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CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM NO. 11

Meeting Date: January 10, 2006

Subject/Title: An appeal of the Planning Commission’s denial of a General Plan Amendment (GPA 01-01) and a Rezone (RZ 05-04) for the 135-acre mixed-use Bridle Gate project, located west of the intersection of Sand Creek Road and 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

OPTIONS FOR CITY COUNCIL

Staff has identified the following four actions available to the City Council:

1) Deny the appeal (upholding the Planning Commission’s decision), thereby denying Discovery Builders’ project as currently proposed. This would require the developer to file a redesigned project to develop this site. Staff would return the remaining three project entitlements (Development Agreement, Vesting Tentative Subdivision Map, and Design Review) back to the Planning Commission to formally deny them, as they were put on hold until it was determined whether Discovery Builders’ application to change the General Plan and zoning would be approved. This is staff’s recommended option. The developer could file a new, substantially-different application for development of this site at any time for the City’s consideration.

2) Grant the appeal and approve the mitigated negative declaration, thereby reversing the Planning Commission decision and approving Discovery Builders’ proposed changes to the General Plan and zoning ordinance allowing their project to move forward as currently designed. If this option is selected, staff would return to the January 24, 2006 City Council meeting with a resolution memorializing the approval, and then take the remaining three entitlements back to the Planning Commission for action based on the revised General Plan requirements for this area. By taking this action, the City Council would also be affirming the adequacy of the mitigated negative declaration relative to its use as the environmental review document for this project.

3) Approve the appeal with changes. This would require the City Council to identify the item or items about the current proposal that, if changed, would result in an amendment to the General Plan and zoning that the City Council felt would be appropriate. The nature of the changes would determine the degree by which Discovery Builders’ current project design would need to be changed. As the text of both the Planned Development zoning and/or General Plan, as well as the environmental review document for the project, may need to be revised, dependent on the changes desired, the City Council should then continue the matter at the January 10, 2006 meeting and direct staff to return the appeal and revisions at a subsequent meeting to allow staff to make those changes for the City Council’s review. This may include the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) in order to accurately assess impacts created as a result of the project. Once action is taken at the subsequent meeting, the remaining project applications would be forwarded to the Planning Commission for action.

4) Provide specific direction regarding project changes and refer the project back to the Planning Commission for additional consideration. This would essentially be the same action that the City Council took as a result of the first appeal on June 14, 2005. Staff does not recommend this action as the applicant did not make any substantive changes to the project the last time the City Council referred the project back to the Planning Commission.

BACKGROUND

• Special Planning Area (SPA) E was approved by the City Council on November 27, 2001 as part of the General Plan Update. Specific language regulating the development of the project site was included. The PD-36 Zone was approved by the City Council as a “shell” PD Zone, in that no land uses or development standards were established at the time it was created. Discovery Builders’ proposed project seeks to change this language (GPA 01-01) by reducing the percentage of open space and parks, reducing the amount of non-residential acreage, and modifying the hill form that dominates the site.

• An RGMP allocation for 166 units was approved by the City Council on January 11, 2005.

• The Planning Commission denied GPA 01-01 and RZ 05-04 on April 19, 2005 by a 4-1 vote (Commissioner Stirling voted no). The associated applications for Development Agreement, Vesting Tentative Subdivision Map, and Design Review approval were continued indefinitely until the City Council acted on any appeal relative to the General Plan Amendment (GPA) and Rezone (RZ).

Summary of the Planning Commission Hearing – April 19, 2005
The Planning Commission raised concerns relative to the GPA, specifically, the impact of removing a large portion of the hill that dominates the site, the reduction in required open space and parks from 40% to 32%, and the reduction in non-residential acreage from 50 to approximately 35 acres.

The Planning Commission felt that maintaining the policy direction of the General Plan was important. This meant preserving the hill form so that the visual quality of this prominent site would not be diminished, maintaining at least 40% of the SPA for open space and park uses to enhance the public’s use and enjoyment of the site, and providing at least 50 acres of non-residential uses on the site to improve the City’s economic development goals of job generation and sales tax revenue. In addition, the Planning Commission made note of several issues that needed to be addressed with respect to the Design Review portion of the project.

The Planning Commission voted 4-1 (Stirling – no) to deny the GPA and RZ and continue any discussion of the Development Agreement, Vesting Tentative Subdivision Map, and Design Review until the GPA and RZ appeal were decided by the City Council. The developer appealed the denials to the City Council.

