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Possible apartment project sparks residents’ ire in Cordelia

By December 6, 2010

Daily Republic

CORDELIA — Cordelia Villages may face a population jump in its near future — and a group of long-time residents are not happy about the possibility.

Nearly 40 disgruntled residents gathered last week at the Cordelia library to discuss the details of a proposed development that would put 324 apartment units along Red Top Road.

For the development proposal to get the go-ahead, the City Council would need to vote to amend the General Plan and change the current zoning of the parcel where the Villas at Havenhill, as the project is titled, would sit.

The proposal will be presented Wednesday to the Planning Committee, which will conduct a hearing to get community comment on the proposed project.

“As a homeowner in the Creekside development I would encourage the city to keep the parcel zoned commercial,” wrote Cordelia resident Dirk Herzog in a Nov. 24 letter to the city’s Planning Division.

The current zoning — roughly half regional commercial and half highway commercial — would need to be changed to high-density residential for the development to be built.

A better use for the area would be putting in retail establishments, which current Cordelia residents could then frequent, Herzog said.

That would only be an option if the zoning remains as it currently is.

At the community meeting, concerns about the apartment complex plan ranged from gridlocked traffic to overcrowded schools.

Echoes of a previous battle with the same developer, Discovery Builders, surfaced at the meeting with references to Fieldcrest, a development that would consist of nearly 400 single-family homes.

While construction at Fieldcrest has not yet begun, the development was approved in early 2009. It abuts the proposed Villas project.

Discovery Builders is a subset of Seeno Construction, which owns most of the available residential property in Cordelia, according to Community Development Director Erin Beavers. Attempts to reach officials from Discovery Builders were not successful.

Cordelia resident Jim DeKloe was involved in the ultimately failed fight to bar the Fieldcrest development from gaining approval.

His main concerns were safety because of the Concord-Green Valley fault, he said.

The Villas proposal site is likely not as dangerous, but has still upset the neighborhood because residents feel it is another example of the oft-bemoaned lack of communication between the city and the Fairfield subdivision, DeKloe said.

“It takes a lot to rile a neighborhood, and this has done it,” he said.

Another concern is a possible rise in crime, Monica Christopher wrote Nov. 29 to the Planning Division.

“With the addition of 324 apartments and the already approved Fieldcrest project which will include approximately 394 single-family homes, the crime in neighboring communities is bound to increase,” she said. “Apartment residents can merely walk away from the development when things go bad.”

A tight budget means it’s unlikely more police will be assigned to the area as the population rises, resident Hal Crawford predicted at Thursday’s meeting.

He urged residents to attend the public hearing and communicate their thoughts on the proposal with the Planning Commission.

The commission will consider recommending the development to the City Council, which would have the final say on a possible General Plan amendment to allow the zoning change required for the plan to proceed.

Reach Sarah de Crescenzo at 427-6935 or [email protected]

At a glance

Who: Fairfield Planning Commission

What: Meeting topics include a proposed apartment complex in Cordelia Villages

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Fairfield City Council chamber, 1000 Webster St.

Info: 428-7461

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