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30 homes proposed in Payran neighborhood

An infill project that will build more than two dozen single-family homes on a vacant riverside parcel in the Payran neighborhood is going forward with support from the Planning Commission.

The proposed Riverbend project, led by San Francisco-based developer Urban Green Investments, aims to build 30 single-family homes on 30 lots. All homes will be two stories, and at least 10 properties will feature granny units. Five of the 30 units will be reserved for medium- to low-income earners, satisfying the city’s inclusionary housing policy that requires new developments either add affordable units or pay a fee.

The 3.66-acre piece of land along Madison and Edith streets near Lakeville Street has long been a sore thumb in the neighborhood, surrounded on one end by residential streets and the busy Clover Sonoma facility on the other. The parcel backs up to the Petaluma River and Lynch Creek Trail, with a popular trail access situated at the end of Edith Street.

The 7-member body, including its newest appointee Blake Hooper who took the seat of Diane Gomez, heard the full project presentation at its July 14 meeting. Councilman and commission liaison Kevin McDonnell recused himself from the meeting during its presentation and discussion, citing conflicting nearby interests.

Commissioner approval of the project was resounding, save for a few specific recommendations over the granny unit access. However, nearly all public complaints issued by Payran residents raised concerns over traffic impacts and safety.

Madison Street has become an increasingly busy shortcut for drivers in recent years, as people take the residential street to bypass Lakeville and East Washington streets.

“I know for the neighborhood that the increase in units and in vehicles needing to be parked is going to cause a headache,” Commissioner Patrick Streeter said. “It’s already an area impacted both by speeding and by gridlock, but for the past 60 years we’ve been developing to accommodate cars and we really need to start shifting how we do this.”

Streeter said while there may be frustration over parking and traffic, he’s hopeful it will encourage people to choose to walk downtown, telecommute and use public transit, such as the SMART station a few blocks away.

The development proposes 72 parking spots on the property divided among the 30 individual lots, along with approximately 26 street spaces on Madison and Edith streets.

A new private street will cut through the property, connecting Madison and Edith streets, and a public park will sit between the Lynch Creek Trail and the property edge.

A few residents also urged the city to subject the project to more rigorous environmental review studies. The Payran neighborhood has seen a handful of historic floods over the years, and the nearby riverside Sid Commons project is currently embroiled in a citizen-led lawsuit over environmental grounds.

The project will make its way to City Council in the coming weeks for their consideration and potential approval.

(Contact Kathryn Palmer at kathryn.palmer@arguscourier.com, on Twitter @KathrynPlmr.)

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