Moraga Center Specific Plan Implementation Project

The Moraga Center Specific Plan Implementation Project (MCSP-IP) concerns the development of code amendments, policies and design standards to more effectively implement the adopted Specific Plan, address potential inconsistencies between the Municipal Code and the Specific Plan, and avoid ambiguities and uncertainty in implementing Specific Plan policies. The project intends to close the gap between the Specific Plan’s policy guidance and the more specific regulation provided by zoning standards and requirements.

The MCSP-IP continues the 20-year plus planning process for the Moraga Center area. During the summer and fall of 2019, a 35-member Citizens Advisory Committee met four times and provided input on the zoning implementation project which is now before the Planning Commission and is scheduled to be heard by the Town Council later this calendar year. Public input is welcome and encouraged at the Planning Commission and Town Council meetings.

The adoption of the proposed zoning does not directly result in development. A developer must submit an application to the Town for a project, and each application must go through the Planning Commission/ Town Council review process. The proposed zoning includes the maximum development potential; however, the property owner(s)/ developers will consider market conditions when proposing development. At this time, the Town has not received a formal or preliminary application for any development project in the Moraga Center area.

The community’s vision for the Moraga Center as a focal point and pedestrian-oriented activity center with higher density housing and mixed uses was defined in the Town’s General Plan adopted in 2002 following a three-year public process. Work on the Moraga Center Specific Plan began in 2003 and included seven years of robust public input and analysis culminating in the adoption of the Moraga Center Specific Plan. In 2010, the Town adopted a new Residential R-20 Zoning District that applies to a portion of the MCSP area and allows for 20 residential dwelling units per acre or 30 Senior Housing residential dwelling units per acre. In January 2015, after outreach and public engagement, the Town adopted the 2015-2023 Housing Element that continues the General Plan vision of higher density housing in the MCSP area to maximize opportunity for the development of housing to accommodate anticipated growth and meet the State’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation.

 The California Government Code requires internal consistency in the General Plan, Specific Plans and zoning code. Inconsistencies in the MCSP and current zoning has created challenges for the Planning Commission and Town Council when considering development. Between 2015 and 2017, the Town worked to implement the remaining MCSP zoning, but was unable to finish due to lack of funds. Alignment of the Town’s adopted plans with the zoning code is a high priority Council goal. The MCSP zoning implementation project has been impacted by recent State laws that encourage the development of more housing in response to the housing crisis. These laws, such as SB 35 and SB 330, have limited local jurisdictions’ land use authority thereby impacting the Town’s ability to limit development in the MCSP area and reduce the densities and other development standards adopted already in the 2010 MCSP.

Planning Commission Meeting - Monday, August 17, 2020

The public hearing was continued from July 17, 2020 to discuss the proposed amendments to the Town’s Zoning Code and Design Guidelines to implement the 2010 Moraga Center Specific Plan.  The Planning Commission reviewed the staff report, took public comment, provided feedback on the proposed changes to the Zoning Code and Design Guidelines and made a motion to approve the Zoning Code with amendments. The Design Guidelines were continued to the Public Hearing on Monday, September 21, 2020 when further review and discussion will take place prior to their recommendation to the Town Council.

Planning Commission Meeting - Monday, July 20, 2020

A Public Hearing was held to provide an overview of the proposed amendments to the Town’s Zoning Code and Design Guidelines to implement the 2010 Moraga Center Specific Plan.  The Planning Commission reviewed the staff report, took public comment, provided feedback on the proposed changes to the Zoning Code and Design Guidelines and continued the Public Hearing to Monday, August 17, 2020 when further review and discussion will take place prior to their recommendation to the Town Council.

Moraga Center Specific Plan Implementation Project Citizens’ Advisory Committee

A Moraga Center Specific Plan (MCSP) Citizen’s Advisory Committee (CAC) has been formed to provide input to the Planning Commission and Town Council on the final zoning and development standards for the 187-acre Moraga Center Specific Plan Area. The goal of this project is to implement the adopted land use goals of the MCSP by providing Moraga with zoning for potential development of a revitalized retail core, public space amenities, and a variety of housing types. The committee will meet at least three times over the course of 6 to 9 months. The composition of the MCSP CAC includes commissioners, residents, property owners, business owners and representatives from various stakeholder groups.

Citizens’ Advisory Committee Meeting Number 4 - Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The fourth and final meeting of the Moraga Center Specific Plan (MCSP) Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) was held Tuesday, October 1, 2019 at
Saint Mary’s College.

The MCSP CAC is assisting the Town in crafting the zoning and development standards to implement the MCSP adopted in 2010. At this final meeting, CAC provided input and recommendations to the Town on land use priorities for the zoning document. The maximum development potential of the area was approved in 2010 along with the Environmental Impact Report that included mitigation measures. Amendment of the MCSP falls outside of the scope of this implementation project.

Citizens’ Advisory Committee Meeting Number 3 - Thursday, September 19, 2019

The third meeting of the Moraga Center Specific Plan (MCSP) Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) was held on Thursday, September 19 at Saint Mary’s College Rheem Campus. At this third meeting CAC members and the public worked in small groups to discuss land use and development standards, specifically as it relates to allocation, setbacks on scenic corridors, sidewalks, etc. Amendment of the MCSP falls outside of the scope of this implementation project.

Citizens’ Advisory Committee Meeting Number 2 - Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The MCSP Implementation Project Citizens’ Advisory Committee (CAC) held its second meeting on Wednesday, September 4, 2019 at the St. Mary’s College. The focus of the meeting was a discussion of two draft land use scenarios and related visual simulations that could occur under the MCSP, and how those scenarios will guide the development of zoning and design guidelines for the Moraga Center. Please click on the following links for the meeting agenda, cover memo, and design scenarios/visual simulations.

Citizens’ Advisory Committee Meeting Number 1 - Monday, July 8, 2019

The Moraga Center Specific Plan (MCSP) Implementation Project Citizens’ Advisory Committee (CAC) held its first meeting on Monday, July 8, at the St. Mary’s College (SMC) Soda Center. The focus of the meeting was to introduce the project team and the various members of the CAC and describe the background, process, and timeline for completion of the development standards and zoning provisions that will implement the MCSP. The role of the CAC was also discussed in the upcoming review of several design scenarios that will be presented to outline the vision for development of the Moraga Center.

Background Documents