Several recent changes to Dublin's General Plan and Downtown Specific Plan will make the city's future pedestrian-oriented downtown area look more different than originally envisioned.
The amendments call for increased maximum floor-area ratios in the city's planned retail and transit-oriented districts, and also permanently decreased parking standards in the transit-oriented district and on Village Parkway.
The items unanimously passed at the Dec. 3 meeting of the Dublin City Council, who also supported consolidating the two districts' residential development pools into one that also includes the Village Parkway district.
The Downtown Dublin Specific Plan (DDSP) outlines the city's goal to "create a vibrant, dynamic commercial and mixed-use center ... in a pedestrian-friendly and aesthetically pleasing setting that attracts both local and regional residents."
Opportunities for shopping, services, dining, working, living and entertainment would all exist within the parameters of Dublin's reimagined downtown, which would be bordered by Amador Plaza Road, Regional Street, and Amador Valley and Dublin boulevards.
The city plans to slice up the giant block into a grid of 11 smaller blocks, each with their own side streets and sidewalks meant to be more convenient for shoppers. Hotels and other large buildings up to six stories high are among the proposed developments for the area.
There are currently no development applications for the site, but the street grid and a public square just north of Dublin Boulevard and west of Amador Plaza Road are scheduled to be built starting this year; both are expected to be finished by 2025.
Many of the 2,500 units within the DDSP are already allocated but the council agreed to amend the plan to combine all three district pools into one. The property would be required to enter a community benefit agreement in order to access the development pool.
The amendment "provides for a more market-driven approach, where the units can be allocated to developments anywhere within the DDSP," according to staff, and would "provide additional opportunity within the other two districts, particularly in the retail district, consistent with the City Council's recently adopted Downtown Preferred Vision." The combined allocation would not exceed the 2,500-unit limit and still require the council to allocate units from the pool.
Dublin city planners found that the "urban nature" of the transit-oriented and retail districts and their proximity to the West Dublin-Pleasanton BART Station provides "an opportunity to encourage a greater mix of development by increasing the allowable (floor area ratio) for these two districts." The move required the City Council to approve an amendment to the Dublin General Plan.
Easy and close access to public transit was also behind staff's recommendation to permanently decrease parking standards on Village Parkway and for hotels and offices in the transit-oriented district.
Village Parkway implemented a pilot parking program in 2012, which staff recommended be continued "in perpetuity and incorporated into the DDSP," based on its continued success. The council approved the recommendation and agreed to allow 1.5 parking spots per residential unit in the transit-oriented district.
A recently approved Westin Hotel near BART will be among the businesses with reduced parking in the area, which requires 0.85 spaces per hotel room; nearby offices will have 2.5 spaces per 1,000 square feet of gross floor area.
The second phase of the DDSP is poised to occur from 2026 to 2035, when retail would be added. Housing would be introduced from 2036 to 2045; the last phase between 2046 to 2065 would see more mixed uses in the area.