Novato rejects dense housing proposal in close proximity to downtown

Novato city leaders will not go after a proposal that would have permitted multifamily housing and large-density reasonably priced housing to be developed just north of downtown.

The proposal would have authorized for retail developments with housing on higher floors together Redwood Boulevard involving Vallejo and Olive avenues. These proximity to the downtown Intelligent teach station also would have created the properties suitable for controversial new state housing gains that permit for extra larger-density inexpensive housing projects in the vicinity of transit services.

“What that use designation does is you get significant-density housing on Redwood Boulevard,” Mayor Pro Tem Pat Eklund stated at the council’s Oct. 27 assembly right before the 4- vote. “That is not what the persons of this local community want.”

Councilman Eric Lucan recused himself since of close by house passions.

The improve would have authorized for involving 10 to 23 residences for each acre to be crafted on the properties.

The town is needed to build a sure amount of properties, including residences for reduced- and pretty very low-money tenants, or encounter condition outcomes these as withheld transportation cash. Novato has a concentrate on of 415 residences to build between 2015 and 2023, of which 235 experienced been permitted as of February.

The proposed qualities, in mild blue, in the vicinity of downtown Novato that were currently being regarded as for long run retail and multifamily housing improvement. The City Council rejected the change late very last month. (Town of Novato)

Mayor Denise Athas said she was torn on the choice mainly because the city will sooner or later will need to detect parts the place extra housing could be developed.

“I believe it is a minor risky right now for us to improve it and put ourselves in line with going way beyond what we need to do right until we see how (Senate Monthly bill) 35 and all those sorts of matters perform out in our city,” Athas reported. “I imagine it would be safer to leave it as it is.”

Inhabitants have elevated problems about significant-density housing in the downtown spot, this kind of as the proposed 227-residence inexpensive housing and industrial making proposed at 1020 Fourth St. in close proximity to Grant Avenue. The project, which is becoming reviewed by the city, would qualify for the positive aspects of Senate Invoice 35, enabling it to bypass standard setting up and layout assessment processes and only call for ministerial approval by town personnel.

The proposed land-use modify on Redwood Boulevard, which was being deemed as component of the council’s Basic Strategy 2035 update, would have brought on numerous automotive organizations and fuel stations on the 15 influenced parcels to grow to be “nonconforming” works by using, explained metropolis Setting up Supervisor Steve Marshall.

“As nonconforming employs, they would be capable to keep on on operations, they just would not be equipped to broaden, relocate on the property or they just would not be capable to work the very same way they do now or with the identical versatility they have now,” Marshall instructed the council.

The land-use transform was proposed numerous many years back as a way to extend the downtown retail area northward even though also delivering for housing, Eklund mentioned. However, considerably has modified due to the fact then including the coronavirus pandemic’s influence on retail, she stated.

“I never feel we’re heading to get that retail,” Eklund reported. “I imagine we’ll be blessed if we can just continue to keep the retail on Grant Avenue, quite frankly.”

New housing legislation that seek out far more infill reasonably priced housing advancement have also occur into engage in.

“At the time this dialogue transpired, we did not have the latest housing regulations that are now on the textbooks that drive higher density bonuses and these other positive aspects that come with selected varieties of housing assignments,” Marshall reported. “So the participating in industry has altered undoubtedly but it was a modify intended to spur investment decision in the place.”