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Emeryville April Planning Commission Recap – Proposed six-unit Townhouse project on Doyle

4 mins read

The April 28th Planning Commission saw a fairly lean agenda with just a single Study Session. A study session on a proposed Townhouse project that would involve demolishing a six unit residential unit on Doyle Street (4 permitted, 2 deemed “illegal’ because of lack of permitting) and replacing it with a six unit townhouse project. The existing unit was previously owned by former Councilmember Ken Bukowski who still resides there. Bukowski commented that he is already on the hunt for new dwellings but intends on staying within Emeryville.


  • Sherwin Williams EIR RTC (Response to Comments) planned for July City Council meeting
  • The April 5th City Council meeting unanimously approved the temporary installation of experimental traffic calming measures on Horton St bicycle boulevard which will consist of speed humps and additional signage
  • Public Art Master Plan community workshops scheduled
    • Wednesday, May 11 from 5:30-7:30pm
    • Saturday, May 14 from 10:00am-Noon
  • Grand Opening Celebration for Christie Avenue Bay Trail
    • Thursday, May 12 starting at 9:30am
    • Coincides with Bike to Work day


5876 – 5880 Doyle Street is a planned 6 unit townhome development meant to redevelop and bring new life and housing to an underutilized plot. The proposed development plans to offer 2 and 3-bedroom family-friendly housing while offering off-street parking, new landscaping, trees, and undergrounding utilities. The applicant proposes demolishing the existing residential units and replacing with six new residential units.

Additionally, a goal for Zero Net Energy was presented by the applicant; however, details on how that achievement would be delivered were missing. Key to the discussion was the applicant’s stated plan of using off-site solutions on another property for returning power to the grid; i.e. placing solar cells on an applicant-owned commercial property, for example.

Planning Commissioner Steven Keller offered the following criticism regarding the proposed use of photovoltaic cells:

“Why are the PVs not going on this project? I don’t understand the trade-off. Is there not enough sun … why can’t we just be doing it on the project itself?”

Commissioner Sam Kang was particularly critical of the applicants perceived lack of preparedness:

“We [The Planning Commission] dig into the weeds a lot, with a lot of questions and things to consider. Tonight’s application seems like a deviation from that. I think there were a lot of fundamental questions that I hoped the applicant would have been prepared for but the answers were not there and quite frankly I was disappointed by this.”

Planning & Building Director Charles Bryant provided additional insight regarding the planning code covering Community Benefit and Zero Net Energy:

“Currently the code doesn’t make any reference to the California Energy Code. It just says you have to produce all the energy you use. It doesn’t explicitly say ‘on the site.’ But I’m pretty sure that was the intent. When this was written, it never occurred to us that it would be produced somewhere else than on the site. I would also note that if the commission were inclined to prove such a community benefit, that these bonus points would be granted in order to provide additional building potential on this site which is in perpetuity. That means that whatever the community benefit is, that it’s based on, that it also has to be provided in perpetuity. So if the commission were willing to grant solar panels on a warehouse somewhere, those would have to be there for the life of this project which would greatly affect the development potential of that other site.”

While the commission was generally receptive to the addition of ownership, family units and modern efficiencies, the consensus seemed to be that the project had a way to go to fall in line with the city’s objectives and regulations. The Project would ultimately need to be approved by City Council as it involves the demolition of an existing residential unit.


Street View
South View
North View




TO: Planning Commission
FROM: Sara Billing, Assistant Planner
Community Development Department
SUBJECT: 6 Unit Townhomes (UPDR16-002)
PROJECT LOCATION: 5876-5880 Doyle Street (APNs: 49-1330-12 and -13
APPLICANT: Jake Aftergood
1475 Powell Street #201
Emeryville, CA 94608
OWNER: Kenneth J. Schmier 2010 Separate Living Property Trust and
Eric S. Schmier 2010 Living Trust
2550 Appian Way, Suite 201
Pinole, CA 94564
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The six proposed residential units would replace four existing legal units and two existing illegal units located on two parcels. The proposed six units would be split into two buildings, each consisting of two three-bedroom and one two-bedroom townhome. The two buildings would share a common driveway located between the two buildings as well as common open space behind the two buildings along the east side of the property.
Both proposed buildings are 30 feet in height.
This project contains fewer than 10 residential units and therefore no affordable units are required (Sections 9-4.204(d)(1) and 9-5.402).
Off-street parking at 1 space per unit and 1 guest parking space.  The proposed project includes designated bicycle parking areas within each unit, as well as a covered bike parking area that appears to accommodate at least 8 bicycles.
New street trees, landscaping, and over 1,000 square feet of common open space are planned along with undergrounding of all utilities.
The project requires 100 bonus points due to Floor Area Ratio (FAR).  The applicant proposes obtaining bonus points by having all units be designed as Family-Friendly, and by making this development the first Net-Zero Energy project in Emeryville.
GENERAL PLAN DESIGNATION: Mixed Use with Residential
ZONING DISTRICT: Mixed Use with Residential (MUR) and North Hollis Overlay (N-H)
ENVIRONMENTAL STATUS: This project is exempt from environmental review under State CEQA Guidelines Section 15303(b) which applies to new construction or conversion of apartments, duplexes and similar structures designed for not more than six dwelling units, and the “general rule” at Section 15061(b)(3) because it can be seen with certainty that there is no possibility that the proposal may have a significant effect on the environment.

The Emeryville Planning Commision Staff Report →

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Jeff Arko

is a transplant from “The Heart of it All” (that’s Ohio, folks) where he earned a BS in Management Information Systems from The Ohio State University. Over the last 20 years, Jeff has worked in high tech, marketing, event, and architectural design. Jeff's interest in urban redevelopment has influenced and inspired decisions on where to live, community and governmental groups to join, and career. Jeff resides in Emeryville’s Park Avenue District.

1 Comment

  1. Each time ” demolition ” comes up I am always reminded of those ” war junkie ” having fun in seeing other people’s property being demolished for whatever reasons, you name it but the basis is always ” To Do Harm ” to someone in person or as a group.
    History is full of those hate motives control freaks.
    If you factor the waste and the carbon foot print then you loose every time.

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