Proposal for Petaluma luxury apartments on hold

Developers of a proposed high-end apartment complex in east Petaluma will need to reconsider their plans if they want approval from the City Council.

After a hearing that lasted past midnight Monday, it appeared there weren't four votes needed to approve San Francisco developer JDA West's planned 144-unit complex at 35 Maria Dr., southeast of the Washington Square shopping center off South McDowell Boulevard.

Mayor David Glass, Councilmen Mike Healy and Chris Albertson and Councilwoman Teresa Barrett expressed concerns over the density and design of the project.

Councilwoman Kathy Miller and Councilmen Mike Harris and Gabe Kearney supported the project, saying it fills an important housing need, given the city's 2 percent rental vacancy rate.

Ultimately, the hearing was put on hold to allow developers time to determine whether a they wanted to return with a redesigned project that satisfy the council's concerns and be financially viable for them.

In August, the Planning Commission recommended approval of a general plan amendment and a zoning change to allow the complex, billed as a luxury development where 1,000-square-foot units would rent for $2,000 a month.

A group of neighbors urged the city to reconsider, saying the density of the three-story complex is incompatible with their neighborhood of single-family homes.

Neighbors also objected to what they believe will be excessive traffic, noise and a lack of privacy with a nearby apartment complex. The parcel currently has a half-empty office complex on it.

"It's inappropriate for this street in this area," said neighborhood leader Kathleen Garvey.

"Our neighborhood is going to be probably destroyed," said Stanley Dettner, who said he has lived in the area for 44 years.

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