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By Chris Frost
Thousand Oaks--The City Council, on April 27, approved a residential capacity allocation and initiation for a project located at 2150 West Hillcrest Drive.
Amgen is the applicant, and the project is a mixed-use multi-family concept.
Senior Planner Carlos Contreras is asking the council to allocate residential capacity and initiate a general plan amendment to allocate 246 residential units.
The request initiates the general plan amendment and allocates Measure E units, allows concurrent processing, and evaluates the Measure E unit allocations concept.
"In this case, legislative actions include allocation of the units," he said. "It also evaluates the proposed concept, based on the new simplified pre-screen criteria adopted by the city council in December 2020."
The pre-screening process serves as a tool necessary to allocate the request for 246 Measure E units. The pre-screening process is an evaluation of the proposed concept against the adopted city criteria.
"The current refined pre-screen process calls for a conceptual level review, based on manuals, to determine whether the site should be allocated units," he said. "In this case, a mixed-use and multi-family residential concept requesting 246 Measure E units. Tonight's action is not approving the project. It's allowing the concept to proceed with review and evaluation associated with the submittal of the formal application. This action does not guarantee that the project will be approved during the formal review process."
The project will be further evaluated by the planning commission and the city council.
"The applicant has 12 months to submit the formal application, and it should be known that the project may be modified between now and the submittal of the formal application," Contreras said. "These concepts can be further refined to meet city standards, codes, and policies."
The project is at the pre-screen stage, which is the initial first step. The next step is the pre-application step to iron out the development standard and project specifics.
"Then it follows a formal development application," he said. "That will be reviewed for conformance and thereafter, the environmental analysis that will be reviewed for compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act."
At the end of the process, the planning commission will review and evaluate the project, he said, hold public hearings, and make recommendations to the city council.
"The city council would hold the public hearing and take final action on the proposal," he said. "The council will get another opportunity to re-evaluate the proposal for final review and consideration."
Key considerations on this project are the project plan, concept plan, concept features, and the Regional Housing Needs Assessment as it relates to affordable housing units.
The project sits on an 8.2-acre site, with six buildings, one mixed-use, and five multi-family, podium-style, and surface parking, and 333 total units with 246 Measure E units. There are 28 units designated as affordable units.
"This concept includes a 35 percent density bonus, which nets an additional 87 units," he said. "In order for the applicant to obtain those 87 density bonus units, the applicant will include 20 affordable units in the very low-income category or 50 in the low-income category."
The proposed site currently has a two-story commercial office building.
"With the submittal of the formal application, technical studies will be required, including a tree report and an assessment of tree impacts and protection standards," he said.
Contreras said the concept includes 10,000 square feet of commercial space located within the mixed-use component of the concept.
The proposed mixed-use building is primarily three stories, multi-family residential buildings at the rear, with a mix of three and four stories.
"Primary vehicle access is provided along West Hillcrest Drive," Contreras said. The site is limited to Hillcrest Drive because of the size proximity to the 101 off-ramp."
The site is neighbored by industrial land uses to the northwest, commercial to the west, residential, and multi-family residential to the east.
"The proposed concept will provide workforce housing in this area, in an industrial biotech complex known as the Amgen campus, directly to the north," he said. "There will be nearby industrial and commercial development providing job opportunities."
There is food, grocery, entertainment, professional offices, personal services, and other retail uses in the area.
"The site is near several bus stops that are within 400 feet of the site," he said. "Additional bus stops are located within a half-mile. The nearby public transit will provide connections to the Thousand Oaks Transit Center. The subject site also has existing bicycle lanes along West Hillcrest Drive and Conejo Road."
Mayor Claudia Bill-de la Peña said the project has been a few years in the making, and it's an opportunity site for Amgen.
"It's trying to vitalize the industrial area," she said. "It also provides services such as a hotel which is desperately needed in that area."
Community Development Manager Kelvin Parker said this is one of the concepts that can ultimately be placed on the site.
"The applicant, in this instance, Amgen, has yet to find a development partner to develop the site," he said. "There's potential for the commercial aspect of that site to change."
He said it sets the upper limit for the residential component of the mixed-use project.
Colby Allen from Amgen said the company is excited to present one conceptual design to contribute to the overall need for mixed-use development in the city.
"We're seeking an allocation of residential density to allow the City of Thousand Oaks and the future developer the widest range of options to enable a future mixed-use development," he said. "Those options could include hotel, retail, commercial and residential in any number of concept designs. It matches the highest and best use for the parcel and the community."
Keith McCloskey from KTGY said while working with Amgen; there are a number of different ways to integrate mixed-use delivery of different programs and land uses at the site.
"Ultimately, what we arrived at as the best use for the site is a mixed-use of some ground floor commercial with the idea that it's along Hillcrest Drive," he said.
This story will continue on May 7.