PITTSBURG -- A Seeno proposal to build 356 high-end single-family homes on undeveloped grazing land south of the Pittsburg city limits is raising concerns about the project's impact on rolling hillsides that form a scenic backdrop against state Highway 4.
The comments were made at the sparsely attended workshop held earlier this month on the project's draft environmental impact report and will be addressed in the final environmental impact report. A date has not been set for releasing the final report.
The city is able to consider the project, known as the Montreux subdivision, because in 2005 voters narrowly approved Measure P, a Seeno-backed measure that extended the city's urban limit line and opened up 2,200 acres in the southwest hills for development and future annexation into Pittsburg.
The main project involves 148 acres of unincorporated land, of which 77 acres would be set aside for 356 homes, with 71 acres reserved as open space at the southern edge. Another 17 acres of city land northwest of the main project would be used as an off-site stormwater basin, according to the report.
The developer, Altec Homes Inc. and Seecon Financial and Construction Co., wants the land rezoned from hillside residential development, which allows for 1.2 houses per acre, to single-family residential, which permits 2.4 houses per acre.
Seeno representative Louis Parsons did not address the concerns raised at the workshop, but previously said the project has been in the works for many years and would benefit the city.
An estimated 1.4 million cubic yards of grading -- which translates into 140,000 truckloads of dirt -- is called for in the project, the report said.
"The valley floor and one of the ridgelines would be just be massively graded and gutted," said Juan Pablo Galvan, land use planner for the Walnut Creek-based environmental group Save Mount Diablo.
Another issue the final report needs to address in more detail is the project's impact on public services such as schools, police and fire, according to Galvan.
"Public services already seemed overwhelmed with existing development," he said.
As proposed, the project would violate more than 16 specific policies of the city's general plan, including existing hillside development standards, and that needs to addressed in the final report, he said.
Access to the Montreux subdivision would be provided with an intersection to be built at Kirker Pass Road that would connect with the planned 1.7-mile James Donlon Boulevard extension, which ends at Antioch's western border and is under a separate review process by Pittsburg officials.
While the extension was added to Pittsburg's general plan in 1980, and is viewed as a key route to relieve congestion on Buchanan Road, Save Mount Diablo contends it is more about providing access to various Seeno housing projects.
The extension would go from Somersville Road, near the site of Sky Ranch, an approved Seeno subdivision of 415 single-family homes, to Kirker Pass Road.
Tuscany Meadows, another Seeno project also under review, calls for up to 917 single-family home and up to 365 apartments near where the extension would start.
The draft report fails to adequately take comprehensive look at all of those projects, Galvan said.
Bruce Ohlson, a Pittsburg resident who sits on the Planning Commission but was speaking on behalf of himself, bicyclists and walkers, said another issue that needs to be addressed is the need for having adequate bicycling lanes.
"The Pittsburg bicycle and walking community wants to be assured this development will be connected with bike lanes or marked shoulders and with sidewalks to the existing bike lanes and sidewalk system in the city," he said.
"We want to be assured the marked shoulder or a bike lane will be included across the frontage of the development along Kirker Pass Road."
Contact Eve Mitchell at 925-779-7189. Follow her on Twitter.com/EastCounty_Girl.