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CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM NO. 5


Meeting Date: January 9, 2007

Subject/Title: Status Report on Brentwood Boulevard Specific Plan

Prepared by: Winston Rhodes, Senior Planner

Submitted by: Howard Sword, Director, Community Development


RECOMMENDATION
Receive and file status report.

BACKGROUND
During the 2001 General Plan Update process, the preparation of the Downtown Specific Plan was called for within the General Plan Land Use Element. Subsequent to the General Plan update, the City Council called for the preparation of three separate specific plans to provide additional land use guidance. A contract was approved with the consulting firm of Freedman, Tung, and Bottomley (FTB) to prepare three specific plans, the Downtown Specific Plan, the Empire Triangle Specific Plan, and the Brentwood Boulevard Specific Plan. During that time, the decision was made not to pursue the Empire Triangle Specific Plan allowing staff to focus on what was considered to be the most time-sensitive plan, the Downtown Specific Plan, due to the imminent completion of the Highway 4 Bypass and the pressures of retail development along that area and its potential impact on the City’s Downtown. City staff successfully completed the Downtown Specific Plan in 2005 and is working towards the completion of the Brentwood Boulevard Specific Plan to achieve action programs listed in the Community Design, Housing and Economic Development portions of the General Plan.

Joint workshops with the Council and Planning Commission, and community workshops were held on October 2, 2003, January 27, 2004, February 17, 2004, June 29, 2005 and August 10, 2005. Information regarding economic conditions and the patterns of potential development were discussed that formed the basis of the need to shift the land use away from existing retail/commercial zoning to avoid implications of additional blighting pressures. In anticipation of the State Route 4 Bypass and the relinquishment by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) of Brentwood Boulevard, the community chose to transform the under-utilized commercial corridor into a “grand boulevard” with new neighborhoods and workplace districts. Community consensus supporting the vision of a grand boulevard for the Brentwood Boulevard Specific Plan (BBSP) area was achieved by the end of the final workshop on August 10, 2005. The Council and Planning Commission directed staff to move forward to continue the work to prepare a document that would allow for the implementation of this vision.

The first administrative draft of the BBSP from the consulting firm of FTB, was delivered to City staff in October 2005. It became apparent to staff at that time that a different approach than the form-based zoning proposed by the consultant was needed in order to appropriately assess future land use and circulation within the BBSP area. It was also apparent that additional outreach to property owners within the Plan Area would be beneficial to achieving successful implementation of the Plan. After discussing the city concerns about the administrative draft with FTB, staff determined that the BBSP should be completed by staff.

On April 11, 2006, the City Council received a proposed work plan and schedule for preparation by staff of the remaining work needed to successfully complete the BBSP. An updated work plan is attached identifying the remaining steps in the BBSP preparation process.

CURRENT STATUS
Staff has made considerable progress on completing the BBSP during 2006 based on the April 11 work plan. A detailed parcel-specific land use inventory of existing uses has been completed. Outreach meetings were held with property owners of 5 or more acres in March and April 2006 to hear their opinions and concerns related to the concept of shifting land use away from retail commercial uses to residential and office/light industrial workplace districts.

The Land Use Economics Report for the Specific Plan Corridor was prepared during the months of April to July 2006. This Report identified the shift in land use demands that apply to the Corridor and their implications for the specific planning effort. The Report estimated the amount of land required if the City is to meet its jobs goal and compared it to the amount of vacant land currently zoned for workplaces. It does not address market demand, in other words, whether or not land zoned for workplace is “ripe” in today’s real estate market. Rather, it was based on meeting the General Plan’s goal to provide a high proportion of local residents with job opportunities that match their skills (1.5 jobs per household). The Report inventoried the remaining “job lands” within the City to accommodate the most likely industry mix of jobs in Brentwood. The Report concluded that the City has a deficit of 45 acres of industrial-zoned land, a deficit of 136 acres of office-zoned land, and a surplus of 110 acres of retail-zoned land if the City is to meet its General Plan jobs goal. The Report states: “To pre-empt the future deficit of workplace districts, to avoid marginal retail use along the Brentwood Boulevard Corridor that is now allowed, and to achieve the City’s economic goal for job creation, the Specific Plan should rezone land to encourage the development of office complexes, business parks and light/medium industrial projects in the Corridor. The real estate economics of the current and likely future situation suggest that a significant portion of highway commercial and retail zoning along the Corridor should also be switched to residential.” This change in land use is also needed due to the many small, irregularly shaped parcels within the Brentwood Boulevard corridor that would be difficult to assemble for viable retail commercial development.

Meetings with various city departments regarding circulation, existing and new infrastructure, and new parks and trails were held during summer 2006. Land use patterns and a zoning and circulation map were developed, taking into consideration the General Plan, the Land Use Economics Report and other City service plans in fall 2006. Residential Design Guidelines that will be utilized with the Specific Plan have been completed and approved by the City Council. Three more meetings were held with stakeholders in November and December 2006 to review potential land use and circulation changes within the three districts (i.e. northern, central, and southern) that comprise the Specific Plan Area. Recent meetings with BART regarding substantial delays to potential eBART service extension to Brentwood have caused portions of Special Planning Area (SPA) B, which were previously to be studied in an eBART Ridership Development Plan, to be added into the BBSP area.

Staff has been meeting regularly with DeNova Homes, the current prospective developer of the approximately 67-acre SPA A area. We have provided them with considerable information and feedback about roadway circulation and infrastructure improvements, site planning, potential uses, park size and locations, frontage elevation requirements, housing densities, affordable housing requirements, and policies regarding growth management. Our intention is to continue to work cooperatively with DeNova Homes to encourage proposed development that is consistent with the objectives of the Specific Plan, reflects the Land Use Economics Report recommendations, and provides the visual quality characteristic of the “Grand Boulevard” concept previously endorsed by the City Council.

Specific plan policies, land use and financing alternatives to achieve the various City actions to implement the Plan have been researched and text continues to be written. Further discussions amongst City departments, with property owners, and outside agencies as well as public meetings are expected as the draft plan is formulated. A joint City Council and Planning Commission Workshop will be scheduled to review a preferred land alternative for further study. Once a preferred land use alternative has been endorsed by the City Council, a proposal and scope of work for preparation of an Environmental Impact Report will be brought forward to satisfy legal requirements so the City Council could consider the BBSP in 2007. Staff will keep the Council updated on the progress of the BBSP as the work continues.

FISCAL IMPACT
No funding is required at this time.

Attachment:
Revised Brentwood Boulevard Project Schedule, January 2007

 

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