What will Danville look like over the next 20 years and how will the town tackle state requirements for affordable housing?
The answer to that question will be determined in part by the Danville Town Council and the Planning Commission's work to update the Town’s 2010 General Plan.
The Town Council and Planning Commission held a joint public meeting Tuesday to study possible housing-development sites as part of completing the General Plan.
Officials say the task is challenging because of the scarcity of sites in Danville that meet state-housing standards.
It is a community “flashpoint,” says the Town’s Chief Planner, Kevin Gailey, because it is an issue that particularly “brings home” the General Plan for residents.
At the meeting, the goal was to revisit the list of possible development sites created with the adoption of the 2007-2014 Housing Element, in 2009, he said. The intent is to update the list to reflect which sites will be evaluated in the upcoming Environmental Impact Review study phase.
A list “check-in” was appropriate, he said, because a year had passed since the original list was adopted by the council and some details needed to be revised.
The town recently received approval of the Housing Element by the State of California Department of Housing and Community Development, following the completion of its 12-month review.
“The focus had been largely on the list of sites that we would review to address our shortage of multi-family sites,” said Gailey.
As the Housing Element report shows, Danville is working to address an allocation shortfall of 221 units. The town has to satisfy the available housing requirements for “low” income (34 units), and “extremely low and very low” income (187 units).
An annual income of $50,000 for a family of four is considered “very low.”
Gailey said the approval process for the Housing Element was held up as the Department of Housing and Community Development assessed each site for stand-alone lot size and density accommodation requirements.
He said the state also challenged potential sites based on existing use. The state is concerned that a landowner would not want to incur a loss in income during redevelopment.
“The list was some 40 acres that we held out in our Housing Element as sites we would evaluate to find the requisite 10 acres we need to find,” Gailey said.
The town is working with a larger than needed list to build flexibility into the eventual site “merit-based review” and evaluation phase of the process. The goal is to meet state housing laws and satisfy mandated Regional Housing Needs Allocation requirements.
If the town does not meet the state’s housing requirements, there can be very real and costly repercussions. They include a possible state challenge to the adequacy of the town’s General Plan. It also could impact the town's revenue return from a half-cent sales tax linked to the conditions of Contra Costa County’s Measure J.
Gailey cited the example of Pleasanton, sued by then-California Attorney General Jerry Brown, in June 2009, over a 13-year housing cap provision in its General Plan. The provision limited growth in Pleasanton, contrary to state housing laws.
For a time, Pleasanton’s “development activity was compromised,” said Gailey, and it could not issue building permits until the city addressed the issue to the state’s satisfaction.
Danville is a proactive partner with the state and is "stepping up to the line" to satisfy the town's obligations, said Gailey.
Nineteen possible sites were discussed with the public at the meeting Tuesday. The list was reduced to 15 possible sites, for a total of close to 30 acres.
The Housing Element’s plan also will work on revising and “recalibrating” zoning requirements to better meet the required density obligations.
The Environmental Impact Review process is expected to take six to seven months, when public hearings on the draft update will begin.
The sites that will continue into the environmental impact review phase are:
- GMMR LLC and Cordell property abutting West El Pintado Road and Elsie Drive
- Sites adjacent to the Chevron station and San Ramon Valley High School that lie between Hartz Avenue and Railroad Avenue.
- Sites adjacent to the Chevron Station that abut West Linda Mesa Avenue, between Hartz Avenue and Railroad Avenue.
- Sites that lie between Rose Street and Hartz Avenue.
- Sites at San Ramon Valley Boulevard, between Sonora Avenue and Estates Drive.
- Curtis Family Trust and Darby Office near El Pintado Road and El Cerro Boulevard (complex seen as you exit I-680 north at El Cerro Boulevard).
- Barbara Parks property on Ilo Lane, near West El Pintado Road.
- Danville Park RE LLC property near West El Pintado Road and Diablo Road.
- Janlois Family Partners LP property on Diablo Road near the Old Oak Tree.
- Diablo Office Partners and Stanley property near Diablo Road and I-680.
- Danville Bowl and Boone Court land adjacent to I-680.
- Schuler/Buckley and San Ramon Valley Boulevard Office properties near Podva Road and Ocho Rios Drive.
- Borel/Corrie Development Corp. land on Camino Ramon, near Fostoria Way and I-680.
- Montair Associates and Riele properties near Diablo Road and Front Street.
- Crow Canyon Executive Park, Ltd. properties on El Capitan Drive north of Crow Canyon Road.
For more site-specific information on the proposed development opportunity sites, download the meeting reference guide. Please note: the document is a working document, and four of the properties were removed from the list as a result of the study session.
For more information about the town’s Housing Element, visit Danville’s website.