Once the Walnut Creek BART Transit Village is built, at least one additional police officer will be necessary to serve the estimated 1,346 new city residents there, according to a draft environmental report for the project.
In the mammoth draft report for the transit village, a section spells out the demand the project will put on police services. BART and Walnut Creek Police have reached an understanding to share public safety responsibilities there. Walnut Creek Police would have jurisdiction over the residential and commercial areas, with BART police over all the BART facilities such as fare gates, the parking garages and office space.
The estimated $100 million project aims to bring 596 apartments, 22,000 square feet of retail and commercial space, 16,700 square feet of "commercial-residential flex space" (that could end up as either), a new bus station, 4,000 square feet of office space and a new five-level, 948-space parking garage to the intersection of Ygnacio Valley Road and California Boulevard. This project would be built in phases starting as early as 2013 and finishing in 2018.
Once completed, Walnut Creek police would be responsible to patrol the area as part of the downtown sector, according to the report. One new officer and some equipment will be needed to support the increased patrol, according to the report. The calculation of one new officer comes from the department's staffing ratio of .7 officers per 1,000 service
"Tax revenues derived form the project would partially offset this fiscal impact, but the WCPD estimates a net annual citywide shortfall of approximately $142,000," according to the draft report. "The city will need to address this shortfall."
How the city would pay for this increased cost is unknown. But the financial impacts of an estimated 1,400 apartment units being built throughout the city over the next several years is why city officials are looking into a special tax on such new developments. Known as a community facilities district, if passed by the City Council it would require developers to pay per unit -- likely around $400 per year -- for the impacts their multifamily housing would have on the city. City leaders have argued that chief among those impacts is the cost of public safety. That plan is still making its way through city hall.
In an interview last month on the BART Transit Village draft report, Mayor Bob Simmons said that with a project of this size and this many impacts, there will likely be a development agreement between the developers and the city. The developer for this project is Walnut Creek Transit Lifestyle Associates, a joint venture between a company called Transit Village Associates and apartment giant BRE Properties. A development agreement would be where city leaders can spell out what community benefits must be part of the project. In other development agreements, money has been offered help pay for impacts.
Simmons said city leaders want the public to weigh in on the project.
"You want to hear from everybody ... their thoughts about having this type of density near BART," he said.
The draft environmental report for the Walnut Creek BART transit village is open for comments until 4 p.m. Aug. 31. To see the draft environmental report go to the downtown library, 1644 N. Broadway; City Hall, 1666 N. Main Street; or at http://www.walnut-creek.org/citygov/depts/cd/planning/bart_tod.asp
Contact Elisabeth Nardi at 925-952-2617. Follow her at Twitter.com/enardi10.