September 29, 2005
Housing developer likes chance of project's approval
By GREG MOBERLY, Times-Herald staff writer
BENICIA - A developer proposing five single-family homes in the historic Benicia Arsenal says despite residents' concerns he anticipates his project stands a better chance of approval than a larger development in 2001.
Benicia development group, Park Investors, LLC, is proposing to raze a one-time Arsenal building to put up five town home style residences at 1451 Park Road. The building, which sits mostly vacant, was used as a day care center as recently as last year.
Tom Adams, president of Park Investors LLC, said his project isn't like the unsuccessful plan to build 15 single family homes on Jefferson Street. That project was more problematic because of its size and it was proposed for a vacant lot, he said.
The proposed Jefferson Park Villas would be adjacent to a block of residential homes.
Adams' proposal is numerous steps away from final consideration. Several residents, including those who fought against the Jefferson Street plan four years ago, already have voiced concerns at the city's Historic Preservation Review Commission or Planning Commission.
"Like it or not, the Arsenal Conservation Plan recommends (the 1451 Park Road) building be replaced or rebuilt," Adams said in response to the concerns he's heard.
A 2003 mayoral candidate, Donnell Rubay, said she neither is for, nor against the project. Still, Rubay says she has questions.
Rubay said she wants an Arsenal master plan completed, perhaps before the project moves ahead.
Councilman Tom Campbell is proposing an Arsenal Master Plan Committee so residents of divergent interests can hash out how they want the area developed.
"I want mediation to defuse the hostilities," Campbell said of past and anticipated Arsenal plans.
But Adams said since he's submitted his plan before the City Council considers a possible Arsenal Master Plan Committee he shouldn't be subject to that decision.
The city's Historic Preservation Review Commission has yet to complete a list of design standards it will allow in Arsenal developments, Rubay said.
Rubay also said she's concerned what the development may mean for the ratio of historic buildings to new development.
Councilwoman Elizabeth Patterson wants the council to consider a moratorium but adds she she doesn't favor instituting one. She also said she wants zoning standards focusing on mixed uses considered for the Arsenal.
- E-mail Greg Moberly at GMoberly@thnewsnet.com or call 553-6833.
Monday, October 03, 2005
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