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.
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.