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The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors has given the green light to a proposed six-story, 284-unit apartment building just north of the Pleasant Hill-Contra Costa Centre BART station.
In voting unanimously this past Tuesday to reject two appeals of the project by citizen groups and to approve various aspects of the Del Hombre Apartments project, the board said high-density housing is needed.
“If there is a place to build a high-density project, it’s right near a BART station,” Supervisor Candace Andersen said.
The Del Hombre project, proposed by the Houston-based Hanover Company, will be built on a 2.4-acre parcel on Del Hombre Lane between Roble Road and Honey Trail just northeast of the BART station. The property is in an unincorporated part of the county just outside the borders of both Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill.
The two appeals to the project were filed in June, contending the apartment project would cause traffic problems, would be an anti-environmental development, doesn’t include enough parking, would tax water resources and would result in too many trees (161) being taken out, among other perceived shortcomings.
Michael Di Geronimo, an attorney representing the Contra Costa Citizens in Favor of Reasonable Growth, one of the groups to appeal, told the supervisors they don’t mind housing on that site, but that a smaller, more thoroughly considered project of 130 to 140 units would be better.
“There’s almost no public support for this project except from the developer,” Di Geronimo told the supervisors. “Don’t force us to file a lawsuit to make changes to this project.”
But the supervisors unanimously agreed that this land about 500 feet from the BART station is exactly the right place for such a project.
Supervisor Karen Mitchoff denied allegations that a vote to approve the project was a done deal.
She also rejected the notion that county officials have not been reaching out or listening to residents’ concerns throughout the approval process. That there have been developer concessions on some points, she said, proves that.
“This is not a done deal, but it is a good deal,” Mitchoff said.
Among the objectors to the project approval on Tuesday were a handful of union members, one of whom accused developer Hanover of hiring “bottom-feeder contractors” who work at lower rates than area union laborers.
Mitchoff and Supervisor John Gioia proposed adding language to the approvals saying that firms from the nine Bay Area counties would be given extra consideration for hiring as subcontractors on the project. Scott Youdall, a development partner with Hanover, agreed to that language.