Preparations for an environmental impact report (EIR) on a potential new development will soon be underway, after San Ramon's City Council voted to approve a contract with AECOM to begin studies.
Purchased by Lafferty Communities in March 2012, the Faria Preserve is a 440-acre site located east of Bollinger Canyon Road and north of Crow Canyon Road within the city's Northwest Specific Plan. It sits next to two smaller properties and will be connected by a public trails and open space system that will link to new community and public facilities.
The EIR will also include a traffic study that will analyze the impact of additional housing, sports fields and a worship center on the immediate residential area, which includes several housing complexes off Deerwood Drive, along with commercial areas toward San Ramon Valley Boulevard and Crow Canyon Road. One of the main traffic concerns brought up by Council and residents was congestion along the main road connection at Deerwood.
Associate Planner Cindy Yee said the environmental and associated traffic studies will begin in the next several weeks and will continue through spring 2013, at least. Public hearings on the draft EIR will most likely occur next summer, she added.
The Faria project has gone through several iterations and revisions to include 751 residential units, a decrease of 35 units, and a much smaller development area. Older plans had a residential component south of the planned Faria Parkway and now all residential units are north of that road to preserve a creek, Yee added.
To lower residential density, 32 courtyard-style units were replaced by 15 50-by-100 foot single-family lots and lots in Neighborhood 1 (located on the northernmost portion of the site) were increased and the removal of 12 units. The number of multi-family apartment units was also reduced by 8 as the result of resident and city input.
Yee said workshops in October and December 2012 also addressed additional issues such as providing more details on the parking situation and trail connections. The trail system has since been expanded to include additional connections at Neighborhood 1, while residential units are limited to four bedrooms and the community pool area reduced to ensure parking standards are met.
According to a staff report, the applicant will continue public outreach over the next several months as the city concurrently works with AECOM. With the feedback obtained from two study sessions, the developer will also work toward submitting all necessary project plans along with fiscal analysis, traffic and circulation, noise and visual simulations studies.
"It's difficult to say when (homes) are going to be constructed. We still need a decision on tentative map and application that are associated with it, along with environmental review before we could project when the project will be approved and when to begin construction," Yee added.