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Council Oks Rezone, Frets Over School
July 24, 1997


Thursday, July 24, 1997
Section: news
Page: A03

RICHMOND The City Council tentatively approved a proposal to rezone land near the Richmond Parkway for possible development of up to 700 homes. 

Despite concerns about the possible effect on schools, council members voted 6-2 for the plan. Under the proposal, 200 acres in the Hilltop area would be rezoned to allow for single-family houses. 

Council members first asked if there were enough schools to accommodate what could be hundreds of students living in the two developments. 

"We're at the start of really developing that area, and there are no schools in that area," said Councilwoman Lesa McIntosh. 

Gary Freschi, who's in charge of facilities and planning for the West Contra Costa Unified School District, told council members the district was negotiating with the developer regarding funding for schools. 

Freschi said the district would look to bus students to the closest school sites. But he said he had confidence any issues with the development would be worked out before any housing was built. 

Councilman Tom Butt voted against the plan, saying he couldn't support rezoning until the school issues had been addressed. Councilman Nat Bates also voted no, objecting to the proposed developments' proximity to industry. 

"I can't envision the great need to have housing near the freeway," Bates said. 

The rezoning matter will come up for final council approval at its next regular meeting in September. 

Citation Homes is the proposed developer for both sites. The bigger development of up to 645 houses would be on 135 acres just off the Parkway between Giant and Atlas roads. 

A smaller development of up to 43 single family homes would be on 13-acres near the YMCA on Lakeside Drive. 

The project has passed through the environmental stage and needs to go through further Planning Commission approvals, which could happen this fall, said Natalia Lawrence, an associate city planner.