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Los Gamos Apartments

Address: Los Gamos (vacant lot at end of Los Gamos)
APNs: 165-220-06 & -07
Project No: GPA20-001/ ZC20-002/ED20-058
Applicant: Colin Russell Architects
990 A Street, Suite 202
San Rafael, CA 94901
Project Planner: Jeff Hamilton
jhamilton@migcom.com

 

Project Description

The City has received an application for general plan amendment, zoning map amendment and environmental and design review for a 192-unit apartment project on a hillside property located on the west side of Los Gamos Road.  In addition, the project will include a 5,574 square foot neighborhood market building and a 5,003 square foot community building.  The applicant is requesting a General Plan Amendment to allow a change in density from Hillside Residential (.1 to .5 units per acre) to a Neighborhood Commercial Mixed Use (8.7-24.2 units per acre) and to allow the mix of uses proposed; a Zoning Amendment to Planned Development zoning; a Vesting Tentative Parcel Map; a waiver from development standards to allow a 58’ building height and a concession from development standards for reduced commercial parking, both as provided under State law; and Environmental and Design Review.

Project Status

The project was approved February 7, and the Planned Development ordinance was adopted on February 22, 2022

Prior updates

The project was reviewed by the Design Review Board at the public hearing of October 5, 2021. At that time the Board recommended approval of the project subject to four conditions:

  • Mitigate the appearance of building height with darker color palette consistent with Hillside Design Guidelines and horizontal elements to break of visual appearance of massing;
  • Trees should be not planted in a uniform row but clustered with more natural spacing to the extent practicable for available planting area;
  • Mitigate impact the 10’ – 16’ tall retaining walls with step backs or other applications such as texture/colors/materials/or vegetation;
  • The project should return to the Board for final consideration of the revised design details following action by the Planning Commission and City Council.

Staff is in the process of finalizing the draft Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration prepared for the project. It will be released for public review and comment shortly. The project must still be reviewed by the Planning Commission and City Council.

A formal application was received on December 14, 2020.  The project will undergo a 30-day completeness review.  During this period, the project documents will be routed to other city departments, utility companies, and neighboring government agencies.  The applicant will then be notified whether additional information is needed to move this project to the next step in the review process.

Planning Commission Study Session was held on January 14, 2020.  The planning Commission provided the following comments:

  • Its time to re-evaluate zoning for this site;
  • Intensity could be ok if properly designed and thorough review of environmental impacts;
  • Clustering is good idea;
  • The project would contribute to the City’s housing need;
  • Would not support any more than 180 units;
  • Would like to see the applicant address work force housing;
  • Make market more visible;
  • Continue reaching out to County for access swap;
  • Consider reducing the amount of trails within the private open space areas;
  • Need to define whether trails would be accessible to public;
  • Specify how trails will be maintained;
  • Address how trails and recreational equipment impact natural state;
  • Recreational equipment should be located closer to buildings;
  • Contribute as much green/low energy elements as possible;
    • EV; Solar; roof orientation and design
  • Prepare more photo-simulations including views from street level to get a better sense of what the project will look like;
  • Demonstrate compliance with Hillside design;
  • Height might be okay if bulk and mass can be addressed and proforma supports; use hillside definition of height;
  • Consider adding carports over parking areas to reduce the appearance of bulk and mass;
  • Address views from open space;
  • Landscaping design and materials needs to be appropriate;
  • Environmental review needs to consider all impacts including traffic impacts of other projects.

Agenda for the December 14, 2021, Planning Commission meeting

Updated November 4, 2021- A public hearing by the Planning Commission is scheduled for December 14, 2021, at 7 p.m. This is a virtual hearing. The hearing will be streamed live to YouTube at www.youtube.com/sanrafael. Interested members can follow the instructions on how to participate online.

The Draft Mitigated Negative Declaration, with the Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program, is available for review and comments. The document is posted on this web page (see below). The comment period is from November 2, 2021, to November 30, 2021.
Comments on the project or the Draft Mitigated Negative Declaration can be submitted by email to Jeff Hamilton, Contract Planner, at jhamilton@migcom.com, or by calling (818) 414-3498.
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