The Lafayette planning commission Monday heard public comment on the project proposal for the Lafayette Town Center Phase III.
The project is a 74-unit residential building on Dewing Ave., near the Lafayette BART station. Its multi-storied roof line reaches as high as five stories in places, a height which has drawn criticism from the project's detractors.
Town Center would require an amendment to the BART block specific plan, a zoning amendment, and design review approval.
After meeting with the design review commission twice, applicant KB Homes has come back with a revised project that includes a reduced number of units and a smaller footprint, according to Senior Vice President of KB Homes Northern California, Ray Panek.
The public differed on their opinions regarding the project, with some maintaining the project was correct for the space, while others called the building height “offensive” and inappropriate for the location.
Supporters cited sustainability and increased high-density housing as positive aspects of the project.
“I believe strongly… that as a responsible community we need to use our spaces in a more responsible way. This project, in its location, is very appropriate for us moving into the 21st century,” said Lafayette’s Sean Cooley.
On the other side, Matt Heavey of Lafayette called the height of the building “staggering,” and was concerned that the project does not represent the character of Lafayette. Many said they are worried that the project will block the views of the hillside in Lafayette, and that it will increase traffic congestion in downtown.
While most of the commission supported a residential project on this site, many were disappointed with the design and potential negative impacts of this specific project.
Commissioner Karen Maggio said she didn’t like the “boxy” architecture of the building.
“I don’t want to be too light about this, but it’s like a potato head and you just keep changing the nose and the ears and the different parts, but you’ve got the same, boxy structure,” Maggio said.
The discussion of the project was continued to the Sep. 4 planning commission meeting. After the meeting, the commission will forward a recommendation to the city council.
What do you think about this project? Does Lafayette need more housing downtown? Is it too big? Share your thoughts in the comments below.