The developer hoping to build five-story dormitories at Stockdale Highway and Coffee Road said he will ask to postpone an upcoming hearing on the proposal after he was unable Monday to make a presentation about the project to nearby residents.
Developer David Moon had planned to present a slideshow about the project Monday evening at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 601 Deseret Way. But the church canceled the meeting at the 11th hour, disappointing more than 100 people who had showed up to learn about the project and possibly voice their opinions about it.
Moon, owner of Monterey-based real estate and investments company Coleraine Capital Group, said he would try to reschedule the community presentation as soon as possible. In the meantime, he said, he will ask city officials to delay a hearing of Bakersfield's Board of Zoning Adjustment, currently set for March 12.
"We're going to ask for a delay so we can have the community meeting first," he said.
Coleraine's plans call for two dorm buildings on 6.45 acres of vacant land at the northeast corner of Coffee and Stockdale, across from the Town & Country Village shopping center, where Trader Joe's is located.
Together, the buildings would contain 180 residential units comprising 660 beds. A computer lab, covered parking for bicycles and group study and gathering rooms are also proposed at the site, which would serve students at Cal State Bakersfield.
Earlier plans for the site envisioned three two- or three-story office buildings. Immediately north of the site are restaurants, a gas station and a convenience store. Next to those, work continues on a two-story office building and a hotel.
Coleraine has developed student housing projects serving California State University campuses in Monterey, Sacramento, San Jose and Stanislaus.
The property is zoned for commercial and office uses. City officials have proposed the dorms be considered for a conditional-use permit.
Some residents have expressed opposition to the project based on concerns ranging from traffic impacts on surrounding neighborhoods to parking availability and pedestrian safety.
Stockdale Estates resident Kenneth F. Hersh wrote a letter to the city Friday noting commuters often drive through residential streets to avoid congestion at Coffee and Stockdale, and that the proposed dorms "would only compound this existing daily traffic congestion problem."
Hersh, a former member of Bakersfield's Planning Commission, suggested in the letter that the city consider adding substantial pedestrian overpasses over Coffee and Stockdale, which he said "would help discourage dangerous and illegal jay-walking across Stockdale Highway."
On Monday, Stockdale Estates resident Colleen Falke asserted the proposal offers too few parking spaces and that students may end up dumping their papers and other possessions from atop the dorms at the end of every school year, thereby spreading rubbish. She also criticized what she saw as the developer's limited advance notice of the meeting that had been scheduled for Monday.
Moon said he was aware of community opposition but that he had also heard from students supportive of the project.
CSUB has said it has no involvement with the project, and university President Lynnette Zelezny has stated she encourages students to live on campus, adding it may help them perform better.