51-unit condo project proposed for downtown

Marsh Creek elevation for websitePlans for 44 high-end, two-story condominiums on three acres on High Street and Marsh Creek Road are not sitting well with its neighbors, most of which live across the street in Stranahan.
The developer, Bill Jordan, a Clayton resident who lives on Marsh Creek Rd. near the proposed project, has met twice with the neighbors.

At a Nov. 23 meeting, he presented plans for a 60-unit, three-story development, which neighbors said was too big. After the first meeting, he downsized the project to 44 two-story units. The revised plan calls for three- and four-bedroom condos. Attached to some of the full-size condos are smaller, one-bedroom, 400 sf. units. The smaller units can be sold individually.
Of the 44 total units, 28 will have from 1,600-2,300 sq. ft of living space and 16 will be the smaller units.

The pared-down development didn’t do much, however, to ease neighbors concerns. It was clear early on that the push-back was against any high-density housing on the lots which were identified as possible affordable housing sites as early as 2004.

Addressing an overflow crowd at a second meeting on Dec. 3 at the Clayton Library, Jordan said he would prefer to build single family homes on the lots, “but the city is requiring a minimum of 15 units per acre.”

Skipolini’s owner Kent Ipsen’s home sits on the hill directly above the High Street condos.  Ipsen attended the meeting and spoke in favor of the development.
“I am seriously impacted by this project,” he said. “And I can say that Bill is desperately trying to build the minimum he can.”

The High Street project is within the Town Center and will have the historic, western look required by the Town Center Specific Plan. The condos will face High Street and have a walking path to downtown.

Eight units will face Marsh Creek Road and will be a craftsman style. All of the full-size units have two-car garages in the back.

Jordan says five of the smaller units are earmarked for low-income buyers.

California’s affordable – or “inclusionary” – housing requirements are state law. Although challenged several times in court, earlier this year the California Supreme Court upheld a city’s right to require developers to set aside a percentage of new units for low and moderate income buyers. In Clayton, the builder must make 10 percent of the units “affordable,” or pay an “in lieu” fee to the city’s housing fund.

Clayton has a long record of meeting the affordable housing mandates. When Oakhurst was built, 174 of the units were designated as affordable housing. There are 18 homes in Stranahan sold to low/moderate income buyers. Diamond Terrace and the developmentally-disabled housing behind the Clayton Station are 100 percent low-income housing.

The project is still in the pre-application stage. When the application is submitted, the city will determine if an environmental impact study is required. If required, the public will have an opportunity to comment.

According to Community Development Director Mindy Gentry, the project will likely be approved at the Planning Commission level since it conforms to the city’s General Plan.