A major apartment project that already had the city's blessing will go back through the approval process and this time will receive a full environmental impact report.

The 300-unit Paragon Apartment project, planned for the former CVS headquarters site on Civic Drive, was approved by the Planning Commission last year. But developer Urban Housing Group pulled the project completely after an appeal to the City Council was filed by Carpenters Local 152. The same union recently filed a lawsuit against the city over the North Main Apartments project.

It was a "mutual decision" with the city to withdraw and resubmit the Paragon Apartment plans for additional environmental review, said Dan Diebel, managing director for Urban Housing Group.

"With what we are seeing, we thought it would be prudent," he said.

The project starts with the 80,000-square-foot former Longs/CVS headquarters being demolished. In its place is proposed a 300-unit, four-story development on a 5-acre site with a 475-stall, four-level solar-powered parking garage.

An environmental impact report ordered by the city will disclose any significant environmental effects of the project. City planners and developers expect no environmental impacts to be found that weren't already considered; this is why the project was originally given a mitigated negative declaration and was exempt from going through the California Environmental Quality Act process.


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The fact that Walnut Creek now will do an environmental impact report shows that the project should never have been exempted before, said Richard Drury, attorney for the carpenter's union. Because of other nearby apartment projects, the main concerns over Paragon is the added traffic it could mean for Ygnacio Valley Road and the related impacts on air quality, said Drury.

He was happy that an environmental report will be done.

"We are not trying to kill any of these projects," he said. "We are just trying to make sure they mitigate any environmental issues."

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

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