Need For Meaningful Public Input On Proposed 1388 Bancroft Development
Landlord Tom Silva is the owner of 1388 Bancroft Avenue and has submitted plans to tear down the two buildings at the site and construct a 45-unit apartment complex at the site. The complex will contain 43 two-bedroom, two bath units and 2 three-bedroom units. 47 parking spaces are planned for residents with 8 additional spaces for visitors. Current zoning code regulations - which were put in place just two years ago after extensive community input - require that all new multi-family residential developments provide adequate on-site parking, defined as 1.5 spaces for each one-bedroom and studio unit, 2.25 spaces for each two-bedroom unit, and 2.5 spaces for each three-bedroom unit. Moreover, the number of units planned at the site - 45 - is approximately 50% greater than allowed under the zoning code (again just updated in 2016). Silva is seeking an exemption from these requirements, and has the support of City staff. Finally, Silva's development plan does not contain any measures in coordination with the City and School District to mitigate the dangerous drop off area for students attending Bancroft Middle School, which is immediately across the street from the project. The City required Tom Silva to conduct a community meeting on the development. Silva did not publicize the meeting and most people in the neighborhood were unaware of it. The City calendared review of the development by the Planning Commission for this Thursday, December 20th, at 7 p.m. at City Hall. This is an open meeting. The public is welcome to attend and offer input. Should the Planning Commission, as expected, approve the project, the proposal will be advanced for review and approval/denial by the City Council on Tuesday, January 22nd, at a regular City Council meeting. While I support new housing development in San Leandro in accordance with our zoning code and specifically at 1388 Bancroft, and recognize Silva has made positive changes in the project from its original version, I do not support Silva's proposal in its current form. I am concerned as to its impact on the nearby residential neighborhood and middle school. The project, in its current form, would also set a negative Citywide precedent of reducing required parking to nearly 1 space per unit (regardless of the number of bedrooms in each unit) for all multi-family developments, even ones outside of our downtown and transit oriented development zone. Irrespective of the merits of the proposal, I believe the Mayor and City Council should schedule a community meeting for staff to give a summary of the project, receive input from the community and answer questions posed by the community. Thereafter, the City Council and staff can reflect on the input and, as appropriate, insist upon modifications in the development prior to its final review by the City Council. City Council meetings do not allow for the give and take and extended discussion that can occur at a community meeting. Moreover, there are always other items on the agenda at City Council meetings which can lead to the shortening of the amount of time each speaker may be permitted to comment on an issue of widespread community concern.