The University of California’s plan to bring a retail and housing development to a plot of land in Albany cleared another major hurdle Wednesday night.
The Albany Planning Commission has approved the development project on the Gill Tract.
UC owns the lot and wants to build a Sprout’s Farmers Market, a 175 unit senior housing complex and other retail.
The site has been the scene of several protests over the years by Occupy the Farm activists who want the land to become an urban farm.
“It’s a shame. It’s a shame and it’s a mistake,” said one of the activists at the meeting.
Albany resident Ellen Davis-Zapata said she understands the group’s fight for farming but said the area desperately needs the senior housing.
“I think it’s better that we have something provided for the seniors and for people who actually live in Albany and want to stay here forever,” Davis-Zapata said.
Public Interest Law Project attorney, Deborah Collins, who is suing Albany over its lack of affordable housing, argued the units will be out of reach for many.
“This is a development that is exclusively for above moderate income senior households,” Collins said. “It’s not going to be affordable to the many, many people who need housing.”
Opponents of the project have 14 days to appeal the Planning Commission’s decision.