A proposed Springtown residential development is expected to return to the Livermore City Council for consideration later this summer.
The Lassen Road Townhomes Project — consisting of 183 two- and three-story townhouses, open space and public trails — is planned for what is now 35 undeveloped acres of mostly industrial and agricultural land accessed by Lessen Road, northwest of I-580 near the First Street overpass.
The Livermore Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of the development at its June 16 meeting, which will see council consideration in the coming months.
Approval will require a general plan amendment to change the current land-use zoning from low intensity industrial, limited agriculture and commercial to urban high density residential, as well as open space designations.
Livermore’s planning staff says the project is otherwise consistent with other provisions of the general plan and will help create a neighborhood with a mix of housing types, densities and affordability levels to meet the needs of Livermore residents.
When annexed into the city in 1981, the land known as the Springtown Business Complex, was designated for future development of light industrial, limited agriculture and commercial uses. However, according to the developer, it has remained undeveloped since then, despite efforts to market it for those uses.
Some residents who live near the project site voiced concern about the project’s potential impact on traffic congestion, noting Springtown traffic merging onto I-580 often backs up from monitoring lights onto surface streets during normal peak travel hours. They questioned the city’s environmental analysis that concluded the additional dwellings would not significantly impact wait times at nearby intersections.
The Livermore City Council in May 2019 agreed to consider both the general plan amendment and the housing development proposal and entitlements together. At the time, it also authorized the city’s planning staff to negotiate the terms of a development agreement with the property owner’s developer WestGate Ventures of San Ramon.
Over the past year, detailed terms of a development agreement have been negotiated. Environmental review of the project’s impacts on the surrounding areas has also been completed. The environmental study showed no significant adverse environmental impacts would result from the project.
Under the proposal, the townhomes would be clustered on 12 acres closest to existing roads and infrastructure, with the remaining 23 acres permanently preserved as open space for public use, scenic conservation and habitat protection.
The project’s setbacks would minimize views of the houses from adjacent neighborhoods, and would use native tree plantings and earthen berms to further minimize views from I-580 and surrounding areas.
It would include promenades and pathways accessible to the public and provide recreational opportunities, parklets, a community garden, and a half-acre “tot lot” with playground equipment, amphitheater and other park amenities.
“One of our big goals from the get-go was we wanted to make our open space accessible to the public,” said Adam Tennant, a principal with WestGate.
The development agreement also requires the developer to help fill significant gaps in the Livermore trail system and build an extension of the Las Positas Trial stretching across the project site and onto adjacent property — eventually linking up with the Las Colinas overpass where it would provide a safe and comfortable way for bicyclists and pedestrians to cross the I-580.
The townhomes would vary in size from around 1,200 square-feet to 1,900 square-feet, with three different designs based on classical and contemporary farmhouse styles. Landscaping would include areas planted with orchards and vineyards consistent with the traditional character of Livermore.
Andy Ross, an associate planner with the city, said the development agreement also makes the developer responsible for securing upgrades to a new sewer trunk line for Springtown.
Fourteen of the units spread across the site would be set aside as affordable housing units for low and moderate-income households. The developer would also be required to pay the city in-lieu fees equivalent to an additional 14 units for future affordable housing development elsewhere in the city.
For more information, see item 5.03 and click “report” at https://bit.ly/Indy_SpringtownReport.