City officials have approved possible alterations to a 2,789-unit housing project along Oakley’s eastern boundary that involve the addition of two-story town homes and senior housing, and the possible removal of commercial land uses and a planned elementary school.
The proposed changes involve two of four project segments — 2,488 units — slated for the northwest corner of Bethel Island and East Cypress roads and near Summer Lake South.
The project’s final maps and design review are likely to go before the council for approval sometime before December 2025, when the development agreements expire, said Nancy Marquez-Suarez, assistant to the city manager.
At least some of the proposed land plan changes stem from the environmental permitting process that required extensive wetland and open-space preservation. In turn, the overall planned unit count has been reduced by 74 — to the current 2,789 from its original plan of 2,863 units.
“As a result of that environmental permitting, they had to scale back substantially in order to preserve wetland and also open space for the development,” said Community Development Director Joshua McMurray.
Project alterations on the table include replacing an estimated 14.7 acres of planned commercial land uses with 234 two-story attached townhome units, as part of the 1,283 units planned for the northwest corner of Bethel Island and East Cypress Roads.
Additionally, project leaders intend to include 112 age-restricted units among the 1,205-unit subdivision planned south and southwest of Summer Lake South.
Applicant John Baayoun claimed this inclusion of senior housing means that a planned Knightsen Elementary School District school in the area is no longer needed.
“It does diminish the requirement for the production of kids for that school,” he said.
City officials noted that the commercial land and school removal plans include stipulations to ensure that they are appropriate moves prior to the changes being finalized.
The Knightsen school district will be required to submit a letter acknowledging that the school site is no longer needed.
A detailed economic analysis and feasibility study of the scrapped commercial area will also be conducted to gauge current market conditions and ensure that the land is not commercially viable.
“That acreage was based on a land plan that, until recently, did not take into account the significant amount of mitigation that would have been required to impact the wetlands,” McMurray said. “Now that we have all the relevant information, we consider that 46.6 acres to be overly ambitious and not realistic, based on the wetland permitting requirements at the federal level.”
Councilmember Claire Alaura requested that the council, and not just city staff, review the economic analysis that materializes.
“I would like to see that report go to the future council prior to the final map for the council to analyze at that time,” she said.
Mayor Kevin Romick added that both projects will be required to join the city’s community facilities district, which requires associated property owners to pay yearly toward East Contra Costa Fire Protection District station staffing.
The three-station district — one each in Brentwood, Oakley and Discovery Bay — covers 249 square miles and over 128,000 residents.
City officials added that traffic aiding plans will eventually call for a Rock Slough bridge to be constructed to assist motorists leaving the area. Additionally, most of East Cypress Road will eventually be expanded to two lanes in each direction with a landscaped median, with some of it being three lanes in each direction.
For more information on the planned 1,205-unit subdivision near Summer Lake South, visit https://bit.ly/3m602VM.
For more information on the planned 1,283-unit subdivision at the northwest corner of Bethel Island and East Cypress Roads, visit bit.ly/39dhOD3.