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Controversial 315-Unit Housing Plan Again Moving Forward in Lafayette

Planetizen has been tracking the development proposal for the Terraces of Lafayette in California since 2015. The saga isn't over yet.
March 17, 2020, 8am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Franco Folini

"After years of debate and litigation, the fate of a contentious 315-unit housing plan known as the Terraces of Lafayette may finally be headed for a decision," reports Jon Kawamoto.

Before the Coronavirus pandemic led to widespread cancellations of public meetings—at the municipal, regional, and state levels around the country—the Lafayette Planning Commission had scheduled the a meeting to discuss the plan on April 6, 2020.

The Terraces of Lafayette project has been the subject of close scrutiny for years. In 2015, the city approved the city for 44 houses instead of the originally planned 315 units, eventually launching the "Sue the Suburbs" movement intended to force cities in the Bay Area to build more housing. The example of the project has been frequently cited as the inspiration for new laws strengthening the state's Housing Accountability Act.

"The Terraces has been the subject of 20 public hearings since it was first proposed in March 2011," according to Kawamoto. "But a new housing law, Senate Bill 330 by state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Oakland, limits the number of public hearings to five for new applications." Since the law took effect, one hearing was already conducted for the proposal, so the total is now down to four.

But the hearing limitation isn't the only way SB 330 is impacting the project. The law probably prevents the city from holding a ballot initiative to overturn the project, if approved. Still, a spokesperson for the project's developers expects appeals to continue to delay the project.  

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Published on Friday, March 6, 2020 in The Mercury News
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