By LORI A. CARTER
THE PRSS DEMOCRAT
Developers of a large apartment complex proposed for east Petaluma will seek City Council approval Monday of a redesigned plan that attempts to satisfy concerns of nearby residents and some council members.
JDA West of San Francisco wants to build Developers of a large apartment complex proposed for east Petaluma will seek City Council approval tonight of a redesigned plan that attempts to satisfy concerns of nearby residents and some council members.
In an October hearing, three of the seven council members supported the project, saying it fills a dire need for rental units in Petaluma, which has an apartment vacancy of less than 2 percent.
But four other council members — Mayor David Glass and council members Mike Healy, Chris Albertson and Teresa Barrett — expressed concerns with the project’s density and design.
Ultimately, the majority advised developers they’d need to resolve problems with traffic, privacy and overall design before it could win approval.
Developers submitted a modified design last month.
The city’s housing staff has expressed support for the project because of the need for rental housing. It is billed as a luxury development at which 1,000-square-foot units would rent for $2,000 a month.
Opponents of the plan, mostly home-owners who have enjoyed a quiet, half-occupied medical office complex near their single-family homes, say it will bring unwanted traffic, noise and a lack of neighborhood pride with apartment dwellers.
With the revised application, JDA West submitted a more specific traffic report that says apartments would create fewer daily traffic trips than the existing medical offices, if they were at least three-quarters full. The complex has been about half-empty for the past few years.
Developers also lowered the building heights by as much as 10 feet, which the staff report said “significantly reduced the overall massing of the buildings compared to the previous submittal.”
The new plan also added more mature landscaping, additional landscaping for privacy screening and aesthetics, created pedestrian access points to Washington Creek Trail and added “luxury” amenities in the complex common areas.
Developers did not reduce the number of units, but the staff report said the revised plan addresses “most of the council’s concerns through design modification” and the traffic data.
Depending on how the council receives the changes, it could formally vote on approvals next month, seek further changes or indicate to developers the plan will be rejected.
The proposal is less intensive than what current zoning allows on the nearly 6-acre parcel. It is zoned mixed-use, which would allow for a retail shopping center and as many as 176 residential units.
The topic is the last item to be discussed at the city council meeting, which begins at 6:45 p.m at City Hall.