CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM
Meeting Date: June 14, 2005
Subject/Title: An appeal of the Planning Commission decision to deny the
General Plan Amendment (GPA 01-01) and Rezone (RZ 05-04) for the 135-acre
mixed-use Bridle Gate project, located west of the State Route 4 Bypass, on
both sides of the Sand Creek Road extension.
Prepared by: Erik Nolthenius, Senior Planner
Submitted by: Howard Sword, Community Development Director
Review this report and all attachments, take public testimony, and move to
either approve or deny the requested appeal.
Special Planning Area (SPA) E was approved by the City Council on November
27, 2001, as part of the General Plan Update. An RGMP allocation for the
project site was approved by the City Council on January 11, 2005. GPA 01-01
and RZ 05-04 were denied by the Planning Commission on April 19, 2005.
Land uses surrounding the Bridle Gate project site include Old Sand Creek
Road and undeveloped agricultural land to the north, the State Route 4
Bypass, undeveloped agricultural land, and the Sand Creek Crossing shopping
center to the east, single-family residential homes in the Brentwood Hills
subdivision to the south, and the Brentwood/Antioch City limit line to the
west. The proposed project would need approval of the following five
• A Development Agreement (DA 04-02) to govern the phasing, development, and
construction of the public infrastructure and the project.
• A General Plan Amendment (GPA 01-01) to modify the text of Special
Planning Area (SPA) E, including the proposed land use mix and grading for
• A Rezone (RZ 05-04) to establish development standards for both the
residential and commercial/ business park portions of the project site.
• A Vesting Tentative Subdivision Map (VTSM 8506) to subdivide approximately
135 acres into 166 single-family residential lots, a 32.21-acre open space
parcel, a 4.06-acre neighborhood park, two pocket parks totaling 1.11 acres,
landscape areas totaling 3.62 acres, and a future 35.28-acre mixed-use
business park and regional commercial site.
• A Design Review (DR 01-12) for 16 models of single-family homes, including
all related improvements, to be constructed on the 166 proposed lots.
The project was considered by the Planning Commission as a public hearing
item on April 19, 2005. After a significant amount of discussion, the
Planning Commission voted 4-1 (Commissioner Stirling voted no) to deny the
General Plan Amendment and Rezone. The remaining entitlements were continued
indefinitely, pending any subsequent City Council action related to the
General Plan Amendment and Rezone.
An appeal was filed on April 27, 2005 by the project applicant, Discovery
Builders, Inc., On May 10, 2005, the City Council set May 24th as the public
hearing date to consider the appeal. Due to noticing problems with the
newspaper, the appeal had to be readvertised and the appeal date was
continued to June 14, 2005. The attached appeal letter states the reasons
that the appellant deems the Planning Commission was in error by denying the
General Plan Amendment and Rezone.
PLANNING COMMISSION ACTION
At the April 19, 2005 Planning Commission hearing, the Commission voted 4-1
to deny the proposed General Plan amendment and Planned Development
rezoning. After a lengthy discussion and consideration of the project, the
majority of the Planning Commissioners could not support the proposed
amendments to the General Plan and proposed rezoning for the following
reasons: First, given the natural and scenic qualities of the site, the
Commission could not support the proposed change to the prominent hill form
that dominates SPA E as they believed it would have a detrimental visual
impact to the community. Second, the Commission could not support the
reduction in the mixed-use business park and regional commercial acreage in
SPA E from 50 acres to 35 acres as it would not be consistent with the
General Plan goal to provide an adequate balance of jobs to housing. Also,
the Commission could not support the proposed reduction in open space and
park use area from 40 to 30% of the SPA area.
The Planning Commission continued its action on the tentative map, design
review, and development agreement applications pending an appeal of its
action by the applicant to the City Council. Should the City Council approve
the appeal, thereby approving the General Plan amendment and Rezoning
applications, the Commission would hold a public hearing on June 21, 2005 on
the tentative map, design review, and development agreement applications. At
the applicant’s request, public notice for these applications has been
As listed above, the proposed General Plan changes include 1) reducing the
minimum percentage of open space and park uses in SPA E from 40 to 30%, 2)
reducing the amount of mixed business park and regional commercial land from
50 to 35 acres, 3) allowing flexibility to the requirement for preservation
of the visual prominence of the hill form by adding “to the greatest extent
possible”, and 4) deleting the reference to using open space instead of
soundwalls as a separation/ buffer between the proposed residential units
and the Hwy 4 Bypass.
