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.

2 minute read

March 17, 2020, 8:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Lafayette BART

Franco Folini / Flickr

"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.  

Friday, March 6, 2020 in The Mercury News

Large historic homes and white picket fences line a street.

The End of Single-Family Zoning in Arlington County, Virginia

Arlington County is the latest jurisdiction in the country to effectively end single-family zoning.

March 23, 2023 - The Washington Post

Amtrak Acela Express train passing through Harrison station in Newark, New Jersey

‘Train Daddy’ Andy Byford to Oversee Amtrak’s High-Speed Rail Efforts

Byford, who formerly ran NYC Transit and Transport for London, could bring renewed vigor to the agency’s plans to expand regional rail in the United States.

March 28, 2023 - StreetsBlog NYC

Buses in downtown Seattle on the dedicated 3rd Avenue bus lanes

Seattle Bus Lane Cameras Capture Over 100,000 Violations

An automated traffic enforcement pilot program caught drivers illegally using transit lanes more than 110,000 times in less than a year.

March 28, 2023 - Axios

View of Statue of Liberty with New York City skyline in background

Immigration Grows, Population Drops in Many U.S. Counties

International immigration to the country’s most populous areas tripled even as major metropolitan areas continued to lose population.

March 31 - The New York Times

Detroit Sports Arena

$616 Million in Development Incentives Approved for District Detroit

The “Transformational Brownfield” incentives approved by the Detroit City Council for the $1.5 billion District Detroit still require approval by the state.

March 31 - Detroit Free Press

A red sign reads, “Welcome to New Canaan.”

Affordable Housing Development Rejected for Lack of Third Staircase in Connecticut

The New Canaan Planning Commission rejected a development proposal, including 31 below-market-rate apartments, for lack of a third staircase, among other reasons, at a time when advocates are pushing to relax two-staircase requirements.

March 31 - Stamford Advocate

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

HUD’s 2023 Innovative Housing Showcase

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.