WALNUT CREEK -- Construction of 178 apartments next to the Ygnacio Valley Road offramp at Interstate 680 and Highway 24 will not cause any significant impacts, according to a recently released draft environmental impact report.

The draft report for The Landing at Walnut Creek is now available for public comment. It shows impacts from traffic to noise are either not significant or can be managed by taking various steps.

The Landing would be built across the street from the Walnut Creek BART Station, where a transit village with 600 apartments has been approved for construction. The public has until April 14 to comment on the report.

The point of the project, according to the report, is to "Redevelop an underutilized property to provide a high-quality, high-density residential apartment project directly across ... from the Walnut Creek BART station that provides a well-designed and well-situated residential community for current and future residents desiring to reside in a transit friendly environment in Walnut Creek with transit connectivity to the larger Bay Area."

Nine homes currently occupy the nearly-two-acre site, but those would be demolished and replaced by a single four-story apartment building that would come with 223 parking stalls, some of which would be underground. The Landing will offer studio, one- and two-bedroom units that range in size from 524 to 1,156 square feet, and plans for around 380 residents.

A fitness center, rooftop decks and a common courtyard are also part of the plan. All of those units are set to be market-rate apartments.

Though the project will add more residents to the city, in addition to the hundreds of other apartments currently being built or approved, there isn't a need for more police and fire coverage, according to the report. People exposed to higher than allowed noise and any potential damaging effects on wildlife habitat, can all be mitigated, according to the report.

The report takes into account the cumulative impacts from nearby proposed and under construction multifamily housing units which total nearly 1,700.

While it may surprise people that such a project will have no significant impacts on traffic, it shouldn't, said Rafat Raie, city traffic engineer.

That's because the General Plan accounts for new development, and all of this development is within plan limits, he said.

The area where The Landing is proposed falls within the boundaries of the West Downtown Specific Plan, which is in the process of being created. While that specific plan won't be finalized until early next year, having housing or office on The Landing site is what the preferred scenario of the plan shows, said Andy Smith, senior planner with the city.

The project "is far enough along and ahead of things that we have not run into any conflicts," he said.

A general plan amendment, zoning ordinance amendment and conditional use permit will all be required -- which means the City Council will have to weigh in -- before the project can be built.

To see the draft environmental impact report go to City Hall, 1666 N. Main St. or go to www.walnut-creek.org and click on "quick links" then "current projects."

Comments can be sent to Chip Griffin, associate planner, City of Walnut Creek, 1666 N. Main St., Walnut Creek CA 94596 or by e-mail to griffin@walnut-creek.org.

Contact Elisabeth Nardi at 925-952-2617. Follow her at Twitter.com/enardi10.

---