A bitterly contested, 315-unit apartment complex earmarked for a chunk of gravelly land at the nexus of Pleasant Hill Road and Deer Hill Road inched toward fruition Wednesday with a 5-2 vote of approval from the Lafayette Planning Commission.
The Terraces of Lafayette, a 22-acre project described in its initial phases as “train wreck architecture” by city officials, has emerged from the dust cloud of local controversy and heads to the Lafayette City Council for review, possibly more appeals, and – perhaps – final approval if pro-project factions get their way.
Depending on who in the city is asked, final approval of the Terraces will ensure more low-income housing and diversity in an area in desperate need of both – or it will add to already the city’s already critical problems with congestion and other issues associated with growth.
Yes – Commission Chair Kristina Sturm, Commissioner Gary Huisingh, Karen Maggio, Greg Mason, Anna Radonich.
No – Vice Chair Farschad Farzan and Commissioner Stephen LaBonge
Some commissioners casting yes votes said they did so reluctantly, citing worries about traffic and fire safety, explaining they felt bound by the state’s Housing Accountability Act (HAA) which takes away much of the local control previously used by cities when reviewing projects in the past.
Appeals to the City Council are a virtual certainty.
Prior to their decision, commissioners asked that the developer alter the design layout of the project and expand plans for mass transit service to the area.
First brought before the city in March 2011, the Terraces of Lafayette has inspired often bitter controversy from the start, sparking hearings, a lawsuit and a referendum – voters rejecting plans to build 44 single-family homes instead of apartments at the site in 2018.
Life in the fast lane
Surely make you lose your mind
Hasn’t made any sense to me since I first heard it proposed. Still doesn’t make any sense but the deck has been stacked against the city and local government to do anything about it.
I think we can all agree that large apartment buildings will mar the hillside along a state-designated scenic route. I wish a land swap could be arranged to build this project somewhere other than the most prominent hillside in Lafayette.
We don’t “all” agree. Why will a modern building be any less of an eyesore than the long defunct quarry that’s marred that hillside for over a half century?
How will a new building on a defunct quarry site be a catalyst to “crime, litter, and garbage?” Lafayette already has nearly 30,000 people. Why will any of the 315 families that move in to this particular development produce any more “crime, littered, and garbage” than any of the ten thousand or so families that currently live here?
Seems to me you’d have an excellent shortcut to the freeway for those morning commutes — you just have to be able to stand the noise the rest of the time.
Correct. Thousands of families already call Downtown Lafayette home. We tolerate more noise and generally smaller living quarters than those who choose Springhill or Burton Valley because we place more value on convenience than tranquility and value time more than space.
Used to park up there back in high school. I can’t see it being used for much else.
I smell another school parcel tax coming. Is anyone going to be able to afford another school parcel tax???
location location location
They had a chance for 44 low-impact luxury homes, and rejected it bc they lost 8 dropoff parking spaces and / or wanted an organic grass dog park with onsite pet masseuse.
Time to eat their own dog food. Load up on low-i come housing, and double down with density and LIH at Lafayette BART. Hood enough for Concord, good enough for Lafayette.
Lafayette already had hundreds of affordable (<$2,500k/mo) apartments, most of them walkable to BART. What about these apartments is "hood enough" compared to the existing stock?
Not for me but people will probably want to live there.
Enjoy the exhaust fumes and enjoy the gentle hum of vehicles during rush hours from your balcony!
Every city needs to do its part to increase housing. Lafayette has freeway access and BART, not to mention a vibrant town center that has even greater potential. Each community can’t act in isolation. If Lafayette doesn’t want to build housing at this location, or Martinez does not want to build at the old Pine Ghettos Golf Course, these communities willingly increase the housing shortage for the entire region. They exacerbate the homelessness problem, and create additional stress for other families who struggle financially to stay in their homes. The effects of the choices made against housing development impact people and communities up to a fifty miles away. These communities not willing own responsibility for our shared problems ought to be taxed to support development in Concord, Walnut Creek, and other communities that are taking steps to rebuild to accommodate population growth.