The City Council gave thumbs up to a high-density condo project last week after a developer spent years improving on a previously rejected proposal for condos on the Rengstorff Avenue site.
"Of all the plans we've seen this has been most compatible" with the neighborhood, said Council member Laura Macias, who has usually been one of the council's biggest opponents of high-density housing.
Macias and the rest of the council made supportive comments about the project during the May 11 study session for three-story condos at 333 North Rengstorff Avenue. The only real concern expressed by the council was the loss of dozens of trees at the site because of its underground parking garage. Two large redwoods would be saved.
Macias made her comment after several neighbors spoke against the project, saying that adding more residents, even with more than two parking spaces per unit, would add to the street's already significant parking problems. They also said the buildings would be massive compared to neighboring apartments. But the project's architect spoke passionately about the project, saying that neighbors would be able look over their fences and see landscaping instead of apartment building walls like they do now. Reducing the density of it would make the project financially unfeasible, he said.
If approved, the 1.7 acre site would eventually have two new three-story condo buildings and a total of 64 units, most of which would be one-bedroom or "entry level" for-sale housing. The site is now home to a 32-unit, two-story apartment complex, which city staff said would be likely to fall in an earthquake because of its soft-story design.
Several years ago the council rejected a higher density proposal for condos at the site that would have created a large building with units accessed through internal hallways.