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CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM NO. 29

Meeting Date: October 14, 2003

Subject/Title: Interpretation of the Mid-Range Density Policy as it relates to Private Island Home’s Tentative Subdivision Map Request (TSM 8724) to subdivide 30.7 acres into 84 single-family residential lots located southwest of the corner of Neroly Road and O’Hara Avenue.

Submitted By: Community Development Department (Oshinsky/Rhodes)

Approved By: John Stevenson, City Manager

RECOMMENDATION
Staff recommends that the City Council authorize Private Island Homes, Inc. to exceed the mid-range density by up to 26 units for the proposed Magnolia Ranch development (RZ 03-08, TSM 8724, DR 03-14).

PREVIOUS ACTION
The City Council has directed staff to bring residential development proposals that exceed the mid-range density allowed under the General Plan to the Council prior to processing.

BACKGROUND
The developer is proposing a Tentative Subdivision Map to subdivide 30.7 acres into 84 single-family lots. The mid-range and maximum dwelling unit potential for the site is as follows:

Site Dwelling Unit Potential
General Plan Designation Acreage Mid-range Maximum Proposed

Very Low Density
Residential (1-3 du/ac.) 29.1 58 87 84
Open Space 1.6 0 0_______________0
30.7 58 87 84

This proposed project of 84 units exceeds the General Plan mid-range density by 26 units. The developer has proposed three types of amenities in exchange for higher project density. The applicant is proposing to construct 4 affordable “duet” units on-site to comply with the City’s Affordable Housing Ordinance. Pursuant to the “phase in partial exemption” provisions of the Ordinance, the developer must comply with ½ of the requirements (five percent) of the Affordable Housing Program during the first 12 months following the adoption of the Ordinance. The developer is proposing that five percent of the units will be affordable to lower income households. Compliance with the Affordable Housing Ordinance entitles the developer to a 9.22% density bonus or 5 units above the mid-range density.

The developer is also proposing to provide 1.8 acres of public park space in conjunction with the proposed project. The General Plan requires 1.26 acres of public park space for an 84-unit development. The developer is exceeding the amount of public park space required by
approximately 0.5 acres or 40 percent. The developer is seeking 1 additional dwelling unit above mid-range density in exchange for the additional proposed public park space.

Lastly, the developer is proposing to utilize 20 Transferable Agricultural Credits (TAC) allowed under the City’s Agricultural Enterprise Program to obtain the additional 20 dwelling units above mid-range density. This is the first TAC transaction proposed since adoption of the Agricultural Enterprise Program in 2001. The Agricultural Enterprise Program provides that two development credits can be earned for each acre of farmland permanently preserved within the approximately 2,160 acre agricultural conservation area south of the City. Under the program, the development credits may be transferred inside the City limits subject to City approval, when a developer wants to exceed the allowable mid-range density but remain under the maximum number of units allowed for a residential site by the General Plan. In exchange for the 20 development credits, the developer must permanently conserve 10 acres within TAC area.

The mechanism to ensure permanent conservation of the agricultural land would be a conservation easement held by the Brentwood Agricultural Land Trust (BALT). BALT was established last year to help implement the Agricultural Enterprise Program. The developer has reached an agreement in principle with William and Patricia Bristow (see the attached letter), the agricultural property owners of 10.4 acres within the designated TAC area, to purchase their agricultural credits. The 10.4 acres is located immediately south of Concord Avenue, east of Marsh Creek, and west of Walnut Boulevard. The agricultural land is located outside the City limits and City Sphere of Influence, within the County agricultural core area. The TAC area was selected due to the fertility of the soil, the high concentration of existing “u-pick” enterprises, and the visibility of the area for Brentwood commuters who drive through this productive agricultural area to access Vasco Road and to return home. If acceptable to the Council, prior to recordation of a future final map creating the additional lots above mid-range, the developer would have to record a conservation easement acceptable to BALT and the City on the 10.4-acre Bristow property.

A summary of the request for dwelling units above mid-range for this project is provided below:

Project Feature Requested Density Bonus
(dwelling units)

Affordable Housing Compliance 5
Additional Public Park Space 1
Ag. Development Credits 20
Total 26

This item was considered by the City Council’s Housing Committee and the Committee discussed the issue of mid-range density and proposed amenities by Private Island Homes to justify the units above mid-range density. The consensus of the Committee was that the project should be forwarded to the City Council for discussion without a recommendation, given the unique nature of the project features. During the Housing Committee review, the developer had mentioned the provision of affordable housing and additional park land to justify the requested density. No agreement had been reached for use of TACs to justify requested project density.

The proposed project 84-unit density is under the maximum of 87 units allowed under the General Plan. The project would provide 10,000 square foot minimum size lots and would have the largest average lot sizes of any project that is currently proposed in this portion of the City. The use of TAC represents a very innovative public-private partnership in which property owners receive compensation for voluntarily agreeing to permanently keep property available for agricultural use. This project is exempt from the Residential Growth Management Program (RGMP).

FISCAL IMPACT
The request to exceed mid-range density would result in additional building fees and property tax revenue for the project site and would create some additional costs for ongoing public services for this area. The additional density above mid-range would lower per capita annual landscaping and lighting district costs for the area. The proposed project results in the conservation of ten acres of prime agricultural land without the expenditure of any City agricultural conservation funds, which could be available for future transactions.

Attachments

1. Proposed Conceptual Magnolia Ranch Subdivision Layout
2. Letter from William and Patricia Bristow
 

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