The San Ramon Planning Commission on Tuesday is set to take an early look at design concepts for two apartment complexes proposed to sit a couple blocks apart on the northwest side of the city.
The first project calls for 227 units in a five-story building at 2701 Hooper Drive — home to The Golden Skate roller rink, which would be removed to accommodate the new apartments.
The second proposes a four-story, mixed-use complex with 200 apartments overall, along with retail spaces and residential amenities on the ground floor, at 2233 San Ramon Valley Blvd., replacing Morgan's Masonry Supply that currently exists at the site.
The separate proposals are early in the design phase, and Tuesday’s meeting is supposed to serve as initial screenings by the commission. City planning staff sees areas of concern with each proposal as currently presented.
“The value of the process is in the feedback provided by the Planning Commission and staff that allows the applicant to make informed decision regarding potential revisions to their project based on the comments received,” city senior planner Lauren Barr wrote in a staff report.
The commissioners are not considering any approvals Tuesday night, but they are scheduled to discuss each concept in depth.
First on the agenda is the Golden Skate site, a 3.37-acre parcel owned by Hassan Sharifi and his Wildflower Fields, LLC.
Developer Bay Area Property Developers, LLC, proposes to build a 227-apartment complex that stands goes from three stories at one end up to five stories at the other, with two garage levels below ground.
The early proposal calls for a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units.
The site is designated mixed-use and zoned residential overlay in the Crow Canyon Specific Plan (CCSP).
It would be eligible for up to 168 units based on its size, under city standards, so the applicant requests a 35% density bonus to increase the output to 227 apartments, Barr said. That move would allow the project to feature 20% affordable units for very-low-income households.
City staff thinks the current proposal is too large for the site, according to Barr.
Other areas of concern include the west side of the structure coming “very close” to an earthquake fault line, the connection to Hooper Drive, wall heights, stormwater compliance, landscaping and traffic, Barr said.
Staff recommends “a less intense project given the site conditions and constraints,” according to Barr, adding:
“Absent a project redesign, staff recommends that applicant revisit the project massing and utilize the materials and architecture to maximize compatibility with the surrounding area, minimize the monolithic nature of the project and consistent with the intent of the CCSP.”
The second project, located just up the road at 2233 San Ramon Valley Blvd., calls for a four-story complex consisting of 200 apartments, with 17,600 square feet of commercial space and about 10,000 square feet of resident amenities on the ground floor of the structure.
Owned by JSA Properties, Inc. and JAS 2233, LLC, the project site consists of two parcels totaling 2.98 acres and has frontage along Omega Road, Deerwood Road and San Ramon Valley Boulevard. It is zoned and designated for mixed-use.
As proposed by developer Fore Property Co., the apartments would consist of a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom units.
The site would be eligible for 149 apartment units based on its size, so the applicant proposes a density bonus of 35% to increase to 200 apartments overall and allow for 15% of the units to be affordable.
The ground-level residential amenities could include a gym, lounge area/cybercafe, business center, bike shop and storage lockers, according to Barr. The project would feature a parking garage with four and five levels.
The complex would not be continuous along San Ramon Valley Boulevard, having to wrap around Star Auto Services, whose parcel at 2401 San Ramon Valley Blvd. is not included in the project.
“The gap in the project frontage and required buffer between residential and commercial uses is by far the most difficult to resolve,” Barr said.
City staff thinks the project would be “far better served “by acquiring and integrating the automotive property,” according to Barr.
“While staff understands that the applicant cannot compel the sale of the adjacent property, perhaps there are opportunities for a joint venture or phased development concept that would provide some certainty regarding the future use and compatibility between the properties,” Barr added.
Other areas of concern include less ground-floor retail spots because of the residential amenities, the building height and massing, architectural treatment, building materials, parking and loading on Omega Road, stormwater compliance and landscaping, Barr said.
“The consistency with the CCSP development standards and additional ground-floor commercial space can likely be addressed through a redesign/refinement of the project,” Barr added.
The commissioners are set to provide their early feedback about both proposals Tuesday night, allowing each applicant to hear those comments and decide whether to revise their projects before submitting formal development applications to the city.
The commission’s regular meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. inside the council chambers at San Ramon City Hall, 7000 Bollinger Canyon Road.
In other business, the commission will meet earlier Tuesday, beginning at 4:30 p.m. in City Hall’s large conference room, to conduct interviews for the Transportation Advisory Committee.