Novato rejects dense housing proposal near downtown

Deborah K. Vick

Novato metropolis leaders will not pursue a proposal that would have authorized multifamily housing and significant-density inexpensive housing to be developed just north of downtown.

The proposal would have permitted for retail developments with housing on higher flooring together Redwood Boulevard among Vallejo and Olive avenues. These proximity to the downtown Intelligent train station also would have manufactured the qualities qualified for controversial new point out housing positive aspects that enable for extra better-density reasonably priced housing assignments around transit solutions.

“What that use designation does is you get substantial-density housing on Redwood Boulevard,” Mayor Pro Tem Pat Eklund reported at the council’s Oct. 27 conference ahead of the 4- vote. “That is not what the individuals of this group want.”

Councilman Eric Lucan recused himself due to the fact of nearby house interests.

The alter would have allowed for between 10 to 23 residences for each acre to be crafted on the homes.

The metropolis is necessary to approve a selected quantity of homes, together with residences for lower- and extremely very low-money tenants, or confront point out outcomes this kind of as withheld transportation cash. Novato has a target of 415 residences to build amongst 2015 and 2023, of which 235 had been permitted as of February.

The proposed properties, in gentle blue, close to downtown Novato that have been becoming deemed for upcoming retail and multifamily housing development. The Town Council turned down the modify late past month. (City of Novato)

Mayor Denise Athas explained she was torn on the decision due to the fact the city will ultimately require to determine locations the place a lot more housing could be created.

“I assume it’s a very little hazardous correct now for us to change it and set ourselves in line with going way further than what we will need to do until eventually we see how (Senate Invoice) 35 and those people types of points engage in out in our town,” Athas explained. “I believe it would be safer to go away it as it is.”

People have lifted fears about higher-density housing in the downtown space, such as the proposed 227-home affordable housing and professional developing proposed at 1020 Fourth St. close to Grant Avenue. The job, which is remaining reviewed by the town, would qualify for the rewards of Senate Invoice 35, letting it to bypass normal organizing and design evaluation processes and only need ministerial acceptance by town personnel.

The proposed land-use adjust on Redwood Boulevard, which was becoming regarded as element of the council’s Standard Approach 2035 update, would have brought on a number of automotive corporations and fuel stations on the 15 affected parcels to grow to be “nonconforming” employs, reported town Planning Supervisor Steve Marshall.

“As nonconforming employs, they would be able to carry on on functions, they just would not be equipped to develop, relocate on the residence or they just would not be equipped to work the same way they do now or with the exact adaptability they have now,” Marshall explained to the council.

The land-use alter was proposed various a long time in the past as a way to expand the downtown retail location northward whilst also supplying for housing, Eklund said. Nevertheless, a great deal has changed given that then which includes the coronavirus pandemic’s effect on retail, she claimed.

“I really don’t assume we’re going to get that retail,” Eklund explained. “I feel we’ll be blessed if we can just keep the retail on Grant Avenue, rather frankly.”

New housing rules that search for additional infill affordable housing advancement have also appear into participate in.

“At the time this dialogue transpired, we did not have the present-day housing legislation that are now on the books that drive bigger density bonuses and these other added benefits that arrive with specific varieties of housing initiatives,” Marshall explained. “So the playing subject has improved definitely but it was a improve meant to spur financial investment in the area.”

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