Lafayette City officials imposed a 45-day Urgency Zoning Ordinance blocking any new plans for the battleground property bounded by Deer Hill and Pleasant Hill roads in hope of protecting “the public safety, health, and welfare by providing the City with a mechanism to prevent the approval of certain permits and land use entitlements that may be inconsistent and in conflict with the current rezoning effort.”
The City Council made the move at a meeting this week, citing the failure of Measure L as evidence of the voters’ intent to maintain the low density, single family character of the property and saying that without the moratorium existing Administrative-Public Office zoning could permit high density, multiple-family residential development of the property.
In making its decision, the council cited a significant spike in traffic on both Pleasant Hill and Deer Hill roads in recent years, major routes for local drivers and often choked by cars during commute hours and when classes are let out at nearby Acalanes High School.
In a report to the council, city staff released detailed evidence of what many drivers and neighbors in the area have cited as their primary concern in bringing more housing to the area – that doing so will only exacerbate a growing traffic problem for the city, which is already seeing a significant increase in traffic along Deer Hill Road and Pleasant Hill Road.
The city released information showing traffic on Pleasant Hill Road, north of Stanley Blvd/Deer Hill Road, had reached a traffic count of 37,000 per day as of February 2016, representing a 13 percent daily volume growth since 2010; on Deer Hill Rd, west of Pleasant Hill Road as of December 2011 the traffic count was 9,000 per day; on Stanley Blvd at 3157 Stanley Blvd as of November 2010 the traffic count was 1,700 per day; and on Reliez Valley Rd at Reliez Manor as of September 2017 the traffic count was 3,800 per day.
A higher density multi-family project with significant increased density – and the cars those families are expected to bring – would exacerbate the congestion and delays already experienced and will increase air pollution, city officials said.
Grading and construction operations would also increase levels of pollution in the area if undertaken, the council found.
The moratorium went into effect his week, passing unanimously with council member Mark Mitchell absent.