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Windsor council fast-tracks apartment building but suggests changes

  • An architect's sketch of the mixed-use project planned for Richardson Street in Windsor. (Pegasus Group)

A weed-strewn lot near the Windsor Town Green, one of the last of two undeveloped downtown parcels, could soon be home to a four-story apartment building with retail space on the ground floor.

The Town Council on a 4-1 vote Wednesday designated the Richardson Street mixed-use project a priority development that puts it on a fast track for approval, but not before incorporating a number of suggestions to spruce up the architecture and design.

“I wouldn't want to live there,” said Councilman Sam Salmon, who cast the dissenting vote, and said the proposed 37-unit rental apartment building looked too much like a “motel.”

“It reminds me of the low-income housing over by the bowling alley on Johnson Street, which is 35 to 40 years old. You have a long ways to go in terms of the design,” he said

Other council members also had qualms about the project but were more charitable in their comments.

“You guys have come a long way,” Councilwoman Debora Fudge told developers Phil Richardson and Bob Dailey. “Millions of miles away from Alzheimer's.”

A previous proposal on the site that included a 20-unit Alzheimer's care facility along with some residential units failed to get support from the planning commission last year. Concerns were raised about the possibility of patients wandering from the facility and into nearby traffic.

The one-acre Richardson Street site is immediately north of McDonald's and borders Old Redwood Highway. It represents some of the last of 16 acres originally owned by Richardson, most of which ended up as part of Town Green Village built by developer Orrin Thiessen.

Dailey, a senior partner in Pegasus Group, a Walnut Creek-based real estate investment and management firm, said he hopes to start construction this year.

Council members noted that the site is part of the gateway to downtown and should make a positive impact.

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