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City Council and Planning Commission Informational Session

Steering Committee member, Gene Bucciarelli, attended the recent City Council and Planning Commission meeting. This is his report.

Summary of the Tiered Density/Public Benefit Zoning
City Council Informational Session
4/18/17 at 7:00 PM

The meeting was held with the City Council, the Planning Commissioners, the Mayor, and the City Manager. The City Council Chamber was full of residents. About 15 to 20 residents made statements including yours truly.


  1. The San Ramon General Plan allows for a density of housing at a range of 30 to 50 units per acre.
  2. CA allows for a bonus density at 130% above the maximum if the developer agrees to a public benefit. The public benefit is decided between the developer and the city.  This could be a park a library, a statute or any other agreed upon structure or art work.
  3. In the recent past, all developers in San Ramon have asked for the 50 per acre and most have applied for the bonus density. This, of course, increases density in our city beyond what was desired in the General Plan when it was last adapted.

Current status

About two to three years ago The Planning Department and the City Council being concerned that the current conditions allow for more density than desired started discussions of a Tiered Density approach. At this time the idea is to set the maximum at 30 units per acre and allow for increasing public benefits at different tiers above 30 up to the 50 per acre.  It appears that the public benefits would be more expensive for the developers as they reached the different tiers above 30 units per acre.  The general idea being that most developers would not want to incur the additional cost and as a result, the city would have less density than is now occurring. It is important to note that nothing is finalized and as the Tiered Density discussions evolve the City Council indicated that the residents will have input at each stage.

San Ramon Golf Course information

Council members Harry Sachs and Scott Perkins both pledged that they support the current General Plan as to parks and golf courses. This was noted as a result of a couple of residents mentioning the possible impact on the San Ramon Golf Course.

Bay Area Housing

The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), under CA law, is tasked with requiring Bay Area cities to build a certain number of affordable housing units. The number of housing units that must be built between 2014 and 2022 in the Bay Area is 189,990. San Ramon’s share of that is 1,417 affordable housing units. These units are built at a 7 to 1 ratio per CA requirements.  As a developer builds 7 units he must build one affordable housing unit. Of course, a development could be just affordable housing.  However, profit motives indicate that most developers will build the more expensive 7 and allow for the affordable unit.

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