LAFAYETTE -- Plans for a residential development near the Veterans Memorial Building are moving ahead after officials this week accepted a scaled-down project for 56 condominiums on a stretch of land near Mt. Diablo Boulevard, and bring a separate group of affordable housing units downtown.
Planning commissioners OK'd the zoning request from Branagh Development to amend an initial application that called for 80 residential units in four three-story buildings, and a parking garage, near the intersection of Mt. Diablo Boulevard and Risa Road.
Plans for The Woodbury now include six buildings with six units each, and a seventh building with 20 units, a community room and gym. The developers will also landscape a swath of East Bay Municipal Utility District-owned land in front of the condos and create bike and pedestrian pathways.
They also will build 18 affordable housing units, including 10 units for low to very-low income households, in an off-site location downtown.
First pitched in 2007, the development was placed on hold when the housing market tanked, said architect Scott Thomsen. It has since been redesigned, with attention given to vehicle circulation and pedestrian pathways.
"We're really trying to create single-family living in this condo project," Thomsen told commissioners.
However, two planning leaders questioned certain design aspects. Commissioner Tom Chastain pointed out perceived crowding between two of the buildings, and asked if their alignment could be tweaked. Commission chair Jeanne Ateljevich commented on the width of a pathway, which she felt barely allowed for adequate wheelchair access.
Planning director Niroop Srivatsa told commissioners changes could be difficult. "There is only a finite width for this property and it's going to be challenging," she said. But she added that the architect could do something to make the buildings look less alike.
Commissioners voted 4-0 to approve the final planned unit development for the revised project and adopt its environmental review, with conditions including additional analysis by the Design Review Commission before grading or building permits are issued.
Later this month, the commission will take another look at an additional Branagh development on the corner of Mt. Diablo Boulevard and Risa Road. That project consists of a two-story office complex and parking lot. Another office complex is planned nearby.