By Daniel Smith
The third and largest iteration of a decade-old project proposed for the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland goes to the city Planning Commission this month following a consultant’s analysis that no further environmental review is needed for the mixed-use plan.
“It’s up to the applicant whichever project they want to proceed,” said city planner Mike Rivera. “The one that’s being proposed [now] is much larger.”[contextly_sidebar id=”2S5p8lDsHB3tBcfJF8HSBj0zQPZJs9QG”]The project at 5110 Telegraph Avenue has been in the works for more than a decade, with prior approvals received for developments of 67 and 101 residential units called Civiq and Creekside, respectively. Now, Nautilus Group Inc. has purchased additional land at the site and is proposing a maximum of 204 units along with 33,800 square feet of commercial space.
The 1.7-acre site is bordered by Telegraph to the west, 51st Street to the south, Clarke Street to the east and Claremont Avenue to the north. It is currently comprised of vacant parcels and a paved parking lot.
The proposal going before the Planning Commission calls for a mix of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom homes, with 11 restricted to low-income households. Because of the affordable units, the project includes some 300 parking spaces underground on two levels, but qualified for a “bonus” of only 155 for residential rather than the otherwise mandatory 204.
The commercial section includes several parcels including one that is as much as 28,450 square feet, which would likely house a supermarket and will require a conditional use permit.
The six-story design is mostly glass and metal, including four stories of window boxes facing Telegraph. Additionally, the proposal also calls for a “privately operated urban farm facility with greenhouses” and raised beds on the top floor.
The city hired LSA Associates Inc. of Berkeley to analyze potential environmental impacts of the project, and their report was delivered to the city the last week of April and made public the same week. It includes a traffic study authored by Sam Tabibnia of Fehr & Peers. The analysis judges the project as qualifying for an infill exemption by the California Environmental Quality Act, hence no further environmental review would be required.
“The proposed project is a mixed-use residential and commercial development with continuous street frontage of commercial uses that are intended to serve the local neighborhood and surrounding areas and provide housing opportunities to the general public,” states the analysis, referencing General Plan use designations of Mixed Housing Residential and Neighborhood Center Mixed. “The project is consistent with the site’s General Plan classification.”
“The proposed project would improve pedestrian safety and circulation by eliminating the existing slip right-turn lane from northbound Telegraph Avenue to eastbound Claremont Avenue,” observes the traffic study, noting that a pedestrian path will also connect the existing Frog Park to Telegraph and 51st. “The elimination of the slip right-turn lane would improve pedestrian safety because it would bring the current uncontrolled pedestrian crossing under signal control, reduce the number of pedestrian crossings, and reduce the speed for motorists making that turn.”
Rivera said that barring appeal, the Planning Commission will give final approval or rejection of the project at its 6 p.m. meeting Wednesday, May 18.
“The Planning Commission makes a decision on approving the project and the CEQA document,” said the planner. “It doesn’t need to be certified.”