• An appeal of the Planning Commission’s decision was considered by the City Council on June 14, 2005; the City Council referred the project back to the Planning Commission to address concerns raised by the Planning Commission.

Summary of the City Council Hearing – June 14, 2005
The appeal was heard by the City Council on June 14, 2005. Three Council Members were present, as Mayor Swisher abstained and Council Member Brockman was not seated yet. Public testimony was taken from the developer and five residents, three of whom were clearly opposed to the project, with the primary concern being the removal of the hill in this prominent location.

After the public hearing was closed, the City Council discussed the pros and cons of the project. The City Council voted 2-1 (Beckstrand – no) to refer the project back to the Planning Commission to work out the issues and concerns with the project.

• The applicant did not make any changes to the project that affected either the GPA or the RZ. The Planning Commission denied GPA 01-01 and RZ 05-04 again on November 1, 2005 by a 3-2 vote (Commissioners Stirling and Pitkin voted no).

Summary of the Planning Commission Hearing – November 1, 2005
The project was presented to the Planning Commission again on November 1, 2005 with a recommendation to consider three options for possible action. Ultimately, after seeing that none of the General Plan related issues had been addressed, the Planning Commission moved (3-2; Stirling and Pitkin – no) to deny the GPA and RZ again, and effectively continue any discussion of the Development Agreement, Vesting Tentative Subdivision Map, and Design Review unless and until the GPA and RZ were approved by the City Council. This decision was subsequently appealed by the applicant to the City Council.

• On November 15, 2005, the Planning Commission memorialized its November 1, 2005, action by approving Resolution No. 05-82 on a 4-0 vote (Londos was absent).

• On November 18, 2005, a letter was received from Discovery Builders appealing the decision of the Planning Commission to deny the GPA and RZ.

• On December 13, 2005, the City Council approved a consent calendar item to set January 10, 2006, as the date of the public hearing for the appeal filed by Discovery Builders.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The developer is proposing to modify the approved 2001 General Plan Land Use Element and site-specific language for SPA E (project site) to include (1) the reduction of the minimum percentage of open space and park uses in SPA E from 40 to 32%; (2) the reduction in the amount of mixed-use business park and regional commercial land from 50 to 35 acres; (3) the allowance for the removal of the prominent hill form by changing the requirement for preservation of the visual prominence of the hill form by adding “to the greatest extent possible”; and (4) the deletion of the reference to using open space instead of soundwalls as a separation/ buffer between the proposed residential units and the State Route 4 Bypass.

The proposed PD-36 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-36 amendments, please see the attached proposed General Plan SPA “E” and PD-36 text language.

ANALYSIS

Subsequent to the City Council’s direction at the June 14, 2005 appeal hearing, staff had several meetings with the applicant (both in-person and via telephone) in an attempt to address the concerns that were raised by the Planning Commission and noted by the City Council. In July, staff met with various City departments to review possible changes to the project that would accommodate the same number of residential units proposed by the applicant, but would also comply with the current General Plan requirements. Staff then met with the applicant to discuss these revisions and provided a conceptual new layout that it believed would accomplish this.

The conceptual plan included the 166 single-family homes proposed by the applicant, including 45 executive homes, by reconfiguring the executive lots and replacing some of the smaller 6,000-square-foot lots with a grouping of small-lot homes (approximately 3,000 to 5,000-square-feet in size), closest to the backside of the Bypass sound wall. The top of the hill would be made into a unique City park site which would serve as a vista point and would connect to the proposed City-wide trail system. Staff discussed with the applicant the importance of preserving the hill form, and how the project could be redesigned to accomplish that. Staff urged the applicant to address the following General Plan-related issues before returning to the Planning Commission.

Percentage of Open Space and Parks
The applicant responded to staff’s suggestions and recommendations by recalculating, rather than expanding, the area to be set aside for open space and parks so that it included the Bypass off-ramp and other areas not normally included as open space or parkland in other residential projects (i.e. landscape planter areas along the project streets), resulting in the 40% minimum required by the General Plan. Staff does not concur with this calculation and believes the percentage of open space and parks area to be 32% if calculated in a manner similar to open space and parks in other developments. A total of 43.18 acres is proposed to be set aside in the project for open space and parks, resulting in open space and parks comprising 32% of the SPA (43.18 acres / 135 acres = 32%), instead of the 40% minimum (or 54 acres) required by the General Plan. Staff was informed by the applicant, however, that there was no interest in making any changes to the project layout. Rather, the applicant indicated a desire to return to the Planning Commission and, if necessary, the City Council as quickly as possible. The applicant made it very clear to staff that too much time and money had already been invested in the submitted design of the project, and changing it would not be feasible.

