Developer to spare more oak trees in Windsor housing project

Clark Mason, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
A controversial apartment project proposed in downtown Windsor has a new name, and a new design that calls for the removal of almost 50 fewer oak trees than before.
The old “Bell Village” moniker has been dropped, replaced by “Vintage Oaks on the Town Green,” but the changes are more than just a renaming and appear to have gone a long way toward appeasing critics.
In the face of strong opposition from some residents and feedback from the Town Council, the developers went back to the drawing board and came up with a plan that expands open space, preserves more trees and adds a variety of housing.
“We think we have a better project because of this,” said Peter Stanley, a Santa Rosa architect and principal in ArchiLOGIX, the company hired to help design and develop the apartment project. “We have a significantly different site plan than we did before.”
Prodded by Town Council members who wanted to see more than just three-story townhomes, the project still calls for a total of 387 units, but would be split almost evenly between townhomes and “stacked flat” apartments, with most of the apartments served by elevators to better accommodate seniors and disabled persons.
The changes are getting generally favorable reviews from critics of Bell Village, with some caveats.“I was encouraged they redesigned it to save more trees. I felt our message has gotten through to them. I have to say I’m happy about that,” said Eric Wee, a Windsor resident who spearheaded a petition drive that was signed by more than 1,000 people urging the Town Council to reject Bell Village.
He noted that the revised plans call for cutting 47 fewer trees than before, but said he still wants to walk the site — the former Windsorland mobile home and trailer park — to see which trees are proposed for removal and which will be saved.
And Wee remains concerned that the apartment project has too many units, considering that combined with another proposed development — Windsor Mill — they would add almost 800 rental dwellings to downtown Windsor, increasing traffic and potentially altering the character of a town defined mostly by owner-occupied, single family homes.
The developers and their supporters counter that Vintage Oaks is exactly the type of higher density housing specified in Windsor’s general plan, on an infill site close to a train depot, within walking distance of parks, schools, shopping and restaurants.
Read more at: Developer to spare more oak trees in Windsor | The Press Democrat

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