Danville commissions to debate new additions for historic downtown building

Town staff endorses development plan with incentive package

Two Danville commissions on Tuesday are set to review a proposal from landowners to construct additions and make facade improvements on their Hartz Avenue retail building that is listed among the town's historically significant resources.

The project calls for permission to build a 1,721-square-foot addition on the second floor, a 195-square-foot rear deck, a 45-square-foot addition to the rear ground floor and a 35-square-foot trash room at the existing building at 375 Hartz Ave., formerly home to Rick's Picks furniture and gift store.

The development plan also seeks facade improvements in the spirit of 1920s-era appearance on the front of the building, which is next door to Elliot's bar. The proposal would also require variances from town rules regarding floor area ratio and setback along the Clock Tower Municipal Parking Lot frontage.

"The property is on the 'Survey of Historically Significant Resources' and is proposed to be developed to be consistent with the design and development guidelines contained within the town's 'Design Guidelines for Heritage Resources' to assure the structure retains its historical integrity," town assistant planner Zoe Merideth said in a staff report.

Merideth's report comes ahead of a joint meeting between Danville's Planning Commission and Heritage Resource Commission about the project. The public discussion is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Town Meeting Hall, 201 Front St.

Town planning officials recommend approval of the development proposal.

Merideth said they also endorse a proposed historic preservation incentive package for the project that supports and encourages the restoration and that is similar to packages approved for other historic properties in town -- including 345 Hartz Ave., which also included a rear addition.

The incentive package includes waiving certain fees, placing a "Designated Heritage Resource" plaque on the building and adding the property to all marketing plans and public information materials issued by the town related to historic preservation.

The Planning Commission will be asked to consider a resolution urging the Heritage Resource Commission to approve the proposal.

The Heritage Resource Commission will be asked to approve the development plan and variance requests and recommend the Town Council approve the historic preservation incentive package.

The building at 375 Hartz Ave., owned by John and Sharon DeSousa, is zoned as downtown business district area one, old town retail and it's land-use is as a commercial building.

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18 people like this
Posted by domino
a resident of Danville
on Oct 11, 2016 at 8:27 am

Just say NO! OH,wait. Council approved the monster across the street. Guess this new monster will have to be approved too.

Historic preservation is over. Staff, be honest at least and don't pretend a NEW building trying to look like an old building, is "historic preservation." Stop the lies!

16 people like this
Posted by Brenda
a resident of Danville
on Oct 11, 2016 at 8:48 am

How about opening that underground parking lot that sits underneath the antique store just around the corner from the old ricks picks? It appears to be an old parking garage. I would hate to see a second-story placed along that strip it is currently vacant. All that's going to do is continue to increase the rates of rental and the vacancy percentages. Focus on parking.

9 people like this
Posted by J.V
a resident of Danville
on Oct 11, 2016 at 9:48 am

I agree with Brenda! We can have the best shopping in the Bay Area... but if there's no place to park what's the difference??? Folks just turn around & go home(or somewhere else)frustrated!!!

15 people like this
Posted by grandma
a resident of Alamo
on Oct 11, 2016 at 10:44 am

I no longer go to shop or eat in Downtown Danville. Using the Danville P.O. is nearly impossible due to the parking crunch in the poorly designed parking lot, made worse by the extension of the strip center a few years ago and moving Sideboard across the street more recently. Now it is unpleasant to DRIVE through downtown Danville. If I want crowded and unpleasant I go to Walnut Creek. Its larger and offers so many more choices of places to shop and eat.

12 people like this
Posted by Kathy
a resident of Danville
on Oct 11, 2016 at 11:28 am

I agree with keeping the architectural theme with the 1920's, what happened when you approved the ugly cement structure on the corner of the hotel? If we can't park downtown now, how can you continue to approve more construction?

8 people like this
Posted by numb
a resident of Danville
on Oct 12, 2016 at 8:27 am

@ Kathy,
They can because money talks. They could care less about parking, convenience, traffic, increasing vacancy rates , how ugly the new buildings look, etc.

Simply going to Trader Joes is a total nightmare now. Congrats city leaders. You must secretly live in walnut creek.

2 people like this
Posted by Member
a resident of Danville
on Oct 12, 2016 at 11:40 am

OMG! I couldn't agree more. Just trying to meet some friends in downtown Danville for lunch and everyone was late and frustrated by the time we got there. Had to park all over and WAY far away. We will be going elsewhere from now on. Parking in downtown Danville (day or night) is now a nightmare. Quite pretending we are a small town. Congratulations city management you are turning us into Walnut Creek. Guess money talks. But the more people come and can't even find a place to park, the more they will be Going somewhere else!

3 people like this
Posted by JN
a resident of Danville
on Oct 12, 2016 at 12:26 pm

Money talks. This Will be approved, unfortunately. Just like the 3 house subdivision willow was. They approved 3 huge 2 story houses with no on street parking, forcing parking on to willow drive. Willowthe has only one story homes and our CCRs state that is all that is allowed.We were told by theway planning commission that our CCRs have no legal standing. The developer can do what he wishes, its his property. 20 plus residents showed up to the meeting and we admonished by the commission for ganging up on the developer. So who's side is the city on? Need I answer? I have lived here for over 30years and things have changed for the worse just recently. MTC signs causing light pollution,uncontrolled development, you name it. Clearly,the long term resident is not being thought of. What's next, parking meters? Stop calling us a small town,your not running it like one. Just call us Walnut Creek junior.

4 people like this
Posted by Pete
a resident of Danville
on Oct 12, 2016 at 12:42 pm

JN- were you able to demonstrate to the Planning Commission that a 2 story home was not allowed on Willow? It's a clear cut process when it comes to approving the height of a home.

Like this comment
Posted by JN
a resident of Danville
on Oct 13, 2016 at 12:37 pm

PETE, we all felt we did. Our CC&R's do not allow 2 story homes. One of our neighbors was limited to a 1 story in the late 70's when he built his home. The staff member from the town clearly stated that car's have little legal standing and zoning takes presidence. Our street is zoned R 20 which allows 2 story up 35 ft in height homes. Clearly doesn't fit the style of the neighborhood.

2 people like this
Posted by JN Huh?
a resident of Danville
on Oct 14, 2016 at 8:30 am

So, it sounds like Danville allows two story buildings in your neighborhood. Why would they be bound by CC&Rs for your neighborhood, which are a contract between the property owners in your neighborhood? If that were the case, Danville's municipal code would be worthless, as every neighborhood would effectively decide their own zoning.

It sounds like your CC&Rs might be applicable to whoever is building the development, if they are bound by them, but that is an issue of enforcing the CC&Rs between you (or the HOA) and them through the court systems. Danville isn't in the business of enforcing contracts between residents.

6 people like this
Posted by Dee
a resident of Danville
on Oct 14, 2016 at 9:26 am

I lived in Danville for 25 years. Use to love living in Danville. About 12 years ago saw firsthand how Danville city is all about the developers wants & needs. Went to many of the monthly town meetings.and they never listened to the residents concerns. ActedThey had to give the developers what they wanted etc.They approved one awful project downtown after another. Don't waste your time going to meetings. It's a huge waste of time & energy. The town won't listen they don't care. Only care what the developers want. The new Danville Hotel project has building encroaching into the sidewalks. I quit eating out in Danville when parking became an impossibility. A year ago I sold my house and moved. I'm really glad I did because what made Danville special is gone.

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