Dear Concerned Citizens of Lafayette, We have several things to share with you. Our meeting last month with Mayor Tatzin was very interesting. We emp

Portrait Reservoir-2

Dear Concerned Citizens of Lafayette,

We have several things to share with you. Our meeting last month with Mayor Tatzin was very interesting. We emphasized our wish to have Lafayette’s PDA (Priority Development Area) status removed. We continue to worry that the grant money is not worth giving up local control for. What about the higher housing number allocation compared to cities without PDAs? Even though according to Mayor Tatzin, the PDA status doesn’t give us higher demands for more stack & pack, we feel there is too much unknown about the Plan Bay Area and how it will evolve for Cities like Lafayette who have a PDA around their transit (BART) station.

It’s becoming more and more apparent, that in order to protect Lafayette from becoming too dense, we should have the General Plan and Downtown Specific Plan updated so the City is better protected from excessive development. One example of something we could consider would be limiting the units per acre in the downtown area. Developers can apply for density “bonuses” if they meet certain criteria, but at least if we start with less units per acre we stand a chance of keeping this number reasonable.

How can you get involved in some of this?

Planning Commission opening… our chance to have a voice!

First things first: there is an opening on the Planning Commission. Over the last couple of years, we have heard many of you make some very knowledgeable and poignant comments at the various meetings. You are well informed and if you were not, you got up to speed fast for the next meeting. You do not have to be a professional architect or land use attorney to apply for the position (would make the commission perhaps more diverse!). You just need to show a strong interest, care about your community, not be afraid to dedicate yourself to learning the more detailed aspects of planning (training is available, paid for by the City… we heard). So if you are on the fence, but think you don’t have the credentials: think again & go for it! Apparently, few people have applied. So many of you have proven you can handle the complexity of zoning ordinances, state and city laws, you may be better qualified than you think. DEADLINE TO APPLY IS THIS FRIDAY MARCH 7 BY 5 P.M.

Housing Element
The State Housing & Community Development agency (HCD) requires that every City updates their Housing Element (as part of their General Plan) regularly and get it certified. If you want to read up what OrindaWatch was working on last summer, go to We could/should use their findings/experiences to make sure our Housing Element is in line with what Lafayette residents feel comfortable with, yet still satisfy the state requirements. The mayor has proposed to organize Workshops to get public input. Be sure to check the Council Agenda for when the HE comes up & attend the meetings, or if you can’t, listen to the audio/read minutes, and write a letter/email to the Council if you have an opinion.
Check out the report to the planning staff with some interesting questions:

The second meeting of the Council Planning Subcommittee was announced last Friday as in 2 days ago…. The meeting is this Monday March 3 at 9 a.m. at the Lafayette City Offices.
If you want to receive automatic emails of public meetings, go to the City’s E-Notifier Signup. You can select which meetings you are interested in.

Coming Soon: A New Guide for Downtown Development
After two years of monthly public meetings and a mid-point review with the Council, commissions and committees, the Downtown Design Guidelines Subcommittee has completed the draft of the Downtown Design Guidelines (DDGs). These guidelines are a set of design principles or tools to convey the community’s design vision for development in the four downtown commercial districts – West End, Downtown Retail Plaza, and East End districts – and will to some large extent shape the way that new and renovated downtown buildings in Lafayette will look in the future. The DDG Subcommittee will soon present the final draft to commissions and committees for feedback and to the Council for adoption.

Now is the time to play catch-up and go to the next DDG subcommittee meeting. Here is the link to the Draft guidelines. We can hopefully make sure nothing crazy gets slipped in. No date known for next meeting.

Take care and enjoy some long overdue rainy weather!