Month: June 2018

Measure L Update


There is a forty five day moratorium, starting June 13, that suspends city council approval of any development inconsistent with the General Plan, which is for a maximum of 2 homes per acre. This will give the city time to rezone the Deer Hill site to match the General Plan, as ordered by the Appeals Court in February, after the city illegally tried to deny citizens the right to vote on the project. At the special council meeting on Wednesday June 13, the city attorney tried to include an exception to the 45 day-moratorium, which would have made the Terraces exempt from the moratorium. Ivor Samson strongly objected to the exception; Mike Anderson and Cam Burks agreed to exclude the exception; Don Tatzin argued for about an hour to allow the exception but finally gave in.

The developer resubmitted the 315 Terraces apartments application on June 15. Ultimately approval or denial of that project will be up to the city council. It Is likely that the developer has no intention of building the apartments. All his past projects are single family residences,

The O’Brien Land Company funded the Yes on Measure L campaign because the 44 homes are what they know how to build, what they wanted to build and maximize their profits.

Three things to note:

  1. The Opportunities and Constraints analysis in 2006, together with the average slope calculation in 2008, showed 14 homes as maximum for the property.
  2. The site rezone will be considered first by the Planning Commission before it makes its recommendations to the city council. Three options are likely to be reviewed – R20, R40 and R65 (see definitions below) – at the Planning Commission’s next meeting, Monday June 25 from 7:00 PM-11:00 PM at the Lafayette Parks & Recreation Sequoia Room, 500 St. Mary’s Road, Lafayette. The city council will take up this matter at a later date.

(Be aware that each house can have the option of an attached or separate Accessory Dwelling Unit (“ADU”) on the same lot– up to 2 bedrooms, max of 1200 square feet – see the link here)

  • **R20 = 1 single family residence per 20,000 square feet (theoretical max. 48 houses + 48 ADU’s on Deer Hill’s 22 acres)
  • R40 = 1 single family residence per 40,000 square feet (max. 24 houses + 24 ADU’s)
  • R65 = 1 single family residence per 65,000 square feet (max 14 houses + 14 ADU’s)
  • LR-5 (1 house per 5 acres) was the zoning approved by the city council in 2010 for 4 houses.
  • Open Space is another possibility.
  1. The Housing Accountability Act authorizes the city to deny the apartments application because of any or all of the five significant, unavoidable public health and safety impacts identified in the apartments EIR and certified by the city council in 2013. If the city moves promptly and brings the zoning into conformance with the General Plan, that will create an additional ground for denial of the apartments project.

BAAQMD Denies It Said Deer Hill Is Safe

Article from: Scott Sommer, Environmental Lawyer, Former Member Lafayette School Board

The Yes campaign has been using an email from an Environmental Planner at the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), Alison Kirk, sent Tuesday May 29 at 4 pm, as a purported vindication of air quality for the public areas at Deer Hill that would be purchased under Measure L by the City at a cost of $3M plus 50% of cost overruns and a cancellation of developer fees. There is even a Nextdoor post from a supporter of Yes claiming “According to BAAQM [sic], Deer Hill Site is Safe for Children”, citing an EBT article referring to that email and the email itself, neither of which said the site is “safe”.

So Susan Candell and I followed up with that planner, and her supervisor, David Vintze, Manager, Planning and Climate Protection at BAAQMD. Here’s what we found out:

ALTERED PROJECT DESCRIPTION. BAAQMD’s May 2016 Planning Healthy Places manual has a map with purple zones along freeways and major traffic corridors that are marked as areas of elevated air pollution and for application of “Best Practices to Reduce Exposure to Local Air Pollution”. This includes: “plan sensitive land uses farther from localized air pollution sources…one of the most effective health protective strategies that can be implemented to protect children and other vulnerable populations from the harmful effects of air pollution.”

It has been pointed out that part of the public areas on the site plans in the Homes EIR and for Ordinance 641 are in that purple zone along Pleasant Hill Road (PHR). The developer consultant’s report dated April 2018 included that EIR plan, and drew a dashed line starting at the trail about 50 feet in from PHR encompassing most of that public area, referring to it the “Project Description” on p.3 and Fig. 1. That description overlaps with the BAAQMD’s purple zone.

However, later in May, after that April 2018 report was criticized, the developer’s consultant sent a DIFFERENT diagram to BAAQMD, editing out all public areas in the purple zone and presenting two boxes purportedly 225 feet from PHR as the “Project” (we also believe the distances are exaggerated). The public areas between PHR and the boxes were NOT shown or referenced. Ms. Kirk did not notice the deletion, and was therefore induced to state in her email that “the Project is ADJACENT to areas recommended for ‘Best Practices’ and ‘Further Study’” (emphasis in original).

Anyone looking at the public areas on the actual site plan in the EIR can compare and see the deletion. Now that Ms. Kirk and Mr. Vintze are aware of the deletion, BAAQMD has changed its position to “Yes” the “public areas depicted on the EIR project description…include areas recommended for ‘Best Practices’ in BAAQMD’s Planning Healthy Places and is in the purple zone on the PHP online maps”. That corrects the second half of the 5/29 email the developer obtained by not showing the public areas within the purple zone to Ms. Kirk.

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