The Planning Commission is scheduled to hold a Study Session review on February 28, 2017 for the Richardson Site (also known as Blithedale Terrace) residential development project, which is proposed as a 20 dwelling unit townhouse project on a 51,605 square foot lot at 575 E. Blithedale near its intersection with Camino Alto.
The project as currently proposed would require approval of: a General Plan Amendment; Rezoning to Residential Multi-family; Tentative Subdivision Map; Design Review; Tree Removal permit; and, CEQA environmental review.
City staff is not making any formal recommendations at the Study Session, and the Planning Commission will not make decisions at this Study Session regarding the approval of this project. Staff has provided a detailed analysis of concerns and issues with the proposed project in the staff report for discussion by the Commission.
"FAQ" - Frequently Asked Questions
The project applicant has submitted a new application, which the City has accepted for processing. This application, while substantially similar to the prior application, is subject to the current rules in place today, including the adopted General Plan “MV2040”, new Design Guidelines, and new Zoning requirements (also called Development Standards) for projects of this type.
These new rules better reflect the City’s vision related to land use; traffic issues; community character; and, design of buildings. These guidelines and standards are more restrictive than what previously applied to the prior application. The staff report analyzes the project utilizing these new rules and identifies the issues the new project presents.
The old application was never completed, and is considered abandoned. However, that does not mean that the City and decision makers are not aware of the extensive history surrounding the project.
All project communication and comments are part of the official records for the prior project. Staff is in the process of putting together additional background information for the Planning Commission and community that will include a timeline of the prior application, website links to prior staff reports, and website links to significant public comments. This additional background information will be included as an addendum to the staff report. Any new comments received up until January 31, 2017 will also be published as part of this addendum. Comments received after February 1, 2017 will also be collected and distributed to the Commissioners and applicant, and made available for public review.
Some of the documents related to the previous application can be found here: Draft EIR (Draft Environmental Impact Report), Staff report, Community Petition
The prior EIR was never completed and certified. Since that time, some environmental factors, such as traffic, have changed and will require additional review and analysis. Other factors, such as geology and soils, remain the same. Therefore, a new environmental document will be completed for the project. Additionally, staff foresees that the project will change significantly based on staff’s analysis of the project and input to be provided by the Planning Commission and community on February 28, 2017.
Staff continues to have concerns regarding several components of the currently proposed project, including the traffic that would result from the proposed project and the access into and out of the site. These were concerns in the prior application, and have only grown to be greater concerns over time as congestion on East Blithedale has increased. In fact, a newly adopted General Plan amendment will require additional scrutiny related to the potential traffic impacts a project on this site may cause and improvements may be required to reduce traffic impacts. Additionally, the General Plan includes policy LU-1.3, which allows the City to reduce the allowed density on a site if there are physical constraints, including topography and traffic implications of development. Both of these components are outlined in the staff report and will be considerations in reviewing and evaluating the project.
The staff report outlines the City’s concerns related to the project’s impacts on both traffic congestion and traffic safety. Staff has also outlined less intensive uses which might alleviate some of these concerns for the Planning Commission to consider at the upcoming Study Session.
Not in its current form. As detailed in the staff report, there are several areas where the project does not meet the requirements of either the current or proposed Zoning districts (currently Commercial Limited, proposed rezoning as Multi-family Residential), or the new Multi-family Residential and Mixed Use Design Guidelines. There are also several technical challenges that need to be addressed in any proposal for the site. The site is considered a developable site, and staff has outlined both constraints and opportunities to be discussed at the Planning Commission’s Study Session hearing.
The purpose of the Study Session is to provide an opportunity for preliminary feedback on the application from the Planning Commission to the applicant. It also provides an early opportunity for neighbors and other interested parties to engage in the process and express thoughts and concerns.
During the hearing, the applicant will have an opportunity to present his project, staff will give an overview of their analysis, public comments will be heard, and the Planning Commission will deliberate and provide feedback and direction to the applicant.
While the Study Session is a public hearing, staff does not make any recommendations regarding approval or denial, and the Planning Commission does not take any official action on the application other than providing feedback and direction for the applicant.
7. Why have you changed the name from “Blithedale Terrace” to “Richardson Site”?
The City already has a street and subdivision called Blithedale Terrace, and that neighborhood has requested that the new project go by a different name.
Draft EIR (Environmental Impact Report) (large file)
Final EIR (not adopted)