Isabel Residential Rezoning/ Isabel Neighborhood Plan (aborted)
This rezoning plan was cancelled in May 2018 when BART rejected the extension.
As a precondition of partially funding BART to Livermore at Isabel the MTC requires dense urban development near the proposed station in the I-580 median at the Isabel Avenue interchange. Since MTC is offering no specifics about the needed urbanization, the City Council has decided to fund and manage the effort to develop a plan they hope would satisfy the MTC. This rezoning plan will be abandoned if BART is not built first. Lacking BART, the existing zoning will remain unchanged.
The City has completed the first two phases of the planning process: Visioning and Alternatives. The planning team has developed a Draft Preferred Plan, based on public feedback and direction from City Council.
The planning team hosted an Open House on June 28 to share the Draft Preferred Plan, answer questions, and get feedback from the public. Staff then presented the Draft Preferred Plan to the Planning Commission on July 5 (staff report). A follow-up meeting with the Planning Commission is scheduled for Tuesday, August 16, 2016 at 7:30. Next, staff is scheduled to present the Draft Preferred Plan to City Council on Monday, September 12, 2016 at 7:00. Both meetings will be held in the Council Chambers at 3575 Pacific Avenue. Based on City Council direction, the project team will then prepare the remaining details of the plan and begin preparing the Environmental Impact Report, with the goal of releasing the documents for public review by the end of 2016.
The Isabel Neighborhood Plan area (also referred to as the “Plan Area”) covers approximately 1,132 acres. It surrounds the proposed Isabel BART station platform within the I-580 median. Most of the Plan Area is north of the freeway. The entire Plan Area is within the City’s adopted Urban Growth Boundary (UGB). The Plan Area is also within the City limits, except for an unincorporated 21-acre property on Airway Boulevard.
Major existing uses within the Plan Area include: Las Positas College, Costco, Cayetano Park, Airway and North Canyons Business Parks, and existing residential developments such as Shea Montage, Copper Hill, and Vineyard Terrace. The City selected the Isabel interchange over other possible station locations along I-580 because of the Plan Area’s accessibility, proximity to existing development, and presence of vacant land within the UGB that provides an opportunity for transit-supportive development.
Isabel Neighborhood Plan Project Goals
The purpose of this land use planning process is to prepare an Isabel Neighborhood Plan that will meet the needs of the Livermore community, support City and community goals, and complement BART’s proposed extension to Livermore. The ultimate goal is to create a safe, vibrant neighborhood that complements the transit extension, positions Livermore to obtain its fair share of regional transportation funds, and improves our quality of life.
More specifically, the City would like the land use planning process to accomplish the following objectives:
City stated goals:
- Involve a wide range of stakeholders and community members in the planning process.
- Use a variety of engagement methods and communication tools for exchanging information and obtaining meaningful input.
- Identify and build upon opportunities for new development within the Plan area.
- Establish appropriate residential types to facilitate the development of housing that is attractive to a range of ages, from young professionals to empty nesters, and affordable to a range of incomes.
- Establish office uses to support development of local professional and technical jobs.
- Establish commercial uses to provide convenient grocery and other neighborhood services.
- Encourage ridership on the BART system through transit-supportive features such as bikeway improvements to comply with regional transit expansion policies and maximize the environmental benefits of the project.
- Enhance the connectivity of the transportation network within the Plan Area.
- Address parking supply/demand, infrastructure constraints, and the compatibility of new and existing land uses.
- Complete an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) that identifies potential environmental impacts (traffic, parking, noise, etc.) and includes appropriate mitigation measures to address these impacts, in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
- Consider innovative financing mechanisms to implement the Isabel Neighborhood Plan.
Not mentioned as a goal: the reduction of traffic congestion
The Isabel Neighborhood Plan will establish a new framework for guiding development of the area surrounding the proposed BART station. The Isabel Neighborhood Plan will include the following components:
land use designations; minimum and maximum development capacities; design standards and guidelines; circulation and access improvements (i.e., streets, sidewalks and trails); other improvements to public infrastructure (utilities, parks, etc.); and an implementation plan and financing strategy. If adopted, the land use regulations established in the Neighborhood Plan will replace the existing General Plan land use designations and zoning standards regulating the development of properties in this area.
