Superior Court upholds Lafayette’s controversial 315-unit housing project

By Shomik Mukherjee, East Bay Times, November 20, 2021

A proposal to build 315 apartment units — one that has roiled the city for years — has cleared a major legal [hurdle] after a Contra Costa County judge struck down claims by [Save Lafayette, a citizen group,] that it wouldn’t be environmentally sound.

“The apartments, including 63 affordable units, would be spread across 14 buildings. The project also includes a two-story clubhouse, leasing office, and 550 parking spaces, all on a 22-acre site at Deer Hill and Pleasant Hill roads.

“Save Lafayette’s previous challenges of the development resulted in unintended consequences. In 2018, after having succeeded through its persistent resistance to the apartments to force O’Brien Homes to submit a scaled-down plan of 44 houses, the group … qualified [and won] a ballot referendum asking voters to reject the latest plan too.

“But then, the state legislature approved the 2019 Housing Accountability Act, which removes some local control over housing projects that guarantee a certain number of affordable units. O’Brien Homes subsequently resubmitted its original 315-apartments proposal.”

“For attorney Bryan Wenter, who represents O’Brien Homes, the drawn-out battle illustrated why California has a housing crisis.”

Read the full article here. (~3 min.)

NOTE: For a longer version with more images, read the story in the Contra Costa Herald here.

Previously in roundup: “The Terraces has been the subject of 20 public hearings since it was first proposed in March 2011. But a new housing law, Senate Bill 330…, limits the number of public hearings to five for new applications.” Covid-19 delayed a key vote scheduled for March 2020 on the original proposal after a hearing in February. Read that story here.

Due-process concerns over further hearings compelled the city council to vote on the project in August 2020. Read about Lafayette’s approval in August 2020 here.

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