New housing to be built in west Hayward

Yousuf Fahimuddin,

Hayward’s city council, with much visible regret, paved the way for a new housing settlement to be built near the Costco in the Eden Shores area Tuesday night.

The motion was passed 5-1, with Mayor Michael Sweeney being the sole vote in opposition to the settlement.

It will be built in two phases; phase one will see the building of 66 single-family homes and a public park area in the center of the complex. Legacy Partners, based in Foster City, Calif, will build the project.

After retail developments are built in lots to the south and west of the nearby Costco, the last 52 homes will be built. No estimates were made as to how long that would take.

Steve Dunn, senior managing director of Legacy Partners, said they hope to find a small grocer to fill the retail area, or a restaurant or drugstore. In one of these lots, there were plans to build a 24 Hour Fitness gym, which fell through.

The empty lot was originally set for partial commercial development, however in 2007 the land use was changed to allow the site to be built entirely as a housing development.

The site was originally designated for 167 houses to be built in 2007, to be built by the same group, Legacy Partners. However due to the recession, said Dunn, the settlement could not be built.

Sweeney said he couldn’t vote in favor of the resolution because the city had previously promised that only commercial developments would be built east of the railroad tracks running through the area.

This was in an effort to create new jobs in Hayward, and was also due to the presence of the Pepsi Bottling plant, located across the street from the housing development, which made the area allegedly unsuitable for housing, according to Councilmember Barbara Halliday.

“In 1998, the community was promised that anything east of the railroad tracks would not be housing,” said Sweeney. “It was to be used to build light industrial or business parks that would generate jobs. And since that we’ve seen more and more housing.”

Despite comments from Councilmembers like Al Mendall who raised concerns over the potential for sea level rise causing issues in the near future, many councilmembers voiced their displeasure with the new development, but decided to support it despite their concerns.

Mark Salinas voted in favor of the development, but said he hopes that retail development is prioritized in the future.

“[Dunn] has been with us for some time now and has been working with us and I don’t want to send the message that we’ll work with you up until the 99 yard line, if you get into the red zone and the ball gets fumbled so I’m concerned about the message that this sends beyond our city,” said Salinas.

The location does not have much crime, according to crime reporting website CrimeMapping. In the past year, only 5 crimes were committed in the immediate local area.

The new development doesn’t meet code regulations, says Linda Ajello, associate city planner. But since the plan is similar to the one like the Bridgeport development, which did meet regulations, the city staff and council decided to support it.

According to the staff report, some of the homes will not meet lot size requirements, and most homes will have front lawns that are less than 20 feet. The report proposes an amenity to this by building a small park area in the center of the development, hosting a play structure, lawn and benches.

Dunn stated a date has not been set to begin construction, but he hopes to have started development by next year.