.

* The council members will continue to debate how best to redesign the bicycle lanes on Danville Boulevard from La Gonda Way to El Cerro Boulevard.

They indicated support for the concept of adding seven-foot-wide bike lanes designated by green paint throughout the stretch last month, after which town staff worked to review costs and other factors, according to Dillard.

Town officials now suggest the council consider the merits of a varied version of a prior option to increase bike lanes to six feet wide northbound and leave at the current five feet wide for southbound and add a three-foot buffer zones.

The new version calls for the same dimensions but with "Bike Lane" marked in green-on-white paint every 200 feet for an estimated cost of $37,600. This alternative would utilize a more durable paint type and better address concerns about cost and visual compatibility, Dillard said.

The solid green lanes -- which are used in cities such as San Francisco, Dublin and Pleasanton -- would cost an estimated $143,800, according to Dillard.

* The council will receive a presentation explaining the new "green infrastructure" requirements that are included in the new municipal regional permit adopted by the Regional Water Quality Control Board in November.

Danville is one of 76 local agencies subject to the new permit provisions requiring them to reduce discharges of mercury and PCBs (Polychlorinated biphenyls), and "a portion of these load reductions must be achieved by retrofitting existing impervious surfaces with green infrastructure," according to town staff member Chris McCann.

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