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The number of residential building permits issued in Galt has fluctuated widely. Community Development Director Craig Hoffman said 120-150 permits per year is an ideal range. The 2022 permits number is projected.

Codified design standards for housing projects would clarify what features Galt expects from homebuilders, Community Development Director Craig Hoffman said at this month’s Planning Commission meeting.

The commission on April 14 considered objective design standards describing general architectural requirements for future residential developments. They would fulfill a requirement for the housing element of the city’s general plan and give city staff a source to point to when telling prospective developers how to design for Galt.

The standard presented is “comprehensive but flexible and allows us to work with the developer, but it starts to give them a direction to head in,” Hoffman said.

With sections targeted at new construction, infill projects and multifamily developments, the standard gives requirements and recommendations for multiple aspects of construction.

For example, it calls for developers to take measures that reduce the prominence of garages, such as setbacks and architecture consistent with the main residence. It also specifies that infill housing should fit with current buildings by matching the area’s traditional architecture.

Hoffman said staff has requested that certain designs be dropped from several recent projects because the proposed styles didn’t harmonize with Galt’s existing houses. Currently, staff explains the city’s expectations to prospective homebuilders.

“We try to articulate it the best we can, but that’s all we can do because these standards don’t exist,” Hoffman said.

The commissioners asked to receive a presentation at next meeting on the details of the proposed standards, and they postponed a final vote on the plan until then.

During an update on the state of residential development in Galt, Hoffman expressed a goal to increase and stabilize housing construction.

In the past decade, the number of residential building permits approved in the city has fluctuated, with a low of zero approved in 2011 and a high of 134 in 2016. The city issued 119 permits in 2021.

“We need to get to a better, consistent graph here because this is not working,” Hoffman said, citing a chart of permits issued per year. “We want to see something that levels off, that you’re seeing consistent growth.”

Hoffman gave 120-150 permits per year as a “sweet spot” that helps with budgeting and staffing.

The city has issued 29 residential building permits so far in 2022, and Hoffman projected that that number would reach 140 by year’s end.

The director identified eight developments as the main focuses for 2022 and early 2023: Parlin Oaks, Veranda at River Oaks, Pieridae (aka Cardoso I), Cedar Creek (Cedar Flats Estates), Seasons at the Farm (Cardoso II), Dry Creek Oaks, Caterina Estates, and Greenwood Cottages.

Parlin Oaks, on the southwest corner of Carillion and Walnut, is planning to request a change to its architecture. Associate planner Kristyn Bitz said the current designs include some three-story houses, but the builder has said rising materials costs make three-story dwellings unfeasible. The builder is working to switch them to two stories while preserving living space. When completed, the development will have 144 single-family dwellings and 80 multifamily units.

Veranda has received all its building permits for the 60 single-family houses it is building on the northeast corner of Carillion Boulevard and Walnut Avenue. Hoffman anticipated it finishing in three to four months.

Pieridae received the last of its permits the week before, Hoffman said. It will comprise 69 single-family dwellings north of Kost Road.

Phase 2 is beginning in the construction of 112 planned single-family units at Cedar Creek, located on Amador Avenue.

Two model homes have been built at Seasons at the Farm, on the south side of Kost Road, and the Dry Creek Oaks development for seniors is building its model homes on Boessow Road.

Hoffman expected Caterina Estates, on H Street and Joy Drive, to put houses on the market starting this fall. Greenwood Cottages, on Carillion Boulevard, “has been a little bit slower than what we would have liked,” but city documents project home sales by this summer.