By Jim Caroompas
Tuesday’s Orinda City Council meeting was packed once again with opponents to the proposed Housing Element, which would essentially require the city to rezone some property to permit the construction of 64 very low, and low income homes.
The site for those homes currently being eyed by the city is a 2.3-acre parcel behind Santa Maria Church near Altadina Dr. Church officials said they have no present plans to sell the property. The property is now zoned for 10 homes per acre, but the is considering doubling the number of homes per acre on the site.
According to the Contra Costa Times, the council took no action on the plan, which needs to be finalized and submitted to the state for approval by January. But opponents again took to the podium to charge city staff with being secretive in its drafting of the plan, and bypassing the public process.
Staff members countered with a timeline that showed a process that began in 2010 and included a number of public meetings.
The heart of the issue seems to be the requirement for low and very low income housing in Orinda.
Proponents say that all cities in the state should be required to provide a mix of housing options for all its residents, including upscale communities like Orinda. That is, in fact, what the state law requires.
Opponents counter that it should not be up to the state to decide such issues, but the community itself.
According to 24/680, city staff was directed to revise the draft for review at the next council meeting on Sept. 17 to, among other things, reflect that the city will seek sites other than the Santa Maria site for rezoning.