Danville council debates Diablo Road apartments, delays decision on appeal

Council asks for more details from developer on site planning, landscaping

The Danville Town Council started its discussion on an appeal from residents challenging the Planning Commission's approval of a 150-apartment complex on Diablo Road but postponed making a final decision Tuesday on the project after asking the developer for more information on the proposal.

Toward the end of a meeting that wrapped up just before midnight, the council voted to continue the public hearing to an unspecified future date to allow the applicant time to gather and present more details, particularly in the areas of site planning and landscaping, according to Danville city attorney Rob Ewing.

"I think it's safe to say that the council felt they did not have sufficient information from the applicant to make a decision on the project," Ewing said by email Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile, Danville Citizens for Responsible Growth -- the advocacy group that filed the appeal -- came out of Tuesday night's meeting "pleased" with the council's consideration and request for more information, according to representative Kirsten Muzinich.

"We are very grateful for the time the Town Council took in reviewing this project. There are many facets to this development, and they were diligent in their questions and concerns about how this would affect the safety, traffic and creek environment of this town to name a few," she said by email Wednesday morning.

"DCRG is very pleased that the town chose to continue without a date set for this development, and we will continue to be vigorously involved and track this project as new information comes in," added Muzinich, one of five residents also listed as the appellants.

The proposal from property owner Danville Office Partners, LLC, which drew dozens of residents in opposition to Planning Commission meetings earlier this year, led to another crowded turnout to the Town Meeting Hall on Tuesday night.

The project plans – approved by the commission in February -- call for 150 apartments in three separate buildings at three stories tall on a 3.68-acre site with a multifamily residential land-use designation at 373-383 Diablo Road, adjacent to the Interstate 680 southbound on-ramp just west of the freeway.

The commissioners offered lackluster support for the 150-unit apartment complex before voting 5-0 on Feb. 28 to approve the proposal, concluding they were legally obligated, based on state and town development rules, to endorse it.

That decision would have represented the town's final approval, if Danville Citizens for Responsible Growth and the five residents hadn't appealed, urging the council to turn down the project. In addition to Muzinich, the other appellants were Danville residents Julie Glaser, Michelle Harris, Ram Namburi and Liz Harvey.

They argue the commission improperly applied a California Environmental Quality Act exemption for the project, as well as contend the town did not adequately analyze potential impacts the project would have on the San Ramon Creek and surrounding habitat, traffic, pedestrian and bicycle safety, and air quality.

"This appeal was led by a grass roots movement of working moms and dads who truly love this town and the small-town atmosphere it generously provides," Muzinich said Wednesday. "We are also very grateful to the residents who donated funds, came to the meeting last night in opposition and who support us. We are in this together."

The project site, which currently contains two-story office buildings from the 1970s, was one of two properties in the town to secure a new multifamily land-use designation through the 2030 General Plan approval in recognition of the regional housing needs allocation shortfall identified in the town's 2007-14 Housing Element, according to town staff.


29 people like this
Posted by Joe B
a resident of Danville
on Apr 19, 2017 at 5:25 pm

Good job DCRG keep fighting!

5 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Danville
on Apr 20, 2017 at 7:55 am

If it politically correct to bring in folks then it shall be done and all the protestations will fall on deaf ears. I am not clear if this project has a percentage of low income housing to meet the federally mandated number each community must provide. It has already been decided folks!

4 people like this
Posted by Huh?
a resident of Danville
on Apr 20, 2017 at 9:11 am

@Bill - federally mandated? The federal government does not require Danville to include low income housing in the project.

Per the staff report: back when the general plan update was done, the town had to designate a certain number of acres to be available for low income development per state obligations. The owner is not required to develop it and include low income units; that decision is left to the market, and the owner elected to include a few low income units.

I'd also say it is pretty far from certain that this will be approved. Take a look at some of the video clips of the town council posted on Facebook by group that opposes the development. The council didn't mix words with the owner.

It really is beneficial for everyone to read the reports and do a little homework before chiming in.

14 people like this
Posted by Member
a resident of Danville
on Apr 21, 2017 at 9:33 pm

Danville Citizens for Responsible Growth (DCRG) have done a great job of demonstrating that democracy in Danville isn't dead. While the Diablo Road complex may, ultimately, receive approval, be it partial or full, residents need to respond similarly to any future proposal that threaten the quality of life for town residents in any location.

6 people like this
Posted by LCDR Carl & Barb Whisman
a resident of Danville
on Jun 14, 2017 at 5:18 pm

This is Greedy Gov. & Developers ignoreing the hard earned desired current quiet & lawful community culture as well as public saftey..Pray no quake or terroist as we are already experiancing 10x crime increase from Dublin ( filled W/ Probation, parole, section 8 we are paying for ) WAKE UP & STOP EXPLOITING THE TAX PAYERS!
Infrastructures are allready taxed to max..& should be provided by any future developers PRIOR TO APPROVAL OF LIMITED HIGH & # Homes or no development

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