September 29th Planning Commission Study Session
The purpose for the Study Session was to get input during the design phase. No decision to approve or deny the project was made. There is a tentative date of November 17th for a City Council Study Session. Any formal application hearing before the Commission and the City Council would not be until 2016.
City Staff explained that the property has a General Plan Land Use Designation of Urban Residential and that it lies within the City-Center Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Overlay near the Fremont BART station. The density range for that designation is between 50.1 and 70 dwelling units per net acre. The zoning for an Urban TOD parcel limits the total number of parking spaces allowed in a development to 1.75 per unit. It would require the permission of the land owner (currently Carmel Partners) to request a General Plan Amendment to change the Use Designation to Medium Residential.
Carmel Partners first stated that the plan they presented at the two Community Meetings was "not appropriate for the site".
They presented four design alternatives that they called Strategies. All units would be rental. No affordable housing units would be onsite. They then asked for comments from the commissioners and public.
Four Carmel Partners' Strategies
Nearly 200 residents filled the Council Chambers and the Overflow room. About 30 people spoke.
"Size and scope are overwhelmingly inconsistent with the neighborhood!"
As in June, the most common concerns were:
Many speakers preferred an underground garage. Some said the architecture does not fit the neighborhood. Suggestions included having water meters installed in each apartment, having electric car plug-in stations, and providing shuttles to the HUB area and for transporting students to schools.
Comments on TOD parking space limitations: Car ownership won't decrease just because commuting is done on mass transit. BART doesn't get you around Fremont.
Several speakers voiced their opinion that the Urban TOD designation of this property, with no way to change it, was a sign that the General Plan was "broken" and should be "pushed back."
Planning Commissioners asked questions and then voiced "Wish Lists" for the project.
They all asked the developer to provide the maximum number of parking spaces allowed - "One point seven five zero zero" (1.75/unit).
Many wished for units of varying affordability to be spread throughout the project (voluntarily fulfill Affordability requirements onsite.) They encouraged the developer to view statistics that show car ownership is lower when there are affordable units in TOD projects. Welcoming seniors might also reduce car ownership.
Commissioners differed about wanting the minimum density or maximum density. Many wanted rental apartments and they asked staff to report back on security differences between rental and for-sale condominium complexes in Fremont.
Water meters for each unit encourages conservation (do more than just plumb for future sub-meters.) Five stories is too high for this area. Implement Transportation Demand Management (TDM) measures.
Chairman Bonaccorsi encouraged people to email their concerns. You can contact the application's City Staff Project Planner Bill Roth at email@example.com.
Neither the public nor the Planning Commission ever stated a preference for a proposed Strategy.
City's Planning Commission Study Session Flyer
June 10th Community Courtesy Meeting Notes
DENSITY - DENSITY - DENSITY
Carmel Partners presented new slides showing:
The architect claimed that to finance the underground garage, the project would have to have a density of 70 du/ac. He said that if the density was brought down to 50 du/ac, the buildings would still have to be 5 stories because of the land used for parking at ground level.
This was refuted by a resident who said that the numbers showed other apartment complexes could manage that density with lower buildings.
Over 70 community members attended. Many voiced the same concerns listed below in the June 1st notes.