MARTINEZ -- The developer of a proposed housing project has reduced the number of units, added parking and agreed to put in a pedestrian walkway to assuage neighbors' concerns.

But the changes aren't enough to satisfy opponents worried about traffic and the size of the development. City Council members want more information before they vote June 5 on whether to approve or deny the Laurel Knolls development.

Discovery Homes originally planned to build 80 three-story townhouses ranging from 1,431 to 1,930 square feet and two 3,400-square-foot single-family houses on a nearly 7-acre lot on Muir Station Road, not far from the Nob Hill shopping center. Discovery Homes is a branch of the Concord-based Seeno family home building empire.

Nearby homeowners say the development will add too much traffic to Muir Station Road, where motorists often speed and pedestrians must walk on the roadway because there is no sidewalk.

Residents of Donaleen Court say the project would compromise their privacy because the townhomes would be built on a plateau overlooking their backyards.

"We're really concerned about another 160 cars," said John Becker, one of several speakers who urged the council to send the project back to the Planning Commission for further review.

Citing the need for new housing in Martinez, in March council members asked Discovery Homes to address a list of issues, including the height and placement of the buildings, pedestrian access to the site, privacy and landscaping.

In response, the developer reduced the number of units to 73, converted two buildings to two stories, added 10 guest parking spaces and agreed to plant about 75 trees around the perimeter of the site.

Louis Parsons, who presented the plan on behalf of Discovery Homes to the council last week, said there isn't enough right of way along Muir Station Road to put in a concrete sidewalk, so the company has proposed building a three- to four-foot-wide asphalt pathway from the development to Alhambra Way.

The company also agreed to install a phased traffic signal at the intersection of Muir Station Road and Center Avenue to regulate vehicle flow.

In addition to the earlier objections to the project, neighbors who spoke during the public hearing said the development is too big for the site, criticized the plan to convert two acres of open space to residential, and raised concerns about stormwater runoff from the site into Alhambra Creek.

The site plan for the project is constrained by the topography and Parsons said it would cost millions of dollars to grade the property. Parsons also said the detention areas Discovery Homes plans to build on the site would decrease the runoff during a large storm.

The council asked for more information about grading, drainage and the asphalt walkway before the June 5 meeting.

Lisa P. White covers Martinez and Pleasant Hill. Contact her at 925-943-8011. Follow her at Twitter.com/lisa_p_white.

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