gives OK to 134 homes, new park
|Development of 134 homes on a 17-acre site
between Los Ranchitos and Merrydale roads in San Rafael is expected to
begin before the end of the year, 2002.
Ranchitos Park will include 63 townhomes and 71 single-family homes with a
three-acre neighborhood park. Twenty percent of the units will be reserved
for low- or moderate-income residents.
The developer, Signature Properties LLD, also will complete drainage work
for the area, which floods in the winter.
"It's a model of in-fill development because it gives back to the
community," said Bob Brown, San Rafael's community development
director. "People in the neighborhood will benefit from it."
Signature received City Council approval after more than three years of
meetings with city officials and the community to develop a design plan
nearly all could embrace.
"The public came up with some very good ideas that Signature was
amenable to," Brown said.
Greg Andrew, who represents the San Rafael Meadows homeowners'
association, said the new homes will be situated closer
to existing back yards than residents would like.
Most of the homes in the community were built in the 1950s with yards that
range from 50 feet to 70 feet in back, Andrew said. Some homes on Corrillo
Drive along the northern border of the plot are backed up into what is now
the open space that the development will fill.
"A number were early homeowners here, and suddenly they are going to
have a house 20 feet away," Andrew said.
Signature originally had proposed two-story homes, but agreed to one-story
houses when neighbors complained second-floor windows would create an
invasion of their privacy.
Andrew said residents also would have liked the developer to preserve
native grasslands that adjoin the park site, but Signature opted to do
preservation work elsewhere in the county.
Work on Ranchitos Park will not begin until Signature identifies a native
grassland mitigation project and gains approvals for it, Brown said.
Elissa Giambastiani, chief executive of the San Rafael Chamber of
Commerce, said her organization agreed to support the project if the
developers would build more than the 10 percent affordable housing
required by zoning regulations.
"This is a smart-growth project,"
Giambastiani said. "It is in-fill, near transportation, near job
centers, and people can live here and actually walk or ride bikes to