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Planners, Property Owners Talk Parking at Lafayette's Plaza Way

Property owners weigh in on new ideas, planning subcommittee moves forward with plan -- and, yes, Fentons is still interested in setting up shop at the Park Theater.

 

The Lafayette City Council Planning Subcommittee met Tuesday afternoon to discuss the future of Plaza Way.

A main obstacle for developers hoping to draw in new tenants at Plaza Way has been parking requirements, which are nearly impossible to meet with the way the area is currently set up.

The Lafayette City Council granted the Planning Department $40,000 to prepare a survey of the properties on Plaza Way, prepare vision maps and to update design guidelines for buildings on Plaza Way.

Lindy Chan and Sarah Allen of the City of Lafayette Planning staff presented a potential historic overlay plan for the Plaza Way area, which would allow for businesses to share a parking lot behind the storefronts. This overlay would lessen strict parking requirements, which would allow for new businesses to come in.

The property owners who would be affected by this overlay include the Poy family, the Park Theater group, the Assistance League of Diablo Valley, the McNeil property owners, the Seyranian property owners and the Campana family.

A representative of the Campanas, who own the building in the Plaza Way area, said that they were not interested in being part of this agreement, and were worried that other people would be using their parking lot.

Both Planning and Building Manager Niroop Srivasta and City Manager Steve Falk made it clear that their main goal with this project was to help the area, and the businesses, grow. 

Addressing a hot topic around town, Gary Patterson, a representative of the Park Theater, said that was still “very interested” and that everyone involved was still committed to bringing them to the Park Theater space. However, the parking issue has prevented them from moving forward with their plans.  

The Poy family, owners of a large amount of the property in the Plaza Way area, have gotten design review approval on their plans for their property, but cannot begin work until the parking issue is resolved. Some of the Poy property has been empty for 7 years, due to both the strict parking requirements and retail trends.

From here, the plan will go through environmental analysis and will be seen by other city committees. The overlay will then be brought to the City Council. Srivasta said that they were looking to have the overlay approved by September or October of this year, so developers could start working as soon as possible. 

Gary Peare June 28, 2012 at 03:02 PM
To get enough parking you have to bulldoze everything between Mt. Diablo and Lafayette Circle and turn it into a parking lot. That'll be $40,000, please.
Momof3 June 28, 2012 at 08:03 PM
What about the two lots behind the theater that sit empty save 2 to 3 cars EVERY DAY? Who owns those?
Hannah Strumwasser June 28, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Momof3- Not exactly sure which parking lots you're talking about, but property owners at the meeting pointed out that the reason these lots are empty so often is because the store fronts are empty, and have been for quite some time. Even though it may seem like there are a lot of empty spots, there aren't enough for the City of Lafayette parking requirements.
Momof3 June 28, 2012 at 09:42 PM
One says "absolutely no theater parking" and one is OakBridge Parking Facility I think? How many spots does the city require them to provide? Doesn't it make sense to deal with a parking situation after the fact (if it does in fact become an issue) and not have our city look like a retail and commercial wasteland in the interim? I'd be fine with razing Great Wall for more spots as well. Just FYI.
Margie B June 29, 2012 at 02:46 AM
This is a great article, Hannah. I was sitting on your right at the meeting. This is an accurate account of what transpired at the meeting. Thank you!
bcrane1 July 20, 2012 at 05:17 PM
The parking lots Momof3 mentioned are along the south side of Golden Gate way, east of the theater. There are two separate lots. One lot inparticular usually has one car in it, but ~ 2 dozen spaces. It's reserved parking for the building across the street. I've heard the property owner is not agreeable to those spaces being used for general Plaza parking. As if someday his building will start attracting shoppers. These property owners (including Campana) should realize that opening up their parking spaces for Plaza Way tenants and Fenton's would actually mean more business for them.

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