The Planning Commission voted 5-1, with Vince Bressler opposed and Henry Riggs absent, to allow the project to proceed to council for final approval of the conditional use permit and heritage tree removals, although a revised site design didn't adhere to recommendations made by the Environmental Quality Commission.
The plan earmarks 42 heritage trees for destruction instead. Thanks to a plan to plant new trees, the property would end up with 206 more trees than it has, according to the staff report.
The renovations would add a new two-story recreation center and a 2,000-square-foot leasing office to the 16-acre site, in addition to making improvements throughout the complex, such as a new dog park, bocce ball court and barbecue courtyard.
The changes would increase building coverage on the site to 40 percent, which is 10 percent over the amount allowed under city code.
BRE has said the improvements are necessary, citing as an example the cramped quarters of the current leasing office, which shares space with the clubhouse, fitness center and maintenance department. The new leasing office would be more visible to prospective tenants.
Challenged by commissioners as well as neighbors as to whether the complex needs such a large makeover in light of an occupancy rate of about 96 percent, with monthly rents ranging from $2,700 to $5,200, BRE countered that tenant turnover is also high.
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