LAFAYETTE -- A public hearing to discuss the impacts of building 315 apartments on a Lafayette hillside, including a portion of that land protected from development, will be held Monday.
Planning leaders will meet at 7 p.m. at the Lafayette Library and Learning Center Community Hall to discuss an environmental report addressing various concerns about the Terraces of Lafayette, the apartment complex developers are hoping to build on a 22-acre lot on Deer Hill Road.
The O'Brien Land Company wants to place the apartments on the existing terraced hillside near Acalanes High School. The project has drawn numerous objections from residents about its size, its apparent clash with the city's desire to keep development consistent with Lafayette's "semirural" identity and how it may increase traffic in an already congested area.
The city began soliciting comments last year on a draft environmental report outlining possible construction effects on the air quality, biology and geology of the area. The document details what could be done to ease any resulting disruptions or changes, including the movement of 400,000 cubic yards of material.
Some of the major impacts and mitigations outlined in the report include:
The report also details possible measures to ease strains on BART parking, including setting up a shuttle bus to get residents to and from the station during peak commute hours until a bus route is established, widening sidewalks and creating safer bike and pedestrian pathways near the development.
Property owner Anna Maria Dettmer submitted plans in 2011 to develop the former "Christmas tree lot" in an area the city considers the most "significantly underdeveloped" in the community. The land is zoned for offices but multifamily housing is allowed with a permit.
The owner's attorneys also take exception to some aspects of the report. They dispute the project's location in a protected ridgeline zone and believe city leaders are trying to rezone the project to allow one unit per five acres. The project's density is 14 dwelling units per acre, according to city data.
Jennifer Modenessi covers Lafayette, Orinda and Moraga. Contact her at 925-943-8378. Follow her at Twitter.com/jmodenessi.