January 26, 2022
By Jon Peterson
The mixed-income proposal will revitalize 70-year-old site along Belvedere Lagoon with 42 housing units including 12 affordable residences comprised of below market rate units, ADUs, and affordable-by-design one-bedroom apartments.
The owners of Mallard Pointe (1 – 22 Mallard Road, Belvedere) submitted a final application under Senate Bill 330 to the City of Belvedere to revitalize the existing 2.8-acre site with a new, mixed-income community of 42 residences adjacent to Belvedere Lagoon. In the affluent City of Belvedere, it has been over three decades since the last multi-family housing project was approved (which contained 11 units) and the City has added less than two units per year on average over the past 20 years. The Mallard Pointe proposal would represent the City’s first residential community that combines market-rate and affordable housing.
Built in 1951, Mallard Pointe is currently composed of 22 market-rate units that are facing obsolescence due to settlement, deferred maintenance, antiquated floor plans, nonconformance with current building and fire codes, and rising sea levels. The site is located in a zone designated “Medium Density Residential,” offering a rare chance to create new housing as the City responds to the State’s requirement of 160 new housing units in Belvedere pursuant to the current Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA). The Belvedere General Plan allows up to 56 units on Mallard Pointe’s nearly three-acre property, which could increase to more than 80 units through the State Density Bonus Law. At 42 units, the proposal seeks approximately half the density that the State law allows. Further, the property is within one half-mile of both a bus stop and the Tiburon ferry terminal, which provide commuter access to San Francisco.
“Today, the prospects for new housing in Belvedere are essentially nonexistent,” offered Eric Hohmann, a long-time Belvedere resident and co-owner of Mallard Pointe. “Given that Mallard Pointe must be essentially rebuilt for its long-term sustainability, there is an opportunity to create a variety of housing choices that are designed to meet the needs of the local community. The proposed mix of new residences will introduce some affordable housing to the site and respond to the increasing demand of those who are looking to downsize from their current homes while remaining in Belvedere.”
The proposed revitalization plan conforms to the existing development pattern in Belvedere in which lower-density single-family and duplexes ring the Lagoon and multi-level apartment buildings are located on in-land parcels. The plan proposes 42 new housing units including five Lagoon-fronting duplexes, and six Lagoon-fronting single-family homes, and 23 highly amenitized apartments (ranging from one to three bedrooms) oriented towards the Community Park and City Hall. Three of the single-family homes include a one-bedroom accessory dwelling unit (ADU). In total, a dozen affordable units would be created through deed-restricted below market rate apartments (four), ADUs (three), and “affordable-by-design” one-bedroom apartments (five). Currently, there is no inclusionary housing requirement in Belvedere.
Another important feature, as required by City code, is that the revitalized Mallard Pointe will be Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)-compliant with the first occupied floor located above the base flood elevation plus one foot (i.e., 11 feet above sea level) to address rising sea levels. In addition, the new residences will incorporate modern sustainability features and be built to the latest seismic, structural, and life/safety standards, including fire suppression systems and improved building access for first responders. The sponsors are also proposing a community benefits package that includes enhanced pedestrian connections to improve walkability and 114 bike parking spaces that exceeds the number of car parking spaces to discourage reliance upon automobiles.
To date, the owners of Mallard Pointe have held more than 100 stakeholder meetings, as well as a City-hosted study session, to receive community feedback to help shape the project. In response to input, the team removed five units from the original plan, increased the project’s setback from Community Road, and significantly revised the architecture of the apartment building.
As explained in the January 19, 2021: Memorandum on Housing Information on the City of Belvedere’s website, SB 330, also known as the Housing Crisis Act, modified State housing laws “to increase residential unit development, protect existing housing inventory, and expedite the permitting process.” This law, in conjunction with the fact that Mallard Pointe is a qualifying state density bonus project, helps to facilitate much-needed housing projects such as this one.
The reimagined Mallard Pointe is designed by local, award-winning architectural firms with decades of experience in Marin County.