The applicant’s appeal letter makes reference to General Plan Policy 9.1 of the Conservation/Open Space Element and states that it reads “Transportation and utility corridors serve a dual purpose as parkways.” The letter concludes that based on this policy, the additional areas referenced above (i.e. the Bypass interchange area, landscape planter areas along streets, etc.) should be included in the calculation for open space and park acreage within the project. Staff would like to clarify that the actual General Plan Policy 9.1 reads “Provide for the multiple use of transportation and utility corridors with parkways.” The intent of this policy, in staff’s opinion, is to ensure that parkway corridors can be used by pedestrians and bicyclists, as well as for placement of utilities. The policy does not, however, indicate that parkways should be included in the calculation of usable open space or park area.

State Route 4 Bypass Soundwall and Landscaping
Since the City Council’s June 14, 2005 appeal hearing, new technical information relative to the Sand Creek Road/State Route 4 Bypass interchange design has been made available that requires a new noise study to be prepared in order to determine an adequate soundwall height and configuration for the project. The project noise study was prepared in April of 2004, before design information for the interchange was available, which identified a maximum soundwall height of 14 feet. Although the noise study is not specific about its assumptions, the City Engineer has confirmed that significant changes to the design of this interchange (the four lanes of the Bypass will go over, instead of under, Sand Creek Road) would result in potentially greater noise impacts on the proposed Bridle Gate residential neighborhood and the soundwall, as designed, would be inadequate.

Additionally, although the photomontage that the applicant prepared for the project showed landscaping along the soundwall, the proposed placement of the wall on the project boundary line would not allow any landscaping to be planted on-site. Rather, any landscaping proposed along the soundwall in the limited area between the wall and ramp would need to be planted in the Bypass right-of-way, and the extent of that landscaping would not be known until the Bypass Authority receives a commitment from Caltrans as to who would be responsible for maintaining this landscaping. If the wall were to be moved back from the boundary line of the development, landscaping could be planted by the developer and maintained through the project’s Lighting and Landscape District, rather than through the Parks and Recreation general budget.

Again, staff was informed by the applicant that the process of returning the project to the Planning Commission was taking too long and that noise impacts could simply be conditioned as part of the project approval. Staff is not comfortable recommending approval of this project and deferring such a substantive issue and mitigation(s) to the construction phase. If the wall needs to be constructed higher than 14 feet, staff believes this would have a substantial impact on both the aesthetics from off-site as well as the desirability of these residential units. If the potential implications of this change to the Bypass design on the design of the soundwalls were known at this time as a result of the applicant updating the noise analysis, the options available to the City to address these impacts would be greater. These options could include the following measures: altering the grading plan to include a berm along the Bypass right-of-way, increasing the height and/or using a series of stepped walls, setting the homes back further from the Bypass, altering the elevation of the proposed homes, and using special construction techniques for the homes themselves. Until the results of the noise study are known, staff cannot support the proposed General Plan language to rule out the use of open space and setbacks as possible buffers or separations to address noise impacts as is identified in the current General Plan language for this special planning area.

Visual Study and Hillside Topography at City’s Western Gateway
As a result of the applicant’s unwillingness to consider redesigning the project to address these and the other General Plan consistency issues, staff requested some additional information from the applicant in August of 2005 so that the Planning Commission could examine the potential visual impacts of the project’s elimination of the hillside topography and possible ways for the Planning Commission to study and potentially mitigate it.

Staff requested that an updated photomontage, or visual study, be prepared for the Planning Commission’s use since the one that was originally prepared (1) did not include viewpoints from the areas of concern identified by residents at the June 14, 2005, City Council appeal hearing; (2) were largely inaccurate in their views from the Bypass of the proposed landscaping and soundwalls and loss of the hill form; and (3) did not provide the necessary tools for the Planning Commission to weigh its decision and make the necessary findings to support the requested GPA and RZ. Staff believed that an updated study, peer reviewed by a City-retained consultant for accuracy, would provide the Planning Commission with the information necessary to make an informed decision. The developer agreed to proceed with an updated photomontage and, in the last week of August, paid the necessary deposit for the City to contract with the peer review consultant to oversee its preparation. However, within the following month, staff received notice that the peer reviewer would not be available until at least December. Staff then identified another consultant, but the applicant indicated that the process was taking too long and that an updated photomontage would not be prepared.

