January 5, 2004
2621 Covey Way
Livermore, CA 94550
Re: Development of the Buranis Property in Livermore on Arroyo Road
Mission Valley Properties and the O’Brien Group have been working with the Quail Run Homeowners Association, Gamay Commons and the Cabernet and Chardonnay area owners on the above referenced property. We would like to take the opportunity to thank you again for your good-faith participation and assistance over the last several months in helping our group become aware of concerns and issues with respect to the proposed new housing community on the Buranis property. It is our express desire to address these concerns and seek methods of resolving issues to the joint satisfaction of the City, the neighborhoods, and ourselves over the ensuing months as the proposed new housing community is reviewed by the City of Livermore.
I would like to add a note of caution, that in some respects we may collectively be considered presumptuous, in that the rezoning and general plan change on the Buranis’ property is a small part of a city-wide process of the General Plan Update. That process will take several more months and there are still many City-wide land use issues that are open for further discussion, and decisions by the City that may impact the Buranis property and its ultimate development. Three of these issues are the proposed Transfer Development Credit (TDC), affordable housing requirements and the City’s goal to have a mix of house and lot sizes on the Buranis property. Notwithstanding, we believe that our collective efforts and deliberations with the City and can increase the probability that what is ultimately approved will be positive and in keeping with all of our goals.
To this end, we want to summarize what we understand to be the primary concerns at this time and clearly state our opinion or position on those matters. These are placed in the order of priority, as I understand it to be from numerous discussions with the neighborhood associations and individual owners.
1. Density Buffer Area of RS-2 – Under the Planned Development Standards, Site Development Regulations Section D(1)the Residential Zoning District establishes a minimum area of two lot depths consistent with the RS-2 development standards of the southern property line along Cabernet Way and immediately behind Gamay Commons. Furthermore, the lot sizes will match the lot sizes of residential development to the south. We are in agreement with this proposed condition and provided the City doesn’t change direction and require otherwise, all future site planning will be consistent with this provision.
2. Primary Access from Arroyo Road or Robertson Park Road - Under the Planned Development Standards, Other Standards Section E(3), the Residential Zoning District imposes the condition that access to the project will be limited to Arroyo Road or Robertson Park Road with the exception of those homes located in the Density Buffer Area along the southern boundary of the project, which will use Cabernet Way. The Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department (LPFD) has indicated that the Arroyo Road/Cartier Drive is acceptable as the primary entrance. We are in agreement with this proposed condition and provided the City doesn’t change direction and require otherwise, all future site planning will be consistent with this provision.
3. Emergency Vehicle Access (EVA) to Southern Neighborhoods – Under the requirements of the LPFD, two street connections to the northern portion of the project will be required. Our preliminary concept plan showed a secondary street connection to Robertson Park Road. This was presented merely to raise the concept of a necessary secondary access and was used to analyze the traffic impacts of a secondary entrance on Robertson Park Road in the traffic report. This is important, in that no secondary entrance is contemplated on Cabernet Way. However, it is clear that a secondary access will be required to serve the safety and fire needs of the northern neighborhood, and it is possible that the LPFD may require a reciprocal EVA to protect the proposed RS-2 cul-de-sac terminating at the end of Gamay Road. Our position is to seek other means of providing EVA access to the northern neighborhood. But as this is a life-safety issue, the final required condition will ultimately be determined by the LPFD and the City. We cannot provide assurances as to the final conditions and location of an EVA, but we will work diligently with the City, the Neighbors and LARPD in negotiating an EVA along the North, East or West property boundaries.
4. Phasing of Grading and Buffers to Southern Neighborhood during Construction -Pursuant to our presentation to the neighbors of the Geotechnical Environmental Remediation Plan on November 13, 2003, the remediation will entail a rough grading, screening and removal process that will occur in the dry months of the year. In our joint meeting with the City and association representatives on December 4, 2003 the neighbors indicated a desire to obtain phasing and buffering provisions that would alleviate these nuisances as the new housing community is built out. We have indicated to the City that we will agree to conditions requiring that the rough grading on the RS-2 portion of the site will commence first, and will buffer the area with a temporary construction fence with wind/dust break mesh. It is our position that the order or phasing of building starts for the large lot homes along Cabernet Way must be dictated by market conditions at the time of construction.
5. Visual Feathering of Density Transitions along Arroyo Road – Arroyo Road is a designated scenic corridor within the City General Plan. As the current plan concept shows, the lots along Arroyo Road are smaller than the RS-2 lots. The houses on these lots back up to Arroyo Road and the rear elevations of the homes will be partially visible. Although the lot sizes, home sizes, locations and orientation will likely be modified we embark upon the site planning process, we concur that the design should accomplish a visual feathering that will not highlight density variation or create a perceived demarcation line along the scenic corridor. The site plan can be designed to eliminate this perception, and agree to take up the neighborhood’s issue with the City.
In summary, Mission Valley Properties and the O’Brien Group are committed to developing a new housing community of the highest quality that meets the goals of the existing neighborhoods and the City of Livermore. As evidenced by the development teams’ past successes in similar infill developments, the neighbors can be confident that the final project will compliment and enhance the existing neighborhoods. We thank you for your cooperation and help in this matter and look forward to completing this remaining infill property to your satisfaction.
Mission Valley Properties
Cc: Mayor Marshall Kamena
Councilmember Tom Reitter
Councilmember Mark Beeman
Councilmember Lorraine Dietrich
Councilmember Marj Leider
Marc Roberts – Community Development Director
Catherine Hagebusch - Planner
Tim & Sharon Marriott