As a hotly debated housing project that would see the demolition of a large portion of retail space in San Ramon moves forward in the city's consideration process, a group of residents that formed in response to the proposal is ramping up efforts to halt current plans and call for changes.
Citizens Against Marketplace Area Development (CAMPAD) submitted an appeal to the San Ramon Planning Commission's Feb. 16 vote to approve the housing project proposed to replace existing shopping center space, which was received by the city clerk's office last Monday.
The appeal challenges commissioners' approval of a demolition and construction permit, major subdivision, architectural review, California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) compliance, tree removal permit, and use permit for the existing Starbucks at the site at 130 Market Place.
CAMPAD organizers argue that commissioners failed to ensure that the proposed project was consistent with the city's General Plan and zoning ordinance, specifically complying with requirements of the latter that the proposed project be "compatible with existing and future land uses in the vicinity", and "would not be detrimental to the ... welfare of the persons residing or working in the subject neighborhood."
Appellants allege that the proposed project fails to comply with requirements under the General Plan for an associated master plan, as well as requirements specified in the General Plan for a horizontal mixed-use development. They also argue that in general "the proposed project, which destroys significant, critical, centrally-located and prime retail and replaces it with 40 market-rate single-family condominiums," is inconsistent with a number of other portions of the General Plan.
The appeal also highlights a controversy over an alleged incident earlier in the project's application process, in which CAMPAD organizers and critics over a meeting between the applicant for the project and city staff, in which the latter allegedly overrode direction from the Planning Commission to give a notification about deficiencies in the proposed project, instead issuing a letter that was "contrary to the direction of the Commission."
Other complaints include allegations of a number of inconsistencies with CEQA, including that the project would allegedly result in "unusual circumstances" prohibited by state guidelines.
"Such circumstances necessitating consideration include the demolition of 55,635 square feet of retail despite the known significant vehicular outflow from the City caused by retail leakage and growing need for future local retail capacity detailed in the The Natelson Dale Group, Inc., Retail Development Opportunity Analysis (2023)," appellants wrote.
The appeal comes ahead of a final vote on the project by the City Council. The appeal is set to be included in discussions ahead of that vote at the next regular council meeting on March 14 at 7 p.m. Councilmembers discussed litigation from CAMPAD on the project during a closed-session meeting on March 1, with no actions being reported out at the end of that meeting.