It should be noted that the General Plan policy direction for SPA E indicates that it is intended to serve as a gateway into Brentwood from the west. 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, which would likely result from the development of the residentially-designated acreage in a manner which would preserve the prominent hillside topography in this area.

The dominant hill on the project site (located in the vicinity of Lots 149-151) has an existing peak elevation of 231.6 feet. The proposed grading plan shows pad elevations for these lots at 203.0 and 204.0 feet, respectively, or removal of 28.6 feet from the top of the hill. Staff does not believe there is any justification for allowing this to happen, given that changes to the design of the project could preserve the hill form, while at the same time maintaining the number of residential units requested by the applicant. Staff believes that a redesign of this residential layout could preserve some, if not all, of the existing hill in this area. The preparation of an accurate visual study could examine options for perhaps some removal of the hill and possible mitigations, including the planting of trees along the altered ridgeline, to mitigate the loss of some of the existing ridgeline.

However, in the applicant’s appeal letter that is attached as one of the exhibits to this report, the applicant has proposed to add trees along the backs of the lots along the western edge which, in staff’s opinion, would not satisfactorily mitigate the proposed removal of approximately 30 feet from the top of the hill. Rather, in order for this mitigation to be successful and create the appearance of the existing hillside topography, staff believes that the project would need to be substantially redesigned to modify the proposed grading plan to retain a more substantial remnant of this hill form. Staff has reviewed the applicant’s appeal letter in detail and believes that it does not provide substantial evidence to overturn the Planning Commission’s decision.

Staff also notes that the project, largely as a result of the proposed grading plan and subdivision, contradicts several goals, policies, and action programs identified in the City’s General Plan. Examples of these contradictions are as follows:

1. Action Program 5.2.4 of the Land Use Element – Ridgelines: Protect hillsides and ridgelines from urban development to maintain scenic view corridors and preserve an unspoiled natural setting in Brentwood.
2. Policy 2.1 of the Community Design Element – Preserve Views: Preserve views of the surrounding countryside, landmarks and significant natural features such as Mt. Diablo, nearby hills and ridgelines, and view shed corridors within developments.
3. Action Program 8.1.1 of the Conservation/Open Space Element – Cluster Development: Allow cluster development as a means of encouraging the preservation of open space.

Percentage of Non-Residential vs. Residential Area
Staff concurs with one of the proposed changes to the General Plan for this area. At the time of adoption of the General Plan text for this area, it was not known that an approximately 17-acre portion of the 150-plus-acre special planning area would be acquired for the interchange ramp for the Bypass. It was anticipated that 50 acres on the northern half of the area (all lands north of Sand Creek Road) would be available for mixed-use business park and regional commercial development. As shown on the project plans, a 35.28-acre parcel is proposed to 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, due to the 17 acres needed for the Bypass ramp. 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 State Route 4 Bypass Authority for ultimate improvements to the Bypass. Given the constraints associated with this parcel, including the Bypass, Sand Creek, and Sand Creek Road, and the fact that elevations begin to change in the area south of Sand Creek Road, thereby limiting the potential viability to develop non-residential uses in that area, staff believes that the proposed reduction in the non-residential acreage from 50 to 35 acres in this area is appropriate and would be supportive of this change to the General Plan.

Environmental Assessment

As mentioned above, new information was developed by the State Route 4 Bypass Authority regarding the design of the Sand Creek Road interchange, adjacent to the project site, subsequent to the June 14, 2005 City Council hearing. The Bypass will be raised approximately 20 feet in height to go over Sand Creek Road, which was not the case at the time Discovery Builders initially prepared its noise study in 2004. Therefore, as mentioned in the above discussion on the soundwall, noise levels may exceed the City’s maximum standards. Discovery Builders refuses to revise the noise study at this time to address possible mitigations/ modifications to their proposal to address these potential impacts.

Given that (1) new technical information has become available (State Route 4 Bypass) which would have a potentially significant impact on whether acceptable noise levels would be met for the new residences; and (2) the potential significant visual and topographic impacts identified by residents at the public hearings and inaccurate view study submitted by the applicant, there are potentially significant adverse impacts to views, noise, and existing topography that have not, in staff’s opinion, been adequately mitigated. Staff has tried to work with Discovery Builders to examine this new information and develop mitigations, but the applicant has been unwilling to do so at this time. Thus, it is staff’s opinion that these potentially significant adverse impacts trigger the need for an EIR to be prepared prior to approval of this project. However, if the City Council does not concur with staff’s analysis of these abovementioned environmental impacts and the adequacy of the mitigations, they could review the attached Mitigated Negative Declaration and determine that it was adequate, thereby allowing approval of the project without having to prepare an EIR. It should be pointed out that if the City Council opts to deny the project, no further environmental review is necessary. If and when a new project is submitted, staff will need to make a determination as to the appropriate level of environmental review for that project.

