Environmental Impact Report in queue for 186-Unit Anton Evolve Apartment Complex
A Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) is being prepared for the 186-unit Anton “Evolve” residential project (AKA The Nady Site). The all-rental development at 6701 Shellmound Street is expected to be considered for certification, along with planning approvals for the project, at Tonight’s March 24th Planning Commission meeting.
The 776-page Draft EIR (DEIR) was published on the city website back on November 4th and the 45-day public comment period ended on December 21st with only three comment letters received. The previous developer AvalonBay held a study session back on March 2014 but could not come to terms with the land owner prior to Anton stepping in.
The Commission held a second study session on January 28th to review the proposed 2.27 acre residential development located on the north-west border of the city historically known as “Butchertown”. The development on the triangular-shaped parcel will consist of seven stories, 186-units, 241 automobile parking spots and 200 bicycle parking spots. The site amenities also includes four courtyards, two clubrooms, a study room, a fitness center, and a bike repair station. Using the State Density Bonus the project increased density from 159 units to 186, and increased height from 75′ ft to 81′-3″ overall. Use of the state density bonus system would require 5% of the 159 base units be designated for very low-income (8 units).
The four major issues of the January 28 study session included:
- Determine whether the site needed to be Mixed-Use
- Determine whether the existing 3 bedroom “C2” units comply with the City’s Family Friendly housing guidelines
- Determine whether the new facade changes were favored
- The pet and child amenities in the back of the property
Beginning with the Mixed-Use Residential (MUR) zone issue, the applicant explained that because of its proximity to the freeway off-ramp, it would be difficult to manage traffic if they were to include commercial spaces in the project. One Commissioner commented on the abundance of empty commercial areas already in the City and the inclusion of them in this project would not be efficient. After a quick vote, a majority of the Commissioners agreed that an outdoor fitness area and bike shop area that are visible and open to the public would meet the intent of mixed-use.
The wedge-shaped “Nady” parcel is located in the north-western area of Emeryville.
On the second issue, the C2 units were debated at length regarding its compliance to the City’s Family Friendly guidelines. Theses units are important because 19 of the 28 three-bedroom units are C2’s. Staff and the City Architect proposed a new layout that would enlarge the living room and reduced the size of the circulation areas. The developer representative, Andrew Baker disagreed and stated, “We have met the spirit of all the Family Friendly criteria.” He believes that both the existing and staff proposed plans meet the criteria and the change was unnecessary. The commission’s informal straw poll indicated a 4-2 preference of the existing plan.
The Unit Mix for the 186 units:
|Unit Type||Unit Size||Number||Unit Ratio|
|Studio||579 SF||10||5.4 %|
|1 – Bd||774 SF||82||44.1%|
|2 – Bd||1197 SF||66||35.5 %|
|3 – Bd||1487 SF||28||15.1 %|
The Commission was generally appreciative of the changes made to the exterior elevations. The new design introduced more brick and metal cladding and less of the checker board material patterns. The building corners, particularly the southeast area are more defined. There was mixed review of the smokestack feature with a suggestion that they should serve some function. Earlier concerns regarding open spaces, particularly interaction of the children’s play area and dog area, were reiterated.
The applicant’s landscape architect introduced many changes to the four courtyard areas. Many patio screens were reduced from 60″ to 42″. In A1-the southwest area, a ping-pong table and bean-bag throwing area are added. The A2-the northwest area, will include a family BBQ area and a drop-down cinema screen is added for outdoor movie viewing. The A3- southeast area, which was previously seen as “haphazard planning”, will now have two radial trellises and synthetic turf focused on family gathering. The northwest courtyard will have a lounge area and unencumbered views of the Bay. While the redesigns were generally favored by the Commission, it was suggested that plans for the open areas be better illustrated and detailed to understand proposed features, landscape elements, and the topography.
Four open space areas for residents will be incorporated.
A representative of the adjacent radio station, KVTO 1400 AM, expressed concerns about safety and health issues that radio frequencies may have as well as interference that it may cause on various electronic equipment that will be used by residents of the building. The radio station is approximately 500 ft away from the proposed site and one of the few Chinese language radio stations in the Bay Area. If the signal is interrupted, an estimated 150,000 listeners may be impacted. The Commission requested that the staff prepare a response to the concerns expressed.
While the Anton Development Group showed a good faith effort in incorporating Staff’s and the Planning Commission’s comments into their designs, a substantial amount of work still needs to be done. The site rests in a spot that’s under-utilized by the City and a high density residential development might be a catalyst for intensified growth in that area for the future.
The project should benefit from the recent renovation of Berkeley’s Aquatic Park.
The January 28th Study Session can be viewed above at 1:05:42. All related documents for the project can be viewed on the City’s Major projects section of their website.