North Camino Ramon plan panned and praised by City Council Comments on Stories, posted by , a resident of , on Jun 15, 2012 at 7:34 am
The North Camino Ramon Specific Plan got mixed reviews from San Ramon City Council at its meeting Tuesday night, with vocal support and opposition. The plan would rezone approximately 295 acres to bring in new retail stores and encourage transit-oriented development, where people could walk or bike to transportation or directly to Bishop Ranch.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, June 14, 2012, 5:35 PM
Posted by Ms. bunny, a resident of San Ramon, on Jun 15, 2012 at 7:34 am
-Still on the "fence" about this ENTIRE plan...While forward planning necessary? Would sure like to see city center moving faster BEFORE we jump to assumptions about this particular area with some very vital, long time businesses operating. Until we have the city center completed to some degree and see how it functions so close to this northernly area? Only SO MUCH can be "predicted" estimate and flexibility is NECESSARSY. There is also the issue of the housing STILL to built between Alcosta and Camino Ramon...(graded at this time) These two areas need movement, undivided attention FIRST to a large degree, before the No. Specific Plan is 'cast in stone'.
Posted by Bob P, a resident of another community, on Jun 15, 2012 at 5:48 pm
I agree with Miss Bunny's assessment, and I believe I have said before, any impact mitigation for the NCRSP must be done in a coordinated fashion with the City Center implementation. Forward planning is essential for the NCRSP, but prior to any implementation, the City Center must be more solidified and moving along at a much faster clip.
Posted by Harry S., a resident of San Ramon, on Jun 21, 2012 at 12:49 pm
I believe the San Ramon City Council should pause on deciding the fate of the North Camino Ramon Specific Plan (NCRSP). As the dissenting voice on the Planning Commission, I had several concerns that caused me to be very hesitant to advocate for a long term land use plan for San Ramon that has very legitimate issues.
This specific plan calls for a maximum build out of 1500 housing units. The General Plan 2030 allows for only 1124 in this plan area At a minimum we should respect all voter approved numbers. However, new information only heightens my concerns about housing and its impact on parking and traffic.
First, the recently released 2014-2022 ABAG RHNA methodology shows San Ramon needing to account for roughly 1200 affordable housing units, of which 75% must be contained within PDA's (priority development areas) and, that 75% of units in said PDA's need to be affordable housing. For the NCRSP that would mean of the 1500 max build, 1125 would need to be affordable. We should at least wait until ABAG releases its final numbers, scheduled for July, to evaluate the impact on the NCRSP. We may very well find that a reduction in housing units would serve the city well.
Whatever housing number the City Council decides on, 1124 should be the maximum and frankly they should shoot lower. Why?
Assembly Bill 904 Skinner- staff spoke of this at our last Planning Commission meeting. They think this will pass; the builders are behind it because it severely reduces the amount of parking that must be provided in "sustainable communities". It would limit 1bedroom.units to less than ½ a parking space and 3-4 bedroom units would get 1 space. These numbers apply to commercial properties as well. 1000sq. ft. of space gets 1 parking spot.
These numbers represent dramatic cutbacks to the specific plan’s parking requirements and would thus create a lack of spaces resulting in a spillover effect onto surface streets. Page 4-11 of the specific plan references the parking requirements for the specific plan: commercial at 4 parking spaces per 1000sq. ft. This bill, which has a strong chance to become land use law, would have a 75% reduction in allowable commercial parking spaces. Residential parking shows a potential 50% cut in allowable parking according to the NCRSP parking requirements table 4.4.
I already had concerns about the traffic assumptions for this plan which calls for Norris Canyon to have HOV ramps, a transit center, a large scale parking garage, large plate retail and housing units cornering Camino Ramon. The am and pm peak traffic measurements for Norris Canyon and Camino Ramon, which is where most of the housing is projected to be, are severely underrated.
Bottom line: at 1500 max build this plan has severe issues regarding parking and housing and traffic.
Regarding the rudimentary financials of this plan, appendix B pages 2,3 and 4 show an estimated $85 million in projected costs yet only $64 million in projected revenues of which, is the line item for 30 years of debt at just over $22 million dollars . There should be at least some discussion of a) where does San Ramon plan on acquiring the $20 plus million that remains “unprojected” for, and b) is it justified to commit the city to additional bonded indebtedness? If the answer is in part, grants or assistance from the state and county level, I would be wary at best.
Advocates for the North Camino Ramon specific plan tout its potential for economic development for San Ramon and I do not disagree. I have been a longtime proponent of improving San Ramon’s retail opportunities, which in turn increase our city finances. However, we must all keep in mind that economic development is but one facet of a measurement of our quality of life.