CONCLUSION

As a result of the developer not modifying the project to address the concerns related to the proposed GPA that were initially raised by the Planning Commission, the project that was submitted to the Planning Commission on November 1, 2005 was essentially the same one that was presented to the Planning Commission last April and to the City Council last June. As the applicant did not make any changes with respect to the more significant General Plan issues that were raised by the Planning Commission and noted by the City Council, the Planning Commission voted to again deny the proposed project. Additionally, the applicant resisted staff’s efforts to either directly resolve the Planning Commission’s concerns by redesigning the site layout, or provide additional studies to help the Planning Commission in its decision and develop potential mitigations to at least some of its issues.

Staff would like to point out that while the City Council has the above-mentioned four options to consider in deliberating the requested appeal, if the City Council desires substantive changes to the proposed project, staff believes that the most expedient option would be to deny the proposed changes to the General Plan and PD zoning. Given the applicant’s reluctance to make changes, a denial of the proposed project would provide clear direction to the applicant that a substantive redesign of the project is necessary to meet the intent of the City’s adopted General Plan. Both the Planning Commission and staff recommend that the City Council deny the proposed project as currently designed.

FISCAL IMPACT

The proposed amendments to the City’s General Plan and PD zoning for the property would result in a loss of additional jobs and sales tax revenue to the City based on the reduction of the land designated for Mixed-Use Business Park and Regional Commercial development from 50 down to 35 acres.

RECOMMENDATION

Approve a Resolution denying the requested appeal, thereby denying GPA 01-01 and RZ 05-04.

Attachments:
Resolution denying the appeal
Applicant’s appeal letter dated November 18, 2005
Proposed GPA and RZ language
Planning Commission minutes, November 1, 2005
Parks and Open Space Map, dated 12-21-05, date stamped 1-04-06
Vicinity map
Mitigated Negative Declaration prepared for the Bridle Gate project

RESOLUTION NO.

A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF BRENTWOOD DENYING AN APPEAL, FILED BY DISCOVERY BUILDERS, OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION DECISION DENYING A GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT (GPA 01-01) TO MODIFY THE TEXT OF SPECIAL PLANNING AREA E AND A REZONE (RZ 05-04) TO ESTABLISH DEVELOPMENT STANDARDS AND USES FOR THE PROJECT SITE, LOCATED WEST OF THE STATE ROUTE 4 BYPASS, ON BOTH SIDES OF THE SAND CREEK ROAD EXTENSION (APN 019-082-005).

WHEREAS, Discovery Builders, Inc. has requested approval of a General Plan Amendment (GPA 01-01) and Rezone (RZ 05-04) on approximately 135 acres located west of the State Route 4 Bypass, on both sides of the Sand Creek Road extension, in order to facilitate development of the “Bridle Gate” project (DA 04-02; VTSM 8506; and DR 01-12); and

WHEREAS, the applicant has requested a General Plan Amendment to modify the text of Special Planning Area E, including the proposed land use mix; and

WHEREAS, the applicant has concurrently requested a Rezone to establish development standards and uses for the project site; and

WHEREAS, the Planning Commission considered the Bridle Gate project at a public hearing on April 19, 2005, including the requested General Plan Amendment and Rezone, and denied the project on a 4-1 vote by Resolution No. 05-26; and

WHEREAS, the applicant appealed the Planning Commission decision, which was heard by the City Council on June 14, 2005; and

WHEREAS, the City Council referred the project back to the Planning Commission so that all concerns could be addressed, including the reduction in open space and park acreage, the modification of the dominant hill form on the project site, and the reduction in developable non-residential acreage; and

WHEREAS, the applicant did not make any significant changes to the project to address the concerns that were raised by the Planning Commission on April 19, 2005, relative to the General Plan Amendment and Rezone; and

WHEREAS, the Planning Commission considered the Bridle Gate project for a second time at a public hearing on November 1, 2005, including the staff report, supporting documents, public testimony, and all appropriate information that was submitted with the proposed project; and

WHEREAS, the Planning Commission denied the General Plan Amendment and Rezone for a second time on a 3-2 vote, which was memorialized by Resolution on November 15, 2005, by Resolution No. 05-82; and

