By Daniel Borsuk
Two years in the works, a 193-unit apartment development planned near the intersection of Willow Pass Road and Port Chicago Highway in Bay Point should finally break ground next spring, now that the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the $60 million project on Tuesday.
Supervisors listened to Bay Point resident CeCe Valenzuela and several other residents attempt to block the residential development by appealing a County Planning Commission decision granting permission for Meta Corp. to construct the apartment development consisting of eight three-story buildings.
Valenzuela charged the development planned by Meta Corp. will worsen traffic, local schools, air quality, and disrupt tenancy levels.
Valenzuela also criticized the development’s landscape and recreational plans as being inadequate for a development that could accommodate as many at 500 tenants. The project will have a 25,180-square foot outdoor swimming pool and recreation area.
“This development is overwhelming and very massive” Valenzuela said. The 193 apartment units would one, two, three, or four bedroom units. Nineteen units would be set aside for low income tenants.
Development architect Ralph D. Strauss disagreed with Valenzuela saying “The number of people in the units will be professionally managed.”
“This apartment project is the last thing Bay Point needs,” said Bay Point resident Welbon I. Salaam. “This will impact our local school, worsen an area already with a high crime rate and slow down even more the police response time.”
Bay Point resident Douglas Parker opposed the apartment development based on the fact far more people will live in the apartment units than permitted. “To suggest that the new apartments will house 2.5 people per unit is a gross under estimate,” he said. “The reality is that these units will house multiple families and overtax any already congested neighborhood.”
“This apartment development will negatively impact three elementary schools and a middle school in the area,” said Bay Point resident Judy Dawson.
In the end, supervisors sided with the developer noting that the high demand for affordable housing in the Bay Area overshadows most other needs including stores, roads, schools and jobs.
During his 17 years on the board, Board Chairman Federal Glover said he has seen a number of potential commercial and residential projects for the Bay Point site come and go, but this apartment development is one he can live with. “I’m impressed with this development,” Glover said. Glover’s district represents Bay Point.
Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill said she’d vote to deny the appeal and vote in favor of the project because the development will not severely impact traffic, there will not be a significant increase in student enrollment at nearby Mt. Diablo Unified School District schools, and most importantly there is a need for more affordable housing.
“We need to push for affordable housing,” she said. “Each community needs to take on its share of housing.”
Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond also called for more affordable housing.
“One of the top issues in the Bay Area is the need for more affordable housing,” he said. “This development will help contribute to the housing shortage.”
Meta Corp. Senior Vice Present Aaron Mandel said when construction gets underway, he expects the project to generate 500 construction jobs during the construction period.
See the complete agenda item on the project, here.
Sheriff Crime Reports Contract
In other Board action, by a unanimous vote, supervisors approved a two-year $386,173, contract with Admin, Inc. to provide administrative support services for the Sheriff-Coroner. The contract will allow the Sherriff-Coroner Office to relieve one sworn officer from non-administrative duties, getting crime reports requested by the general public. The contract will be effect from March 1, 2017 to Feb. 28, 2019.
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