Home NEWS Government County Supes Greenlight Walnut Creek’s Seven Hills Ranch Project

County Supes Greenlight Walnut Creek’s Seven Hills Ranch Project

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The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved construction of the Spieker Senior Development residential care facility in unincorporated Walnut Creek Tuesday, advancing the project despite significant community opposition.

Spieker plans to build 354 housing units within 30 single-story buildings, an 85,000-square-foot medical center, a multi-story clubhouse, a recreation building, a maintenance building, and a parking garage on the 30-acre site.

Currently rolling grassland on unincorporated open space near Heather Farm Park, the developer’s plans call for the removal of some 353 trees, though the developer has said it would be re-planting that number and more. Despite the vocal opposition of neighbors and local citizen’s groups, the supervisors pointed out that the property is zoned for housing and would be developed either way, with a senior housing facility meeting the city’s pressing need for more senior housing.

“Every single-family home that a senior moves out of to move into this project frees up that home for a family,” District 1 supervisor John Gioia told the audience, several of whom identifying themselves as students at Seven Hills School – which other members of the gallery said would be unduly impacted by the four years of construction Spieker Senior Development is expected to take until completion.

Opponents also expressed fears the project would uproot wildlife common to the area.

“This is a huge commercial enterprise with over 225 employees plunked down in the middle of a residential area,” said Rosalie Howarth, an area resident and a leader of Save Seven Hills Ranch, a group which gathered about 4,000 signatures in petitions against the project.

“The developer pretends it’s housing when it suits them but then they’re very quick to point out that they are not bound by the kinds of restrictions and amenities required of true housing developments because they are not housing,” Howarth said. “You can’t have it both ways.”

Supporters countered that a senior facility would be a good use of the property, with the developer pledging to establish a financial assistance program providing subsidies for lower income households.

Spieker representatives sald they intend to give $3 million to county parks, trails or open space in the Walnut Creek area in the next 10 years. And although security concerns make direct public access to the site ill advised, the company said it would dedicate 2.4 acres along the site’s west boundary for future public use.

10 COMMENTS

  1. “Every single-family home that a senior moves out of to move into this project frees up that home for a family,” District 1 supervisor John Gioia told the audience”.

    Stop bogarting those nice spaces, you old geezers! Now that’s progress on the housing front…

  2. You will be an “old geezer” someday yourself. Housing costs will continue upward. People need to be near resources and family.

    • We’ve already reached Geezerdom, James, and would happily join a gated, secure senior facility but they won’t have us… something about that neighborhood Margarita party we threw back in the day. Funny how those stories follow you around.

  3. It never ceases to amaze how cheaply the politicians are bought with the conciliatory announcement the developer will give them 3 million over ten years. That will not anywhere compensate for the increase in congestion. A local newspaper says that same developer in another development charges up to 2 million for a penthouse with monthly (yes, it says monthly and I assume it’s not a typo) fees ranging from 4 to 6 thousand dollars. So, out of the hundreds of units, the city managed to snag the revenue from one unit to compensate for this mess and they celebrate.

  4. …and where is the electricity and water going to come from? Where are the charging stations? Oh, that’s right, solar and wind are the only acceptable answers. Funny that the country/state/city can not even provide the basics on a reliable basis. You are being governed by a bunch of geniuses!

  5. Well, the earth’s surface is 70% water, so the question is more “how” and “at what price” than “where”.
    Same answer for electricity. We have been surrounded with fossil fuel, solar, wind, geothermal, and tidal energy since we stepped out of the cave. The question for Alley Oop has always been a political one. It’s not a matter of engineering. We’ve got that part.

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