A local development team is expressing interest in a city owned property at 949 Moraga Road, suggesting Lafayette could ease its low cost housing obligations by allowing development of the property – a project which, if approved, might also cancel the developer’s obligation to incorporate its affordable housing condition at a residential condominium project planned at the western end of the city.
The idea was put forth in a letter to the city from developer Matt Branagh earlier this week. In it, Branagh suggests transferring affordable housing obligations for a currently unimproved 4+ acre parcel behind the Woodbury at Risa Rd. and Mt. Diablo Blvd. to the Moraga Road property. Such a move, Branagh suggested, would ease the city’s affordable housing obligation while also releasing Branagh and his team from a low cost obligation on its Risa Rd. property – upon which they would like to raise residential condominiums.
“We have been aware of the City’s desire to use 949 Moraga Road for affordable housing and public parking and believe that we can partner with the City to achieve those goals,” Branagh wrote. The subject property was acquired by the city in 2010 and is currently being used as a public parking lot.
Branagh further requested the city grant his team 90 days to come up with “preliminary development concepts for 949 Moraga Road to the Design Review and Planning Commissions and the City Council.”
Planning Director Niroop Srivatsa, in a memo circulated to the council, said that while Branagh’s proposal is “consistent” with the recommendations of a task force convened last year to analyze potential future use of the Old Lafayette Library and the city-owned property at 949 Moraga Rd., city staff will need to assess any “fiscal impacts” of the Branagh proposal, its overall affordability, and its future operators.
She advised the council approve Branagh’s request for 90 days in which to draft a proposal, effective at the council’s Feb. 9 meeting, on the condition there be no commitment from the council to approve the project at the end of that time.