Isabel Neighborhood Plan Process
City staff is working with a consultant team led by the firm Dyett & Bhatia to complete the land use planning process. The process generally includes the following stages, of which the first two have been completed:
- Community Visioning
- Alternative Land Use/Circulation Scenarios
- Preferred Plan
- Draft Isabel Neighborhood Plan and Environmental Impact Report (EIR)
- Adoption of the Isabel Neighborhood Plan
Visioning: The first stage of planning involved getting input from a range of stakeholders, including the community at large, to discuss priorities for the Isabel Neighborhood and establish a vision for the Isabel Neighborhood Plan area. This phase was conducted in 2015. The City’s planning team talked to over 600 people at over 40 events, including focus groups, interviews, neighborhood meetings, tables at city events, and presentations to community groups. Input from stakeholders was compiled into a Vision for the Isabel Neighborhood Plan. Click here for a summary of the Visioning phase of outreach.
This stage also included compiling detailed information on existing conditions within the planning area (click here for the Existing Conditions Report).
Alternatives: Based on community feedback and the analysis of existing conditions, the planning team developed three land use and circulation Alternatives to reflect the Vision for the Isabel Neighborhood, focusing on the half mile radius around the station.
On November 12, 2015, the City hosted a citywide public workshop at the Elks Lodge in Livermore to get input on the Alternative concepts. The workshop included a presentation by the planning team and small group discussions. About 130 community members attended and provided great feedback! In addition, over 1,000 people responded to an online survey on the Alternatives.
Planning Commission discussed the three Alternative land use/circulation scenarios at their regular meeting on Tuesday, February 2 2016. The City Council discussed the Alternatives and provided direction on the development of a Preferred Plan at a special meeting on Monday, February 29, 2016. Click here for the staff report and meeting minutes.
Preferred Plan: Based on community input and direction from the Livermore City Council, the team prepared a Draft Preferred Plan, based on Alternative 1 (Main Street) with some modifications. The team presented the Draft Preferred Plan to the public at an Open House on June 28, 2016 and to the City's Planning Commission on July 5, 2016.
A follow-up meeting with the Planning Commission is scheduled for Tuesday, August 16, 2016 at 7:30. Next, staff is scheduled to present the Draft Preferred Plan to City Council on Monday, September 12, 2016 at 7:00. Both meetings will be held in the Council Chambers at 3575 Pacific Avenue.
After getting feedback on the Draft Preferred Plan, the City and consultant team will complete the remaining details of the Neighborhood Plan and prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Report (Draft EIR) to analyze the potential impacts of the Draft Isabel Neighborhood Plan, in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The CEQA process and EIR Scoping period are described further below.
The City anticipates releasing the Draft Isabel Neighborhood Plan and Draft EIR in late 2016 or early 2017. It is anticipated that the City Council will make a final decision on the Draft EIR and Isabel Neighborhood Plan in spring 2017.
Environmental Review Process
The planning team will prepare an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Isabel Neighborhood Plan, pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The purpose of CEQA is to: provide information to the public and decision-makers about the potential for a proposed project to significantly affect the environment; prevent or reduce environmental impacts through design and mitigation measures; and enhance public participation and interagency coordination in planning and development review processes.
As described in the Notice of Preparation, the EIR for the Isabel Neighborhood Plan will provide a programmatic assessment of the potential consequences of implementing the plan and its policies. Plan implementation generally includes development under the proposed land use regulations and construction of the associated public improvements. In addition to identifying potentially significant impacts, the EIR will recommend measures to mitigate those impacts. The assessment will utilize the most current CEQA guidelines (California Code of Regulations, Title 14, Division 6, Chapter 3, Sections 15000–15387). There is no guarantee that this process will result in a BART extension. The BART to Livermore Extension Project will be evaluated in a separate EIR to be prepared by BART.
The City hosted a Scoping Meeting on Tuesday, April 26 to collect comments regarding preparation of the EIR. Click here for the presentation on the CEQA process. The feedback received at the Scoping meeting and during the comment period will build upon input received from stakeholders to date. The public will have additional opportunities to comment throughout the planning process, including after release of the Draft EIR (anticipated for end of 2016).
The Isabel Neighborhood Plan will be based upon input from the community. Opportunities for direct involvement throughout the planning process include focus groups, community meetings, online surveys, and public workshops and hearings. The City provides updates on the planning process through social media and email distribution lists. Get involved today to make sure your voice is heard! Click here.
The City Council and City advisory commissions will also continue to provide input at key points in the process. The City also established a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) consisting of representatives from partner public agencies to coordinate the provision of public services and facilities.