Hidden Oaks Lafayette, California

The City of Lafayette, CA is located on 15 square miles in Contra Costa County and was incorporated in 1968, although settlement of the area began in 1848. Lafayette is noted for its high quality of life with top rated schools, low crime rate, small town downtown, clean air, mild climate and oak tree-studded hills.

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Background

In planning and developing new residential projects, especially infill projects in affluent communities, conflicting interests invariably arise. This is especially true for new residential developments in cities, such as Lafayette, where the town council only approves about 15 new residential lots per year. Hidden Oaks Subdivision was initiated in 1999 by Smith Quality Homes, but the Smiths realized the magnitude of the challenge when they first dealt with neighbors, who simply did not want to replace a long-standing residence that had boasted a vineyard, horses and stables, with two dozen houses. The property was surrounded by existing neighborhoods and viewed as park like open space by the nearby homeowners. The proposed project, which would transform the use of the property, was predictably viewed negatively by the surrounding homeowners, who found fault with the access to the property, proposed through their neighborhood. The project quickly gained the attention by decision makers, both in the City and the County. Aliquot was engaged to plan the property and process the project through its contentious opposition. Particular challenges were access, density, significant Native American cultural resources, red-legged frog, and large heritage trees. Experienced land planners and developers alike realize the real nature of the challenge is to bring veracity to opponents, who harbor exaggerated perceptions of a project’s impacts.

Aliquot’s role

All with a hand in forming the outcome of the project, Aliquot steered the project to a successful end. The process resulted in a new superior access to the development and an approval of 21 out of the 24 homes proposed.

Aliquot worked closely with a multitude of professionals, interest groups, and City Planning Committees. A team of professional experts, led by Aliquot: archaeologists, biologists, traffic engineers, and EIR consultants, worked with governmental agencies, such as the Native American Heritage Commission, the State Water Resource Agencies, along with the many City of Lafayette Planning Committees and the Saranap Homeowners Association. All with a hand in forming the outcome of the project, Aliquot steered the project to a successful end. The process resulted in a new superior access to the development and an approval of 21 out of the 24 homes proposed.