Posted by Dave, a resident of San Ramon, on Jun 23, 2012 at 7:41 pm
The ABAG 2014-2022 regional housing numbers assessment(RHNA)calls for 1200 residential units of ALL income levels not just affordable units. In the Bay Area(under alternative 2)Priority Development Areas PDAs)are proposed to absorb about 80 per cent of new housing (not just "affordable housing")and 66 per cent of new jobs on about five per cent of the total regional land area throughout the 9 counties of the Bay Area. Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose are picking up about 14% of the new housing over the next 28 years. About 99 per cent of the region's open space and agricultural land are retained under this plan that runs through 2040. One of the reasons the San Ramon RHNA (current cycle is about 3600 homes)is so low is because we have produced our share of housing in the very low, low, moderate, and above moderate levels during previous cycles. San Ramon will continue to get credit for the homes being built in Dougherty Valley even though that development is permitted through the county. The 2014-2022 housing methodology rewards cities who actually produce their state mandated responsibility to plan for managed growth. There is little or no additional commercial square footage proposed in the North Camino Ramon Specific Plan. The additional housing is one less apartment/condo project planned somewhere else in San Ramon that will now be in walking distance to existing office space. That's one less car on other roads in our city. We killed AB710 last year and we will kill AB904 statewide parking caps this year. No one is going to develop without adequate parking. Without development there will not be a transit center. Without either this state will not make its legal obligations under AB32 by 2020. This is not about additional growth it is about growth management. The amount of residences you voted for in 2002 is consistent. The sites for building these residences is consistent.
Posted by Ms. bunny, a resident of San Ramon, on Jun 25, 2012 at 8:17 am
-And ten years later? Maybe that vote needs to be retaken IN LIGHT of a decade of changes. Why is this NEVER feasible, possible, considered...? Why is there never any flexibility but ironclad commitments in housing development WITH NO "WIGGLE" ROOM WHATSOEVER?
Posted by Bob P, a resident of another community, on Jun 25, 2012 at 12:14 pm
Ms Bunny, you ask a very reasonable questions. The real problem is all those things that Dave and Harry mention with the numbers and letters and anachronisms. Those are state mandated programs, that take local control away from cities. They hold that control hostage with threats of taking away valuable funding for infrastructure and transportation projects. These mandates remove flexibility in allowing local cities to decide based on their own issues, the level and number of new housing units that their communities can support.
If the state had its way, it would control all development, environmental and transportation planning decisions.
Posted by Ms. Bunny, a resident of San Ramon, on Jun 26, 2012 at 9:06 am
Indeed, after making a career of construction and architecture and dealing with just about every east bay city; CC county and the State of California? Ireally understand SOME of the constraints that continue. What I think NEEDS to occur, still, is a continued effort by cities collectively, whether that be Dublin/San Ramon/Danville/Alamo, etc., to establish a stronger presence if not force in development (btw? I realize the "number" of housing units is pretty stationary in regard to the mandate, that's not altogether what I'm referring to...) -And maybe IT IS time not to be held fiscal "hostage" by "rocking the boat" just a tad more,even if it means a postponement of more immediate development.
Posted by Dave, a resident of San Ramon, on Jun 26, 2012 at 10:48 am
Ms. Bunny we do all of our planning collectively with our neighbors. We also do it in writing and in public. San Ramon actually is the only city that did it with a vote (2002). The Dougherty Valley settlement has the names of these cities contained within the agreements.
I agree that it is time "not" to be held hostage. Now, how do we change the direction of the assembly and the senate in Sacramento? They believe in this mandate as a means of economic development and cleaner air along with climate protection. There are 42 assembly members sponsoring AB32 (2006) and only 80 members total in the assembly.
Please remember that there is no new additional housing proposed since that 2002 vote. It is merely an emphasis on where it should be built in light of 2006 to 2008 state legislative changes. Transportation modeling shows a decrease in traffic congestion under smart growth principals. The total city residential units and total non-residential square footage is unchanged with NCRSP. NCRSP is not about immediate development it is about compliance with immediate legislative changes.
Posted by Ms. Bunny, a resident of San Ramon, on Jun 27, 2012 at 7:25 am
Yes Dave, I'm aware of some "collective" planning still going on, but I still believe a stronger presence is needed. Yes, I'm aware the numbers remain pretty much the same since 2002...But I believe OUR time is NOW to make necessary changes when it comes to development and control by both county and state. The "window" is OPEN due to the economy in many respects, though many think closed "tighter" than ever. Perhaps it takes a real "collective" meeting of local assembly people more regularly to "hear" what the cities are really saying in a more consistent pattern of meeting to drive the points home with a worthy plan of "attack" developed, then approach these governing agencies. All I know? Great city that we are? There is far more "push" to be made to protect what remains in regard to change - that flexibility is PARAMOUNT at this stage of history and existence for San Ramon - and that THIS is where further emphasis needs to be placed.
Posted by Bob P, a resident of another community, on Jun 27, 2012 at 3:22 pm
I firmly believe that if the state had its way, all local decisions about housing and transportation would be ripped from the cities and handed to LAFCO, ABAG and the regional transportation bodies. The need to continue to fight for local city autonomy is now greater than ever, and our local lobbying groups need to work harder and more aggressively.
Jerry Brown, in all his incarnations was never and is now not shy about suing anyone and everyone to preserve the states control. The cities need to do the same.