Nautilus Project Moves Forward to Design Review

204 residential unit, 34,000 sq. ft retail project at key intersection set for hearing at 4 PM on Sept. 30th.
Monday, September 21, 2015

The Nautilus Group’s large mixed use project on the western border of Rockridge took a major step forward by filing of a formal application and scheduling a public hearing before the Planning Commission’s Design Review Committee (DRC).  The hearing is set for Wednesday, September 30th at 4 PM at Oakland City Hall.  The project, which includes 204 apartments as well as almost 34,000 square feet of ground floor commercial retail area, replaces two earlier projects, Civiq and Creekside, both of which had received City approval but neither of which ended up being built.

The project would fill almost the entire block between busy Telegraph Avenue on its west and small, residential Clarke Street on its east, bordering 51st Street on its south and Claremont Avenue on its north.

The developer, The Nautilus Group, has been working on plans for the project for quite some time and has given neighborhood presentations to RCPC, the FROG Park Committee, and the Temescal community.  Nautilus presented the project at an RCPC town hall meeting this spring.  Nautilus has also invited those interested to meet with its project team individually.  Still, the DRC hearing caught most community members by surprise; nobody at RCPC, the FROG Park Committee, or STAND (a Temescal residents’ group) was notified before the hearing was posted.  RCPC has obtained project plan's from the city's files, and has posted them in a folder on Dropbox.com, where they may be viewed and downloaded.

The project site is one of the larger developable sites in North Oakland, totaling almost two acres.  Both Civiq and Creekside development project triggered significant community opposition, resulting in major project revisions.  The Nautilus project, however, benefits from the recent citywide rezoning, which allows heights of up to sixty feet on most of the site (except its eastern edge) by right.  11% of the project's units would be designated as affordable to very low income households, entitling it, by state law, to a 35% density bonus. Nautilus is also asking to exceed the height limit (with roof greenhouses, the proposed maximum height is 90 feet) and for waivers of loading dock and off-street parking requirements.

The City has not yet decided whether to grant Nautilus' request to either exempt the project from environmental review or streamline that review.  RCPC is asking the DRC to make the public hearing an opportunity for preliminary design input, with another public hearing once the project’s environmental impacts (which could include traffic, parking, noise, and shadowing impacts) have been better defined.