Proposed new homes on Agua Fría Street face scrutiny

April 4, 2019

A contentious proposal to build several dozen single-family homes on a vacant 12.5-acre property on Agua Fría Street is going back to the city Planning Commission on Thursday.

After facing stiff public opposition to the residential project at a commission meeting in January, the applicant reduced the number of proposed homes to 68 from 80, no longer requiring a rezoning.

The application originally included an R-7 rezoning request. “The Planning Commission recommended denial of the rezoning and the development plan,” city documents state, “and the applicant has revised the preliminary subdivision plat to comply with the existing R-5 zoning.”

The Land Use Department recommends approval of a preliminary subdivision plat with five conditions, including the construction of retention and infiltration ponds that drain within 24 hours.

The project, proposed by Dos Acequias LLC, would be at 1616 Agua Fría St., west of Mandela International Magnet School. It includes two adjoining parcels with unassigned addresses.

Under the latest proposal, the lots would be larger and include “side yard setback easements to accommodate two-story home designs,” documents state.

Area residents might not be satisfied with the changes.

In January, neighbors argued, among other things, that two-lane Agua Fría Street can’t handle the amount of traffic it has now and that additional housing in the area would only make matters worse.

“Area residents have expressed strong opposition to the proposed development, citing concerns with perceived failure of Agua Fría at current traffic volumes, and inadequacy of Agua Fría Street to handle the additional traffic that would be generated by this project,” documents state.

But city staff said traffic and road network issues have been thoroughly evaluated.

“Analysis by the Traffic Division indicates that appropriate levels of service and safety will be maintained with the proposed density,” documents state. “In fact, the revised [traffic impact analysis] shows that the [level of service] at Agua Fría improves over the original proposal.”

The city said Agua Fría Street has had much higher traffic volumes in the past that fell considerably after the construction of the Siler Road bridge over the Santa Fe River to connect with West Alameda Street in 2010.

“Although staff acknowledges that all development has an incremental impact on public roadway networks, staff concurs with the consulting engineer’s conclusion that Dos Acequias subdivision would ‘not have a significant adverse impact to the adjacent transportation system,’ ” documents state. “Non-significant impact does not mean that it will have no impact, but rather that the roadway network will continue to operate at an acceptable level of service based on transportation standards for intersection operation.”

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