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Published February 22, 2017
Moraga warns consultant in Specific Plan project

As the town prepares a detailed zoning for the Moraga Center Specific Plan, some members on town council say they are willing to reconsider some boundaries and densities, not to mention those in favor of reexamining the conformity of the MCSP with the town's General Plan. But is Opticos, the consultant that started that work, the right fit for Moraga?
When the town approved the MCSP seven years ago, it did not have the time or resources to develop the precise zoning that will implement the vision. For example a density was given to a specific area, but the setbacks, the height, the designs of the buildings were not defined. Last year the town received a grant to start this complex process, and created a committee where two council members, Mayor Teresa Onoda and council member Dave Trotter, sit with Opticos.
At the Feb. 8 meeting where an additional budget for Opticos was on the agenda, the mayor voiced her doubts. She said that she has been wondering if the consultant was listening to what was being asked, explaining that revisions were not made according to requirements. She tempered her concern by saying that Opticos did a great job on form-base zoning that is proposed for the center of the town.
Trotter added that what had been asked was to extend the boundaries of the three-homes-per-acre zone that is now proposed along Camino Ricardo and Moraga Way, up the hill to the ridge. The new idea would be to limit higher densities to flat areas behind the top of the hill that borders Moraga Way, so that no high-density buildings would appear over the top of the hill. Trotter confirmed that the form-base zoning for the town center was appropriate, and that in his opinion the density boundary modifications would not require a reexamination of the MCSP.
Council member Kymberleigh Korpus indicated that in her view the zoning should look at setbacks, height and protection of views. She added that she is in favor of reexamining the compliance of the MCSP with the town's General Plan.
Both Onoda and Trotter recommended that another $17,000 be approved for Opticos to continue its work until May, but that the consultant would have to show that it listens to what council members want to get the last $50,000 that it initially charged. The recommendation was approved unanimously.


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