Pleasanton's zoning administrator on Monday approved the design plans for City Venture's proposed Harmony Condominiums project that would demolish the Tri-Valley Inn & Suites in order to construct a 42-unit residential development.
According to the zoning administrator hearing's agenda report, the development -- which would be located where the single-story motel currently stands on Santa Rita Road, between Valley and Mohr avenues -- would include seven three-story buildings of market-rate "townhome-style condominiums" ranging in size from approximately 1,403 to 2,150 square feet.
"The project will provide 42 new residential units, which will assist the city in meeting its Housing Element goals," Pleasanton communications manager Heather Tiernan told the Weekly. "Each townhome is three stories with a garage and two floors of living space above. The units will be sold as condominiums."
The garages in each townhome will be able to fit two cars, according to Tiernan, but there will only be two guest spaces for the site, which she said complies with Pleasanton Municipal Code and Objective Design Standards requirements.
Following the design review approval by Eric Luchini, a senior planner with the city serving as acting zoning administrator for the matter, the project would need to return to the Pleasanton Planning Commission for final map adoption and to the City Council for consideration of an affordable housing agreement -- with the developer hoping to pay a fee rather than provide below-market units onsite.
The Tri-Valley Inn & Suites property at 2025 Santa Rita Road, owned by Pete Patel and KDP Corp., was among 19 sites included in Pleasanton's certified Pleasanton's 2023-2031 Housing Element to accommodate the city's mandated Regional Housing Needs Allocation tally of 5,965 new housing units -- 2,758 of which are targeted toward lower-income households.
"We appreciate how much work and effort went into the city's Housing Element," Luke Morris, a development manager at City Ventures -- the developer behind the condo project -- told the Weekly on Tuesday. "We're looking forward to bringing sustainably designed homes and open space to one of Pleasanton's Housing Element sites."
Apart from the 34-room motel, which takes up 1.96 acres of land, the Curry Cravings restaurant located at the site will also be torn down.
According to the zoning hearing staff report, the site is also part of a larger 2.3-acre site that includes the Lockhart Lane right-of-way, which will be used as a main entry point to the Harmony Condominiums.
The buildings will range in height from 33 feet to 35 feet -- however, the heights are being measured from the "adjoining grade to the midpoint of the sloping roof," according to city staff. That does not include the additional 42-inch parapet that is required per the city's objective design standards.
"Per the (objective design standards), the maximum allowed height is 36 feet for sites with density between 14-29 units per acre," the staff report states.
Pleasanton resident Brian Casey, who lives directly right behind the motel site, told the Weekly that while he doesn't necessarily object to the development, he has several concerns with the specifics of the project.
"Every property owner has the right to do what they want to do on the property, I get it," Casey said. "But when you look at the sheer size of the development, which is 42 units on 1.93 acres; that is a lot of units on that small piece of property."
Casey said that he had issues with the lack of guest and overall parking, saying that people use garages for storage, park their second cars elsewhere, have kids or friends visiting who have cars of their own.
He also had issues with what the townhomes will do to the traffic in that area given the traffic coming from commuters and folks going to Amador Valley High School, which would make getting in and out of those townhomes difficult.
However, Tiernan said that the site was already evaluated for traffic impacts as part of the city's Housing Element final program environmental impact review (FEIR) and that the traffic impact would not be that significant.
She explained that traffic impacts are measured using vehicle miles traveled (VMT), which measures the amount and distance of vehicle travel attributed to a project and specifically focuses on "determining the origin and destination of travel patterns."
She said that while the VMT analysis for the site showed the impacts did not exceed the impacts anticipated in the FEIR, staff also evaluated the impact of the proposed development on level of service, which also did not show too much change.
"The 42 units produce approximately 30 vehicle trips in the peak hour," she said. This equates to one additional vehicle at the intersection of Santa Rita and Valley every cycle, which will have a less than significant impact on the intersection operation or level of service."
Apart from the traffic impacts, Casey's other main issue was that the condos will be sold at market rate because City Venture will be looking to pay the city's affordable housing fee in-lieu of providing affordable units on site.
He said he didn't appreciate the fact that the developer is looking to build these non-affordable condos that are going to be too tall compared to the single-family homes surrounding it and that will not have enough parking space, just so that City Venture can cash out and leave the city with these problems.
Even though the city's zoning administrator already approved the design review for the project, the city's Planning Commission will still need to review the project's vesting tentative map next Wednesday (Nov. 8).
There will also be two hearings regarding the affordable housing agreement for the developer to pay the city in order to opt out of building affordable housing -- one on Nov. 30 with the Housing Commission and the other on Jan. 10 with the City Council.
Tiernan said that after all of that, City Venture is anticipating a seven-month construction schedule.