An environmental report finds that a proposed 264-unit apartment complex in southern Thousand Oaks would have no significant, unavoidable impacts.
Developer Kennedy Wilson wants to build the Gateway at the Oaks project on a 43-acre site at 1 Baxter Way near the intersection of Thousand Oaks and Westlake boulevards, across the street from Westlake High School.
Kennedy Wilson proposes building the apartments in four, multi-story buildings. Thirty-four of the units would be affordable, 18 would be low-income, and 16 would be very low-income.
Clean bill: Report: Large-planned Thousand Oaks complex would not significantly impact environment
“More housing is needed dearly in Thousand Oaks,” Dave Eadie, Kennedy Wilson’s senior vice president for entitlement and development, said Friday.
The draft environmental impact report, prepared by consultant ESA and released by the city earlier this month, found that the project would have no significant, unavoidable impacts in 17 areas that were evaluated. The study is required under the California Environmental Quality Act.
The project would not significantly impact aesthetics, air quality, biological resources, cultural resources, energy, geology and soils, greenhouse gas emissions, hazards and hazardous materials, and hydrology and water quality, according to the report.
It would also not significantly impact land use and planning, noise, population and housing, public services and recreation, transportation and traffic, tribal cultural resources, utilities and service systems, and wildfire, the report found.
Some of the areas evaluated, such as cultural resources and noise, would need mitigation measures to reduce their impacts to less than significant, according to the report. Others, such as aesthetics and greenhouse gas emissions, would need no mitigation measures to be less than significant, the report said.
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Much of the Gateway at the Oaks site, which the Beverly Hills-based developer owns, exists as parking lots for an office building. Portions of the lots would be removed but the building would remain.
New subterranean parking and surface parking would be built for residents and new surface parking would be built for the office building.
Amenities would include a swimming pool, fitness and lounge areas, a dog park, a children’s play area, a barbecue space and a fire pit.
Eadie said the developer was naturally pleased with the report’s findings.
“It’s great news,” he said. “Because if you have a significant, unavoidable impact, that’s problematic for the decision makers.”
He said proposed projects as large as Gateway at the Oaks usually prompt concerns from residents about environmental impacts.
“But in each of the categories that the EIR reviewed, every one of them were found to be less than significant,” he said.
Kelvin Parker, Thousand Oaks’ community development director, said Thursday that it’s fairly common for projects to have no significant impacts.
“Particularly here in Thousand Oaks,” he said.
While the City Council will take that into consideration when it comes time to decide whether or not to approve the project, the report “primarily lets the community know that no significant environmental impacts will result from the project as proposed at that location,” Parker said.
Eadie said the planned complex’s site is ideally suited for the project in part because of its proximity to Highway 101.
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“It provides walkability to the nearby Promenade (shopping mall),” he said. “And it’s screened by trees along the entire perimeter.”
Furthermore, he said, the site is nearly a mile from any residential neighborhoods.
The public can review the draft environmental report until 5 p.m. May 31, either in person at City Hall, 2100 Thousand Oaks Blvd. or on the city’s website, toaks.org.
They can email comments to Senior Planner Carlos Contreras at [email protected] by the deadline.
The city will then respond to the comments and issue the final environmental impact report.
But before the final study is released, the project will go before the city’s planning commission, which will make a recommendation to the City Council. The council will have the final report when it considers the project.
The proposed development cleared its first hurdle in February 2021 when it passed a City Council “pre-screening” allowing it to go through the city’s review and evaluation process.
Mike Harris covers the East County cities of Moorpark, Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks, as well as transportation countywide. You can contact him at [email protected] or 805-437-0323.
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