WHEREAS, in denying the General Plan Amendment and Rezone, the Planning Commission made the following findings:

1. The proposed General Plan Amendment and Rezone have been processed in accordance with the applicable provisions of the California Government Code and the California Environmental Quality Act; and

2. The site, based primarily on topographical constraints, is not physically suitable for the type and the density of development proposed; and

3. The proposed General Plan Amendment, with respect to reducing the amount of mixed-use business park and regional commercial acreage in SPA E, is not appropriate based on the General Plan policy to provide an adequate balance of jobs and housing units; and

4. The proposed General Plan Amendment, with respect to modifying the prominent hill form that dominates SPA E, is not appropriate based on the detrimental visual impact that would result from development of the proposed project; and

5. The proposed General Plan Amendment, with respect to reducing the amount of acreage devoted to open space and parks within SPA E, is not appropriate based on the unique location of the project (i.e. adjacent to the City of Antioch, Sand Creek Road, Sand Creek, and the State Route 4 Bypass); and

6. The proposed Rezone would implement the modification to the text of SPA E, resulting in an undesirable project from a variety of perspectives; and

7. The natural and scenic qualities of the site will not be protected to the extent required by other relevant General Plan policies; and

8. The development of the subject property, in the manner proposed by the applicant, will not be in the best interests of the City, and will be inconsistent with both the General Plan (including all relevant elements thereof) and the Zoning Ordinance.

WHEREAS, on November 17, 2005, Discovery Builders filed an appeal of the Planning Commission decision to deny General Plan Amendment No. 01-01 and Rezone No. 05-04 (the “Appeal”); and

WHEREAS, on December 13, 2005, the City Council set January 10, 2006, as the date of the public hearing for the Appeal; and

WHEREAS, a Notice of Public Hearing for the Appeal was distributed to all property owners of record within 300 feet of the project site and published in the Brentwood Press on December 30, 2005, in accordance with City policies and Government Code Section 65090; and

WHEREAS, on January 10, 2006, the City Council held a noticed public hearing and considered the Appeal, including all supporting information and testimony presented at the January 10, 2006, City Council meeting; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the City Council of the City of Brentwood does hereby:

A. Concur with each of the findings made by the Planning Commission on November 1, 2005, in accordance with Resolution No. 05-82, and make the following additional findings:

1. The potentially significant adverse impacts created by the project related to aesthetics and the fact that existing view corridors would not be preserved, the increase in noise from the State Route 4 Bypass and its potential adverse impact on the proposed single-family homes within the boundaries of the project site, and the significant change in existing topography that would result in the removal of approximately 28 feet from the top of the hill form that dominates the project site, have not been adequately mitigated to a level of less than significant, for purposes of compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act, which thereby precludes the ability to approve the project without further environmental review.

2. The proposed project is inconsistent with Action Program 5.2.4 of the City of Brentwood General Plan Land Use Element related to ridgelines, with the stated intent to “Protect hillsides and ridgelines from urban development to maintain scenic view corridors and preserve an unspoiled natural setting in Brentwood”, in that the proposed project would remove approximately 28 feet from the top of the hill form that dominates the project site in order to develop single-family homes, thereby negatively impacting the scenic view corridor and the unspoiled natural setting that are currently provided by the hill.

3. The proposed project is inconsistent with Policy 2.1 of the City of Brentwood General Plan Community Design Element related to the preservation of views, with the stated intent to “Preserve views of the surrounding countryside, landmarks and significant natural features such as Mt. Diablo, nearby hills and ridgelines, and view shed corridors within developments”, in that the proposed project would negatively impact the views of the hill form within the project site and the backdrop of Mt. Diablo by removing a significant portion of the top of the hill and constructing single-family homes on the resulting pads.

4. The proposed project is inconsistent with Action Program 8.1.1 of the City of Brentwood General Plan Conservation/Open Space Element related to cluster development, with the stated intent to “Allow cluster development as a means of encouraging the preservation of open space”, in that the proposed project does not utilize cluster development to maximize the development potential of the project site, thereby resulting in a reduction of open space and park acreage that is required by Special Planning Area E of the General Plan.

B. Uphold the Planning Commission's decision to deny General Plan Amendment No. 01-01 and Rezone No. 05-04, and deny the appeal filed by Discovery Builders.

PASSED by the City Council of the City of Brentwood at its regular meting on the 10th day of January, 2006, by the following vote:
 

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