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Latest Shape Our Fremont Articles in Tri-City Voice

  • 04/03/18: Postwar Buildings May Gain New Status
  • 03/20/18: Fremont Housing is Still Not Affordable
  • 03/06/18: Residents Want to Know
  • For past articles, see Shape Our Fremont Articles in Tri-City Voice

    Ohlone Frontage Land Ground Lease

    On February 14, 2018, SteelWave LLC presented a status report to the Ohlone College Board on their proposal to develop the Ohlone College frontage property on Mission Blvd.

    Their current plan for "The Village at Mission Walk" calls for 258 residential units and about 13,000 sf of commercial retail rather than the 275 units and about 18,000 sf originally proposed.

    In the coming months they plan to meet with City leaders individually, have City stakeholder meetings and community outreach.

    The first step for City of Fremont planning is a General Plan Land Use Amendment (GPA) Screening Request due by June 15th for a hearing by the Planning Commission in August and the City Council in September.

    The frontage parcels are within the Mission San Jose Historic Overlay District's Core Area. At the Feb. 20th City Council hearing on the Lincoln GPA Screening Request, it was proposed that the MSJ Town Center be reviewed comprehensibly so as to not grant piecemeal GPAs in that area. It was suggested that no Screening Requests be granted until the study was complete.

    You can view the SteelWave presentation at the 1 hour mark of the meeting video and read the presentation.

    On June 14, 2017, the Ohlone College Board formally accepted SteelWave's bid. Now SteelWave will have to get the City's go-ahead to change the Land Use Designation of the frontage property from Public Facility to Mixed-Use commercial/residential. If the proposal passes the City's General Plan Land Use Amendment Screening, the plans will then have to be reviewed by the Planning Department, Historical Architectural Review Board, Planning Commission, and finally, the City Council.

    See the June 14th Agreement

    On April 12, 2017, the Ohlone College Board of Trustees authorized the college to enter into negotiations with SteelWave LLC for a 99-year ground lease to build 275 residential rental units and 17,910 sq. ft. of retail/commercial/office space on the frontage property of the Fremont college campus along Mission Blvd.

    See the April 12th agenda and bid documents (Item 26)

    On October 12, 2016, the Ohlone College Board of Trustees approved a Ground Lease Offering and a Request for Bids for a Mixed-use development of its surplus frontage property on Mission Blvd. for the same parcels as in the 2014 Ground Lease proposal. They are requesting bids for an "urban scale mixed-use project". Several board members noted that the new terms allowed for flexibility in design of any project bid and there is an option for the board to reject all bids.

    Citywide Community Survey

    The Report On Mayor's Referral Regarding Development Activity, presented at the City Council hearing on Jan. 5, 2016, proposed taking a Citywide Community Survey.

    The City hired Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3) to conduct a survey similar to the surveys taken in 2012 and 2013. The past surveys contacted 602 people. You can read the past surveys and results at the City's website:

    The results of the February 2016 survey were presented at the April 5th City Council meeting.
    April 5th Agenda with Results

    Tandem Parking Spaces Restricted Restriction Reversed

    At the Mar. 1, 2016 Second Reading of a set of ordinances that included the restriction on tandem parking spaces, that section was separated and reheard.

    The Council then approved the original proposal by the Planning Department to limit tandem parking spaces to 30% of required parking in projects in all residential districts.

    This new ordinance will have to have a Second Reading approved before it is adopted.

    Second Reading of Reversal approved March 15th

    On Feb. 16, 2016, the City Council approved a set of ordinances that included restricting the use of tandem parking spaces. No tandem parking spaces will be allowed in R-1 or R-2 residential districts. A maximum of 20% of the required parking spaces may be tandem in residential projects in R-3 or TOD districts.

    The original proposal by the Planning Department was to limit tandem parking spaces to 30% of required parking in projects in all residential districts. The Planning Commission recommended no tandem parking spaces in R-1 districts. After public comments and Council discussions, the City Council approved the set of ordinances with the change in the restrictions to tandem parking noted above.

    Note: This is another case where public comment directly effected the outcome.

    Report On Mayor's Referral Regarding Development Activity

    To be presented at the City Council hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016
    Staff Report in City Council Agenda
    Contact Community Development Director Jeff Schwob at

    Danville Rejects Urban Design

    Nov. 4, 2015 - Danville: 150-unit proposed apartment complex called too urban

    "I do not want to see this building in Danville under any circumstances," Councilman Newell Arnerich told the developers of the 373 Diablo Road Apartments complex, which would be built on 3.75 acres on the south side of Diablo Road just west of Interstate 680, behind two bank buildings. "It's an urban solution, and this is not an urban environment."

    Councilman Robert Storer told representatives of Santa Clara-based developer ROEM Development Corp., "With all due respect, I don't think you're listening to what the town wants."

    Mayor Requests Staff to Prepare Report on Development Activity Concerns

    At the Sept. 15th City Council meeting, Mayor Harrison presented a referral on Development Activity Concerns.

    PDF   MAYOR HARRISON REFERRAL: Development Activity Concerns

    "...I am requesting that staff bring back a report that evaluates strategies for managing residential development activity into the future that continues to be consistent with General Plan goals and policies by directing and managing future development. The goal of the report will be to identify strategies that ensure new residential development in our community is sustainable, promotes healthy living environments and provides needed infrastructure and other public facilities in a timely manner while also addressing phasing and preserving land-use capacity for future needs."

