James Hutchins, Livermore
Eden Housing Inc. was approved by the city council in November 2018 to build 130 units of studio and one-bedroom apartments at the old Lucky site.
However, in the December 2020 workshop, Eden Housing stated they could not meet the tax credit standards’ minimum unit size unless they increased the size of the buildings.
Now here we are, two years later, and Eden Housing comes back at the last minute, against the deadlines, saying they need to increase the building sizes by 42%, and they want to include apartments of up to three bedrooms. Another consequence of this increase is the reduction of the park size by 32%, much of which will be delegated to hardscape, thereby reducing the greenspace by more than half.
Additionally, Eden Housing has promised that workforce housing would be a part of the project. Eden Housing used the term ‘workforce housing’ again in last month’s workshop.However, we have subsequently learned there will be no workforce housing. HUD defines workforce housing as 80 to 120% of the area’s median income. However, all the units are committed to homeless and low income only.
This leaves no housing available for teachers, police officers, or nurses, etc. Livermore’s citizens were promised one plan and are now being handed something quite different.
Eden Housing failed to accurately represent the three-dimensional context of the four-story buildings on both sides of L Street, thus concealing the resultant ‘canyon effect.’ Entrance and egress to the project’s underground parking garage is located on L Street, which will cause traffic jams. The city council ranked traffic #4 in their January 2018 list of priorities.
The project’s parking does not meet Livermore’s standards of 1.1 spaces per unit. Overflow parking will then, out of necessity, consume nearby spaces needed for downtown restaurants, businesses, and special events. This fails to meet the city council’s #1 priority in Livermore – to improve parking.
The revised Eden Housing project is no longer an acceptable plan for our downtown. They changed what was promised and agreed to by the people. These changes are inherently unfair to the people of Livermore, who deserve full clarity and transparency in all issues that relate to the downtown planning.
Eden Housing must determine how to achieve their goals without compromising the city’s stated values and priorities. An alternate location across Railroad Avenue would alleviate these problems.