The San Ramon City Council is set to discuss recommendations for mixed-use land designations and the North Camino Ramon Specific Plan on Tuesday, as the latest step in the process of updating the city's General Plan.
The study session comes following several meetings of the city's General Plan Ad Hoc Committee earlier in the year, which consists of two members each from the City Council and Planning Commission. The Planning Commission then held a meeting to review the earlier discussions on Aug.16.
"Due to the compressed timeline for Housing Element adoption, Staff is requesting feedback from the City Council on the land use direction in the core so that all guiding documents can be
updated to be in alignment prior to the state-mandated Housing Element deadline of Jan. 31, 2023," senior planner Cindy Yee said in a staff report.
"If the city is unsuccessful in adopting the rezoning of parcels in advance of the adoption of the Housing Element, housing opportunity sites have the potential for residential projects to be approved ministerially, including 100% residential projects on mixed-use properties," she continued.
Recently enacted state housing law Senate Bill 330 means that if either a specific plan or a general plan authorize residential, then housing is allowed – whereas previously housing was only allowed if both relevant plans authorized it. The law also limits the discretion of local officials in approving new housing projects.
"Under SB 330, housing is allowed if either the GP or NCRSP allows residential uses— something the city never intended when these two documents were approved," Yee said. "A proposed housing development project is not considered inconsistent … if the housing development project is consistent with the objective general plan standards and criteria, but the zoning for the project site is inconsistent with the general plan."
In light of this conflict, the city's General Plan 2040 update is the opportunity to align the land-use vision in the core, according to Yee.
A further unexpected complication with the NCSRP as it stands is that 10 years after its inception in 2010, the 295-acre mixed-use district envisioned by city officials at the time appears less and less relevant to the current needs of residents.
"Despite the city's efforts to implement the NCRSP vision over the last decade, as detailed in the retail analysis, the landscape for mid- and large-floor plate retail and office space has changed with the need to revisit the viability of the Plan," Yee said.
The San Ramon City Council is set to meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday (Sept. 13). The agenda is available here.
In other business
Councilmembers will vote on entering into an agreement with the Contra Costa Transportation Authority to advance the usage of Measure J funds for maintenance and improvements to the city's streets and trails.
The council will appoint members to the Housing Advisory Committee.