The proposed PD amendment, or rezoning, includes the establishment of
permitted and conditionally permitted uses, as well as site development
standards. Currently, this PD is a “shell” PD and no development standards
exist. Therefore, before any development of this site can be approved, these
uses and standards must be created.
For a more detailed description of the proposed General Plan and PD
amendments, please see the attached Planning Commission staff report of
April 19, 2005.
Special features of SPA E include a prominent hillside in the southern
portion, Sand Creek drainage channel in the northern portion, and several
abandoned oil wells. The General Plan policy direction for the SPA indicates
that it is intended to serve as a gateway into Brentwood from the west side
of the City. As stated above, the General Plan also indicates that it is
important to maintain visual open space and parks as dominant features of
the SPA, including preservation of the dominant hill form’s visual
prominence. Open space and parks are to comprise at least 40% of the SPA,
with a minimum of 50 acres reserved for mixed-use business park and regional
commercial development at the northwest corner of Sand Creek Road and the
Bypass. The specific land use mix for the SPA is intended to be determined
in conjunction with a coordinated planned development.
The key proposed modifications to SPA E, in order to reflect the design of
the project, relate to the preservation of the dominant hill form, the
percentage of open space and park uses, the acreage reserved for mixed-use
business park and regional commercial development, and the protection of
scenic hillsides. The dominant hill form, located in the vicinity of
proposed Lots 149-151, peaks at an elevation of approximately 230 feet. The
proposed grading plan shows pad elevations for these lots at 203 and 204
feet, or a reduction of approximately 26 ft. from the top of the ridgeline.
A total of 41 acres (Parcels A, B, and D-J) would be reserved by the project
for open space and park uses, which means that open space and parks would
comprise 30% of the SPA (41 acres / 135 acres = 30%).
A 35.28-acre parcel would be reserved by the project for future mixed-use
business park and regional commercial development. This is approximately 15
acres less than what is currently required by the SPA. The reason for the
reduction is that when SPA E was created, consideration was not given to
additional acreage required for the Bypass on and off-ramps at Sand Creek
Road. As shown on the project plans, a 17.3-acre area directly east of the
non-residential portion of the project has been acquired by the Bypass
Authority for ultimate improvements to the Bypass. This acreage was
originally intended to be part of the mixed-use business park and regional
commercial portion of the SPA.
As pointed out in the attached appeal letter from Discovery Builders, there
would be a number of important public improvements that would be constructed
as part of this project. These infrastructure improvements will serve the
surrounding area in addition to this project and will improve traffic
circulation and emergency response to this area. First, the extension of San
Jose Avenue would be completed through the project site and a portion of
Sand Creek Road would be constructed along the project frontage to provide
better access to the Hwy 4 Bypass for the residents of the Brentwood Hills
development to the south. Also, utilities and roadway access would be
constructed to the 4-acre high density residential parcel east of the
project site for possible development with affordable housing. The 36-acre
commercial site on the north side of the residential development would be
rough-graded, have utility stubbed in Sand Creek Rd., a traffic signal at
San Jose Ave. and Sand Creek Rd., and the access road (Sand Creek Rd.) would
be extended with full-width improvements along a portion of its frontage.
(Please see the attached letter for additional information concerning the
Staff points out that there are clearly significant pros and cons to this
project. The project site is a unique site in Brentwood and as such, was
designated a Special Planning Area with specific land use and site planning
criteria during the General Plan update process. While this proposal
deviates from a number of these, the public infrastructure improvements this
plan includes would be beneficial to the area, and through its inclusion in
this year’s planned CIFP, the City as a whole. Thus, the project offers
beneficial infrastructure improvements. The Council may wish to consider
whether these improvements outweigh the visual and land use concerns
discussed by the Planning Commission.
The project, if developed, would generate additional jobs and property tax
for the City. The project would also increase demand for the urban services
the City provides, which would result in ongoing service delivery costs
associated with the project.
Staff recommends that after taking public testimony at the hearing and
consideration of the attached materials, including the proposed General Plan
amendment and rezoning text, the City Council take one of the following
1. Approve the appeal, thereby approving the proposed application for cases,
GP 01-01 and RZ 05-04, subject to the proposed text.
2. Deny the appeal, thereby upholding the Planning Commission’s denial of
cases, GP 01-01 and RZ 05-04.
In either case, staff will prepare the appropriate resolutions and/or
ordinance to reflect the Council’s action for its consideration at a future
April 19th Planning Commission staff report and attachments
Planning Commission Resolution No. 05-26 and April 19th Planning Commission
Vesting Tentative Subdivision Map No. 8506