In March 2011, the O’Brien Land Company (the “Developer”) submitted to the City of Lafayette an application for a project known as the Terraces of Lafayette (the “Project”). The application was for 315 moderate-income apartments on a 22-acre parcel located at the southwest corner of Deer Hill Road and Pleasant Hill Road. At the time, the parcel was zoned APO, for professional offices and multifamily residential units, with a density of up to 35 dwelling units per acre. The Project was deemed complete by the City in July 2011, and a final Environmental Impact Report was certified by the City Council in August 2013.
Hoping to address community concerns about the Project, the City, in December 2013, introduced an alternative known as Homes at Deer Hill (“Project Alternative”). This alternative was thought to be more in keeping with Lafayette’s semi-rural character, and would build 44 single-family homes, a community park with a multi-purpose athletic field, playground, a dog park and a parking lot. In 2014, the City and the Developer entered into a Project Alternative Process Agreement suspending the Terraces Project until the Homes at Deer Hill Project Alternative could be reviewed by the City. The agreement also held that if the Homes at Deer Hill project alternative application, the Developer maintained the right to resume the original Terraces of Lafayette Project.
A Supplemental Environmental Impact Report was prepared and certified, and in September 2015, the City Council approved the Homes at Deer Hill Project Alternative. The General Plan designation for the subject property was changed from Administrative Professional Office (APO) to Low Density Single Family Residential (SFR-LD) by City Council Resolution 2015-51. The Council also adopted Ordinance 641, which, in part, rezoned the property to Single Family Residential District (R-20) and to Planned Unit Development (P1). This resulted in down-zoning of the property from more than 700 units to 44 units.
A citizens group known as Save Lafayette sued the City in 2016. The lawsuit called for the City to either place a referendum concerning the Project on the ballot or rescind Ordinance 641, described above. The trial court found in the City’s favor, but the Court of Appeals overturned the trial court ruling and the City placed a referendum, Measure L, on the June 5, 2018 ballot. Measure L asked residents to vote yes or no on the Homes at Deer Hill Project Alternative. Measure L failed and the approval of the Homes at Deer Hill was reversed.
On June 15, 2018 the Developer formally asked the City to end the 2014 suspension and resume processing the original 2011 Terraces of Lafayette Project. Processing of the original 2011 application by the City of Lafayette is currently underway. On Monday, April 29, 2019 a joint meeting of the City Council and Planning Commission was held where staff provided an update on the status of the application. The staff report and attachments (including public comment letters) may be accessed here; staff's digital presentation can be viewed here. The video of the April 29th City Council and Planning Commission special meeting is available on the City of Lafayette's YouTube channel here. The applicant’s representative presented an annotated Site Plan exhibit of proposed changes; this graphic is available here. At the conclusion of the meeting, staff was directed by Council to hire Impact Sciences to complete an environmental review under CEQA of the 2011 Terraces of Lafayette project. The Planning Commission requested that upon completion of the CEQA determination, the Project go to the Transportation and Circulation Commission for review before returning to the Planning Commission on the merits of the Project. You can find information and documents for the original 2011 project here.
As several years have passed since the Terraces of Lafayette Environmental Impact Report ("EIR") was certified in August 2013, additional environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA") is proceeding. You can read more about the process and view documents here.
Correspondence and Public Comments
The Planning Commission and Transportation & Circulation Commission held a joint session public hearing on January 21, 2020. You can find the agenda, staff report, minutes and meeting audio on the City's Public Meetings web page here. The City had anticipated a second Planning Commission meeting on the Terraces of Lafayette application on April 27, 2020. This meeting would provide the Commission with the Addendum to the certified Environmental Impact Report and a staff report on the project. To allow the City’s consultant and staff time to complete the Addendum and staff report, the matter was rescheduled to May 18, 2020. The Addendum and staff report were published on the City’s web site on May 4, 2020 here. Links to the Addendum, plans and related documents can be found at the end of the staff report.
On May 18, 2020 the Planning Commission held a nearly-seven-hour public hearing which concluded with the Commission voting to continue the matter to June 15, 2020 and directing staff to provide additional information regarding traffic impact analysis and potential impacts on emergency evacuations. Staff and the City’s consultants worked diligently to prepare the requested information and additional time was required to complete the task. Therefore, the Terraces of Lafayette was not discussed by the Planning Commission on June 15, 2020; the matter was continued to a special Planning Commission meeting on Monday, June 29, 2020.
At the direction of the Mayor, the hearing date was continued to a special meeting the following day – Tuesday, June 30 at 5:00 PM. The early start time will ensure the Commission has adequate time to receive all public comments, deliberate, and render a decision. Consistent with the Brown Act, the City’s past practice has provided the opportunity for members of the public to comment on any item on the agenda. While the Planning Commission closed the public hearing on May 18, 2020, it did not take action on the application at that time. Therefore, members of the public will be able to provide additional comments to the Planning Commission on June 30th by using the link published in the meeting agenda
The materials for the June 30, 2020 meeting can be found here. After 7-1/2 hours of staff and consultant presentation, public comment and deliberation, the Planning Commission approved the Project. The CEQA Notice of Determination and Addendum to the Certified Environmental Impact Report can be found here.
If you would like to receive notification of meetings on the Terraces of Lafayette project before any of the City’s hearing bodies, please visit the City's e-notification page and check off “Project – Terraces of Lafayette.”
If you have any questions, please contact Greg Wolff, (925) 299-3204.