LIVERMORE -- Dozens of neighbors living near the sites for two proposed housing developments in south Livermore turned out Tuesday to oppose elements of the project's draft environmental report.
The project plan calls for demolition of two existing office complexes.
About 50 community members attended the Planning Commission's special meeting for the presentation of the 420-page report on Sunset Crossing/Catalina Crossing, a development of single-family homes and townhomes from Sunset Development Co. of San Ramon.
Sunset Crossing, planned for 14 acres at the northeast corner of Holmes Street and Concannon Boulevard, would consist of 49 single-family homes and 38 attached townhomes. A complex of 31 townhomes is planned for Catalina Crossing, at the southwest corner of Catalina Drive and Barcelona Street. The developments will require general plan amendments and zoning changes from commercial to urban residential.
Grant Gruber, speaking for the city's environmental consultant, First Carbon Solutions, said the firm found the project consistent with the city's general plan and compatible with surrounding land uses. The added housing won't reduce traffic conditions below acceptable levels, he said, and would result in less than significant impacts to aesthetics, biological resources, land use and noise.
At least 20 speakers disagreed with portions of the findings, saying the new homes would affect traffic, safety, neighborhood ambience and schools, particularly for Sunset Elementary and Mendenhall Middle School.
"(Sunset Elementary) is already at capacity," said neighbor Dan Goldman. "It is ludicrous to state that it will have no impact on schools or overcrowding."Sunset Development's senior vice president, Chris Truebridge, said he was surprised by the concerns from parents over redistricting, an issue he said would better be addressed by the Livermore school district. Truebridge added he would give city staff time to analyze the report before espousing the merits of the project.
"I think the EIR was thorough and they came to the right conclusions," Truebridge said. "I think it's adequate and appropriate for the site ... In the long term I think this is the right thing for the city of Livermore."
The project will require demolition of two office complexes dating to the 1970s, Sunset Office Park and Catalina Court. The complexes contain a total of 14 single-story office buildings and more than 100,000 square feet of office space.
Several speakers lamented the loss of local small business.
Neighbor James Fogerson worried about saying goodbye to a swath of open space buffering the office complex from his home on Cairo Way, and 200 trees that would need to be removed.
"It really makes Livermore unique that we have that open space," Fogerson said. "This (project) would get rid of it. All of us who enjoy looking at the redwood trees would no longer have that."
Attendees also raised concerns about traffic safety. Longtime area resident Jan Brovont said she discovered from Livermore police that 66 accidents had occurred at the corner of Concannon and Holmes from 2004 to 2014, including a fatal crash last year.
The commission will accept written comments on the draft report until April 24. The final environmental impact report will be submitted to the commission and city council sometime in the summer.
Contact Jeremy Thomas at 925-847-2184. Follow him at Twitter.com/jet_bang.
To read the Draft Environmental Impact Report for Sunset Crossings/Catalina Crossings project, visit http://www.cityoflivermore.net/civicax/filebank/documents/9582/.