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December 16, 2009 > Draft Housing Element approved

Draft Housing Element approved

By Meenu Gupta
Photos By Meenu Gupta

Newark City Council unanimously approved the Draft Housing Element and associated re-zoning following a hearing and approval of the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR).

No actual projects have been approved but future development would be streamlined, consistent with the Housing Element's vision. The update of the Housing Element includes much community input.

The Draft Housing Element has been revised; former Ruschin School and Junior High School sites have been removed from the Housing Element.

"Area 2 is expected to accommodate 1,953 units, 213 of them by 2014. Areas 3 and 4 are expected to accommodate 1,260 units, 518 of them by 2014. The City Hall site is expected to accommodate 352 units, 213 of them by 2014," said Community Development Director Terence Grindall.

Two, new mixed-use zoning districts called the Commercial Mixed Use (CMU) District and the Limited Commercial Mixed Use (CMUL) District have been added.

"This is a program EIR. There were some impacts identified," Grindall stated.

According to Section 1 of the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR), in which the potential impacts and mitigations are summarized, most impacts can be mitigated. Some of the impacts to air quality and traffic are significant for which a Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program (MMRP) has been prepared.

"In addition, as actual projects are proposed, there would be further environmental analysis," said Grindall.

"The vision for Area 4 is the same as the existing General Plan - residential, recreation, and open space. The Area 3 and 4 Specific Plan is more detailed - the DEIR for that project is available for public review now," he added.

"The Housing Element embraces 'smart growth' and 'green' principles. The goal in its development was to accommodate growth in a way that will lead to a more sustainable, healthy and vibrant community," said Grindall. "I believe its implementation will help to maintain and enhance the quality of life in Newark."

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