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Housing developments in unincorporated Pleasant Hill, Walnut Creek approved by county supervisors

PIX Now Afternoon Edition 2-27-24
PIX Now Afternoon Edition 2-27-24 09:30

Calibr Ventures had a productive Tuesday with the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, which decided in favor of two separate project appeals involving the housing developer.  

The first was the proposed 10-home development at 1024 and 1026 Grayson Road in unincorporated Pleasant Hill, which the county planning commission denied, but was unanimously overridden by the supervisors.

The second was a 10-home subdivision at 3180 Walnut Blvd. in unincorporated Walnut Creek, which the county planning commission approved. The appeal was filed by William Goodwin, a neighbor of the proposed development. The board denied the appeal.

Unincorporated Pleasant Hill Project

The Grayson Road project would cover 3.05 acres, an area through which Grayson Creek runs and already has two unoccupied residences. The lots would range from 7,347 to 22,460 square feet and single-family homes would range from 2,900 to 3,500 square feet, with four to five bedrooms.

One of the homes would be reserved for a "moderate income" family.

The developer would remove 97 trees at the site and mitigate their removal with 162 new trees. County staff recommended granting the developer's appeal after acknowledging there were initial concerns about creek impact that were later addressed by the developer.

After reviewing the plan, staff also determined there wasn't a need for an environmental impact report because there would be no significant impacts, as determined by biologists.

More than a dozen people -- mostly neighbors -- spoke against the project, citing the effects on the creek, traffic, what they said was a lack of drainage at the site, fire danger, having one entrance and exit, and that the houses wouldn't be affordable for first-time home buyers.

The development would be in Supervisor Ken Carlson's district. Carlson, who grew up in Pleasant Hill and was the city's mayor, said the need for housing outweighs neighbor concerns, which he acknowledged.

Carlson said years of state lawmakers ignoring future housing needs helped bring on the current housing crisis and this project meets the state's requirements.

"For many, they know my deep roots to Pleasant Hill, born and bred, grew up there, played in those creeks, hiked those hills, so I'm very protective of Pleasant Hill," Carlson said. "The consequences of decades of inaction have led to what's come out of Sacramento, whether that's the Housing Accountability Act, whether that's the density bonus law we're facing."

"We've got to create and build housing (and) have to be able to work with our developers to accomplish these goals," Carlson said. "But we have to balance it with the protection of our community. Under the Housing Accountability Act, there has to be that preponderance of observable, objective, quantifiable evidence to give us the grounds to deny a project."

Carlson told the developer, "We are protective of our environment. And we will hold you to the conditions of approval."

Unincorporated Walnut Creek Project

The Walnut Boulevard project is another 10-home project from Calibr that was approved in January by the county planning commission, a decision affirmed unanimously by the board Tuesday.

Located at 3180 Walnut Blvd. in the unincorporated Walnut Creek area, the project would cover 2.88 acres. The developer would remove 43 trees from the site.

The appellant was Goodwin, a neighbor who said the property doesn't drain into existing storm drains. He also said the two-story homes would be out of character for the neighborhood.

He also said the neighborhood already has flooding problems and an existing retention basin that eventually connects to the creek isn't sufficient to hold runoff from the property.

County staff said the basin is big enough. Supervisors didn't discuss the appeal extensively, with Carlson saying many of the same conditions for the Grayson project also applied to the Walnut Boulevard project before the board unanimously denied the appeal.

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