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Planning Committee explores possible sale of two parcels

By Sam Richards

Staff writer


Monday, January 22 (8:30 a.m.): The GRF Planning Committee on Thursday voted to recommend that the full GRF Board spend $20,000 on a study of the potential sale or development of two Rossmoor parcels – one of them the Rossmoor Garden Club’s current garden plot.

If the GRF Board follows this recommendation, the Walnut Creek-based firm LCA Architects (Loving and Campos) will now do “yield studies” of the garden parcel, on the extreme north edge of Rossmoor immediately south of the Trellis housing tract off Tice Valley Boulevard; and of a parcel on the east side of Terra Granada Drive, between Gray Eagle and Autumnwood drives.

These yield studies would analyze the two parcels’ development potential; develop an estimated value of the parcels based on the number of homes that could be built on each one; and “tell us how many hoops we’d have to jump through” to make it happen, GRF General Manager Jeff Matheson told the committee.

“It’s a very preliminary first step” in any potential land sale, Matheson said. Added committee Chairwoman Leanne Hamaji, “We’re just trying to find out what our options are.”

Under current plans, the Garden Club parcel would be zoned for single-family residential development, as is the adjacent Trellis development. These new homes, Matheson said, would not be part of Rossmoor.

The parcel on the east side of Terra Granada, between Gray Eagle and Autumnwood drives, however, could be sold to a developer to create a new Rossmoor Mutual, adding to Rossmoor’s overall housing inventory. The tentative proposal is to build “medium-density single-story townhome residential buildings,” up to three stories tall, at least some of them with elevators, which would parallel Terra Granada Drive.

These potential moves are seen as a new source of revenue. In addition to the initial land sale income, future sales of homes built on the Terra Granada site would generate membership transfer fees. Currently $13,000 per sale, this fee is paid by new residents buying a home in Rossmoor. That fee revenue is used to pay for capital projects within Rossmoor. Adding to Rossmoor’s housing stock, now at about 6,700 units, would over time increase the volume of those fees.

Sale of the Garden Club garden parcel would require moving the garden to a new spot somewhere within Rossmoor, Matheson said, adding that there are a few possibilities but that significant additional research would be required. The recommended study does not include funding for that research.

Garden Club leaders are aware of this proposal, said Matheson, adding that there will be opportunities for community participation in the

process later on.

Capital project priority list

Also Thursday, the Planning Committee voted to recommend that the GRF Board approve the highest-priority projects – eight of them – on the 2024 Capital Projects list.

Most of these projects – completing Gateway Studios renovation; the pickleball building; replacing the Tice Creek pool roof; the continuing Jenark management software replacement system; replacing “network gears” that enable communication among GRF computers; and the replastering of the Tice Creek pools and spa – are already underway and will need Board approval for 2024 funding, at a total of about $3.62 million.

The Planning Committee also voted to recommend Board approval of the 2024 Machinery and Equipment Budget, at just less than $660,000.

But regarding projects that have thus far been deemed 2024 priority 2 and 3 items, proposed for second- or third-quarter starts, recommendations to the GRF Board will wait at least until committee members go on what they called a “capital expenditures tour” to get an up-close look at where some of the work would be done.

Two locations mentioned Thursday were places where street-paving projects have been proposed, and the Buckeye tennis courts, where substantial maintenance work has been proposed.

“I feel like we need to see what you’re really talking about,” Hamaji told GRF staff at Thursday’s meeting. Matheson said such a tour can be arranged.

Five Rossmoor residents campaigned the committee on Thursday to support a “Priority 4” capital project, a proposed pedestrian and vehicle safety project study. They said drivers routinely ignore painted pedestrian crosswalks; that pedestrians often fail to use the orange flags when using crosswalks; and that drivers treat stop signs, as Bill Leary said, “as mere suggestions.”

Resident Kathy Montgomery said, “I tell people when they come to Rossmoor to drive defensively” while they’re here.

Hamaji said the safety study will be addressed at least twice by the full GRF Board in the coming months.

Pickleball building

Pickleball building project manager Fred Ponce told the Planning Committee he hopes ground for the new building near the Event Center will be broken in late April. As for a completion or opening date, Ponce said he couldn’t give an accurate answer, but the situation may well be clearer by early February.

Plans for the $2.9 million building, which will house six pickleball courts, were submitted to the city of Walnut Creek on Dec. 20 for review, Ponce said, adding that contractors are being solicited who may be interested in bidding the project. Those bids, he said, would be due by the end of March.