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Up, Up and Away: First Public Hearing Held for Lafayette Downtown Specific Plan

Planning Commission and City Council discuss plan, public weighs in on building height limitations

The Lafayette City Council met Monday night and held the first public hearing for the Lafayette Downtown Specific Plan (DSP). A decision regarding the plan was not made, and the public hearing will continue on July 23.

Thomas Chastain and Patricia Curtin-Tinley of the Lafayette Planning Commission presented the DSP to the City Council, outlining the plan.

According to the vision statement, the goals of the DSP are creating a downtown with a small town character and sustainable quality of life, encouraging the evolution of a distinctive Lafayette character, reinforcing downtown as the city’s center for business, civic and cultural activities, and encouraging economic activity beneficial to the community.

Approximately 30 members of the public were present at the meeting, and some made comments about the plan. Some supported the plan, while others had issues with specific points of the DSP.

Two members of the Planning Commission, Will Lovitt and Mark Mitchell, did not support the entirety of the plan. Mitchell said he did not think that the plan successfully addressed the impact of the growth of the city. Lovitt was concerned about the building height limitations.

The main issue discussed by the public seemed to be the building height limit. The DSP would set a 35 feet and 3 story height limit for all buildings in the downtown area, but allow for exceptions to be made depending on the project up to 45 feet. Currently, the City Council must make an amendment to the Lafayette General Plan to allow for buildings to be this tall.

"It incentivizes the developer to go higher. I think the town and the character of the city will be impacted dramatically by this," said Matt Heavey of Lafayette.

Lafayette resident Steve Cortese argued that it isn’t city codes that are restricting businesses from building up, but rather other issues such as economic constraints and parking problems. Cortese, along with some other members of the public, supported the DSP.

Sustainable Lafayette submitted a letter to the City Council in support of the plan, which states that the DSP was “an excellent plan and is ready to be approved.”

The next public hearing for the DSP will be held on July 23. A special meeting has also been scheduled for July 30. 

Born and Raised June 27, 2012 at 01:41 PM
45 foot tall buildings in town?!?!?!? Sounds like we're trying to make a mini Walnut Creek already. How much downtown business does Lafayette need?

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