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San Ramon council set for Faria Preserve public workshop

Meeting designed as project status update, discussion with residents

The San Ramon City Council is set to host a special meeting on the proposed Faria Preserve housing project Wednesday evening to give residents a chance to hear from the developer and city staff.

The public workshop aims to focus on a presentation and a status update about the project featuring representatives of CalAtlantic Homes and city officials, and not on the recent initiative petition that seeks to reduce the already-approved project from 740 homes down to 618, according to assistant city manager Eric Figueroa.

"The workshop is designed to be a conversation with residents ... to answer questions on an approved project that is in progress," Figueroa said.

The City Council signed off on the Faria Preserve development in a 4-1 vote nearly two years ago, but home construction hasn't started and the original developer sold the property to CalAtlantic in a deal that closed in April.

The council-endorsed version of the project called for a total of 740 units divided among single-family homes, town houses, condominiums, apartments and senior housing, with building focused on 152 acres of a 456-acre site east of Bollinger Canyon Road and north of Deerwood Drive.

But a new initiative petition seeks to reduce the number of residences in the project's Neighborhood 5 from a maximum of 302 units to 180, with all of those units being sold at market rate and designed with senior residents or multi-generational families in mind.

That would mean none of the 185 affordable for-rent apartments approved for Neighborhood 5 -- 86 of which were senior apartments -- would be built.

The developer instead would pay a $50,000 affordable housing fee and $11,111 open space fee to the city for each of those units, meaning if all 180 were built, the city would get $9 million for affordable housing and about $2 million for open space.

The petition, which was certified earlier this month as having received support signatures from more than 10% of registered city voters, was organized by former San Ramon City Councilwoman Carol Rowley and Mike Conklin, CEO of the military veteran support nonprofit Sentinels of Freedom.

The council talked about the petition Tuesday night and indicated its intent to adopt the initiative ordinance as presented within 10 days, rather than send the question to city voters in November or ask for a full report from city staff before deciding.

Meanwhile, the project approvals for 740 homes remain in place with the public workshop set for 7 p.m. Wednesday in the San Ramon Community Center, 12501 Alcosta Blvd.

The development would also include a house of worship, education facility site, 12.7-acre community park, a rose garden, water quality ponds, trails in open space areas and new Faria Preserve Parkway.

Grading work at the site should continue through next year, and home building is expected to start next spring or summer, according to city officials.

Editor's note: A full story on Tuesday night's council discussion on the initiative petition will follow later Wednesday.

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