The 206-unit Toscano Apartments, shown in this artistic rendering, will be located on 7.8 acres, between East Lake and West Lake drives.

The Elk Grove Planning Commission on March 18 unanimously approved plans for the Toscano Apartments, a 206-unit apartment complex that will be built in the Laguna West area.

The project site, which is owned by KF Properties, is located on two parcels, totaling 7.8 acres, between East Lake and West Lake drives. This property is currently undeveloped and is bordered by a park to the north, assembly uses and an apartment complex to the east, single-family development to the south, and an apartment complex to the west.

Running north and south through the site is a parkway that is owned by the Cosumnes Community Services District.

Plans for the Toscano Apartments project include four three-story, multi-family residential apartment buildings, two clubhouses, a swimming pool, a community garden, a dog park, a bocce ball court, and outdoor eating and meeting areas.

The apartment buildings will be located along the streets and parkway, and will be built in the Spanish Hacienda architectural style, with stucco exterior walls and concrete roof tiles. They will also include accent tile, stone veneer, vertical wood grain siding, decorative vent pipe detailing, and tubular steel railing.

The complex will also include covered parking and tuck-under garages and landscape areas.

Also approved by the commission was a minor deviation for a reduction in the number of required parking spaces.

While the city’s zoning code for this property required 412 parking spaces, the project’s applicant proposed 371 spaces – which is a 10% reduction of the parking space requirement for this project.

Justifications for the minor deviation to the original parking space requirement is the nearby availability of on-street parking, the existence of a major employer and commercial uses adjacent to the site, and the property’s short distance from an existing bus stop with various routes, including a commuter route to downtown Sacramento. The site is also located near a future transit hub with a commuter line, noted Sarah Kirchgessner, senior planner for the city.

The city staff report mentions that “residents will benefit from the opportunity to utilize public transit rather than vehicles for their transportation needs, resulting in a lower parking demand for the site.”

Kirchgessner added that adjacent stalls are “not expected to be impacted.”

She also told the commission that when reviewing the parking requirement for tenants of this future apartment complex, and not spaces for their guests, the necessary number of spaces do not exceed the original parking requirement.

Chair George Murphey described his own assessment of parking for this project.

“I figured up about 11 spaces overparked when it comes to the unit requirement, which would actually give you 11 spaces available for visitor parking, resulting in really a net loss of about 31 parking spaces,” he said.

Kirchgessner told Murphey that she agreed with that assessment.

Murphey concluded that he is “OK” with the minor deviation to the parking space requirement.

“I think the parking is going to be ample when you consider vacancy rates, the overparking anyways,” he said. “It’s a little bit less than 10% now. So, I think we’re going to be good on this.”

The project will also comply with the city’s Climate Action Plan for new, multi-family developments, through electric appliances, an off-road construction fleet, and eight electric vehicle charging station spaces.

This project site is among the properties that were selected during the city’s 2014 General Plan housing element to meet Elk Grove’s regional housing needs for low- and very low-income residential developments.

Kirchgessner mentioned that the project meets the 2014 housing element requirement that it be developed at a minimum density of 21 dwelling units per acre.

“The project’s proposed density of 26.1 (dwelling units per acre) is consistent with the density requirements of the General Plan; however, the project’s units will be market rate,” she said.

Kirchgessner added that the 2021-2029 housing element update, which is anticipated for adoption later this year, does not include the site of this apartment complex project, and the city will not have to find a replacement site to meet its housing element requirements.

The city staff report for this project notes that it is anticipated that the city’s housing element update will meet the unit allocation requirement for low- and very low-income units through the rezoning of other sites in the city.

Furthermore, Kirchgessner noted the city’s General Plan housing element does not require projects to be affordable, but instead it requires them to be built at certain densities.

The 2021-2029 housing element is anticipated to be approved by the City Council prior to the state’s deadline of May 15.