County Board of Supervisors Approves Plans For Diablo GlenDec 01, 2022 08:27AM ● By Harper Klein
A proposal from Spieker Senior Development Partners that will turn a 30.4-acre parcel of undeveloped land on the easterly end of Seven Hills Ranch Road into Diablo Glen—a continuing care community for close to 460 adult residents—was approved by the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.
Situated in an unincorporated area of Walnut Creek, adjacent to Heather Farm Park and Seven Hills School, the property required a General Plan Amendment to change the land use designation from Single-Family Residential, Medium Density (166 homes) to Multiple-Family Residential, Congregate Care.
After hearing over six hours of public comment, predominantly in opposition to the project from parents and students at Seven Hills School, members of the grassroots organization Save Seven Hills Ranch, and residents in the Heather Farm Homeowners Association, the board voted 5-0 in favor of multiple zoning exceptions and code changes to move the project forward.
As the final authority in the county, project entitlement by the board authorizes Spieker to initiate the application process for permits and licenses.
Part of the proposal includes community benefits: a $2 million annuity for financial assistance to residents; an offer of dedication for a 2.4-acre trail bordering the canal; and a payment of $3 million over a decade to be allocated at the discretion of the county. To offset impacts to roadways and Heather Farm Park, the board earmarked $2.5 million of the discretionary funds for expenditure in Walnut Creek (subject to approval.)
When completed, the gated community will consist of a four-story,
500,000-square-foot apartment building for 302 residents, 30 one-story buildings
with 52 units, an 85,000-square-foot health center for 100 residents (and
non-residents) requiring skilled nursing care, a large clubhouse with bar and restaurant,
a recreation center, a maintenance building, and 594 parking spaces, plus a
myriad of other amenities. Construction requires the removal of 75,000 cubic yards of
soil and 353 code protected trees.
"The Final Environmental Impact Report (October 11, 2022) identifies significant impacts that can be mitigated," stated John Kopchik, Director Contra Costa County Department of Conservation and Development, at the hearing. "We have sufficiently addressed the concerns in our staff report raised by the Planning Commission and City of Walnut Creek. "In my opinion this project allows a lot more people to live here than if it were a single family dwelling neighborhood."
Primary access to Diablo Glen, proposed off Kinross Drive, requires approval from the City of Walnut Creek. The property is nestled in a residential area surrounded by single family homes and apartments, along with Heather Farm Park, Seven Hills School, Diablo Hills Golf Course, and John Muir Health Center.