Mixed-income housing proposed for California’s richest city

Developer seeks mixed-income housing in Belvedere for first time in more than 30 years

Developer Bruce Dorfman and Belvedere Island (Civil and Environmental Engineering - The University of Michigan, LoopNet, iStock)
Developer Bruce Dorfman and Belvedere Island (Civil and Environmental Engineering - The University of Michigan, LoopNet, iStock)

California’s richest city could soon become more affordable.

Developer Bruce Dofrman aims to build a mixed-income multifamily project on Belvedere Island for the first time in 33 years, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The 42-unit Mallard Pointe development would replace the 22-apartment complex on a 2.8-acre site along Belvedere Lagoon, the newspaper said. Plans call for 19 new homes along the lagoon’s edge as well as a 23-unit apartment complex along Mallard Road.

The project will include five deed-restricted affordable units that will be priced for families making between 60-80 percent of the area median income, which is between $77,000-$100,000 for a couple. Five more apartments will be “affordable by design” one-bedroom units.

Six of the single-family homes along the lagoon will be marketed as affordable housing and three of the homes will also include affordable accessory dwelling units.

Dorfman says he and his group are working to minimize its impact on neighbors. With 13 units per acre, the development would be less dense than the 80 units allowed under zoning ordinances.

Because the city doesn’t have an inclusionary housing law that requires developers to include market-rate homes, the last time affordable housing was built in Belvedere was in 1989, when 11 senior apartments sprouted. Beyond that, the last market-rate multifamily housing complex in the city opened in 1969.

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“We are not trying to break a glass ceiling,” Dorfman told the Chronicle. “We are trying to do something that is consistent and contextual that the city should embrace. We think we have done that from a design standpoint.”

Some residents of the wealthy, mostly white area, where the average home sells for more than $3 million and lagoon-front homes sell for anything between $5 million and $10 million, have raised concern about the project.

Critics formed a group called Belvedere Residents for Intelligent Growth. They cite “serious concerns about the potential impacts on local flood control, zoning consistency and soil stability that could be caused by this large-scale waterfront subdivision.”

Members of the group also said they’re concerned about the potential displacement of those who live in the rental homes that would be torn down to make way for the new development.

“We are all for progress but smart progress,” the group said in a statement. “We are working with the City of Belvedere to ensure we meet our state-mandated affordable housing goals in a way that is environmentally sustainable and protective of the rights of existing residents and rent-paying tenants.”

Tenants of those homes will be given the opportunity to return to live in the new apartments, Dorfman said. The residents will be given $6,500 in relocation assistance and an additional $7,500 if they choose to move back into the new units.

The proposal will be submitted to the city next week.

[SFC] — Victoria Pruitt

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