    More News from Other Cities

    The following three articles concerning developments in other cities were recently published in The Argus.

    Aug. 28th - "Developer fights developer" - Orinda
    Complicated but interesting.

    Aug. 29th - "Council in talks with housing developer" - Antioch
    City Ventures (developers of Fremont's Peralta Crossing)

    Aug. 30th - "Development on hold as city is hit with suit" - Moraga
    City Ventures (developers of Fremont's Peralta Crossing)

    Off-price Units Proposed for MidPen's Stevenson Place Family Apartments

    According to an article in the Bay Area News Group newspapers, MidPen will offer less-than-market-rate prices for apartments in their proposed "Stevenson Place Family Apartments" development.

    "MidPen has proposed to build the project of 80 housing units -- 15 extremely-low income, 20 very-low income, 44 low-income, and one manager's unit -- on a 2.3-acre site it purchased this year from the city at Stevenson Boulevard and Stevenson Place. The mix of units calls for 30 one-bedroom units, 26 two-bedroom and 24 three-bedroom units."

    The City changed the land use designation of the parcel from Open Space to Medium Density Residential to facilitate selling the parcel to MidPen. See STEVENSON BOULEVARD CITY-OWNED PARCEL PLN2014-000198

    MidPen hopes to go before the Planning Commission in April 2016 and then the City Council in June.

    This is adjacent to Robson's Stevenson Place (PLN2015-00283) development.

    Read the entire 8/13/2015 article on the San Jose Mercury site.

    HARB Meeting - "Mid-Century Historic Context Statement"

    At the Aug. 6, 2015 Historical Architectural Review Board (HARB) meeting, they reviewed a consulting firm's initial study of the recommended criteria for evaluating architecture and developments built in the 1945-1970 period. The City's General Plan identifies "the need to develop a 'Mid-Century Historic Context Statement' as the basis for identifying and evaluating post-World War II structures, objects, sites, and districts for historical significance." It will cover houses, commercial buildings, religious facilities, schools, and others.

    A final report with general recommendations is expected in October-November of 2015. The Planning Department and the Historical Architectural Review Board will be responsible for evaluating and implementing the criteria.

    For more information, see the Historical Architectural Review Board Staff Report.

    Pleasanton Puts a Hold on Large Development Plan Until Drought Ends

    According to an article in the San Jose Mercury, the Pleasanton City Council "has stopped planning for housing development on the last big empty parcel in town at least until the drought ends." They "decided to suspend planning for at least two years on an environmental report on housing options for the so-called East Side Specific Plan."

    Read the entire 6/17/2015 article on the San Jose Mercury site.

    Dublin Rejects Large Downtown Development

    According to an article in the Bay Area News Group newspapers, the Dublin City Council rejected Lennar Commercial's proposal to build a mixed-use commercial/residential development near the Dublin BART station. The council cited concerns over the impact on schools and the lack of a "wow" factor in the project design.

    Read the entire 4/23/2015 article on the Contra Costa Times site.

    Ohlone Land to be Developed as Apartments

    On January 14, 2015, Carmel Partners pulled out of the Ohlone College project.

    On April 16, 2014, Ohlone College accepted Carmel Partners' bid to lease property
    for 300 apartments - It will next go to the City as a development application

    Warm Springs Development News

    6/2/2014 City of Fremont Press Release:
    Developer Selected for 112-acre Union Pacific Parcel Adjacent to BART

    Silicon Valley Business Journal Article:
    Fremont BART station construction spurs Lennar's 100 acre land buy near Tesla Motors factory

    Major Amendment to Hirsch Development

    Planning Commission recommended approval on August 28th.

    "To consider a Planned District Major Amendment to P-2012-197 to allow Lot 33 to reduce the front yard setback to seven feet and the side yard setbacks to a minimum of five feet, and to consider a categorical exemption from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) per CEQA Guidelines Section 15305, Minor Alterations in Land Use Limitations."

    Lot 33 is 14,548 sq. ft.! Its smallest dimensions are 96 ft. by 116 ft.

    See HIRSCH PROPERTY (PLN2012-00197)

    City Council Retains Historical Architectural Review Board

    At the Fremont City Council meeting on February 19, 2014, the council approved a motion to retain the Historical Architectural Review Board (HARB) rather than merge that function into the Planning Commission. The vote was 3 Ayes (Bacon, Chan, and Natarajan) and 2 Nays (Harrison and Salwan).

    The planning department had originally proposed to eliminate HARB because there had not been much activity lately and the merger would reduce costs and streamline the development process.

    Several current and former members of HARB spoke in favor of keeping the board and pointed out that activity is going to increase significantly in the future. Under current law, any building in Fremont that is 50 years old or older must be reviewed for its historical significance before it is demolished or significantly modified. Because many homes, stores, and other structures were built in the 1950s and 60s, that will include a very large number of buildings.

    The council's decision to keep HARB means that a separate group will be able to review the historical value of keeping a building versus the monetary value of letting a developer tear it down. While many buildings may be of little historical architectural value, others may be worthy of preservation and integration into the changing community. In some cases, entire districts may be preserved, such as downtown Niles and other areas.

    (As a side note, this was not the first time HARB has been threatened. In 1983 the city council passed an ordinance abolishing HARB, but 8,000 people signed a petition to keep it. A special election was called, and the voters agreed to let HARB continue its valuable work.)

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