A partial rendering of the 240-unit Maple & Main
housing development approved by the Hayward
City Council Tuesday night.

Maple & Main, a 240-unit housing development in North Hayward, which city leaders hope will help kickstart improvement in the downtown and provide much-needed foot traffic, was approved late Tuesday night by the Hayward City Council.

The development also includes 48 units dedicated for affordable housing and 5,500-square feet of retail. A remodeling of the existing medical offices on the same site is also part of the project.

Hayward, like nearly everywhere in the Bay Area is facing a shortage of all types of housing. “We’re doing what regional planners say we should do and build urban density close to city centers,” said Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday. Hayward Councilmember Mark Salinas called the project a “game changer for our downtown.”

The large number of affordable housing units slated for the project was lauded, in particular, by Hayward Councilmember Marvin Peixoto. Housing developers often choose to pay in-lieu fees to offset the lack of affordable housing in their projects. In the this case, the developer, Bay Area Property Developers, incorporated the 48 units, set aside for very low income residents, within the plan. “It kind of segregates the affordable housing from the mainstream and there’s significant psychological impact,” Peixoto said  of past practices. “I think it will make the residents feel good.”

Rents for a three-bedroom affordable apartments will be $1,267; $1,097 for two bedrooms; and $914 for a one bedroom, according to Blake Peters, vice president of Bay Area Property Developers. Market-rate rents will be considerably higher with up to $3,450 for a three-bedroom apartment; $3,350 for two bedrooms; $2,450 for one bedroom; and $2,205 for a studio. Peters says the market-rate studio and one-bedroom units will be tailored for high-tech workers and young commuters. The Hayward BART station is roughly a half-mile away.

The Maple & Main development was approved by the planning commission in December, but some tweaks were needed before Tuesday’s final approval. One, being, the possible removal of a 70-foot memorial tree. The developer said the cost would by $75,000, but transplanting it to another location would be physically unfeasible and require removing power lines all along the way. Councilmember Francisco Zermeno, describing himself as a “tree hugger,” and other councilmembers urged to keep the large tree.

A deal was then tentatively made during the council meeting that requires the developer to make an attempt at moving the tree, which experts believe is of moderate health, but if it cannot, the $75,000 costs will transfer to street reconstruction on A and Main Streets. A city staff report says the cost of that construction is about $150,000. In addition, pending a successful transplant of the tree, the developer, instead, will pitch in $10,000 toward the street work.

The project is located near the beginning of the notorious Hayward Loop, which a few councilmembers offered concerns over its reputation for high speeds. Traffic bulbs are part of the traffic mediation plan for the area, said city staff. Typically, the alterations are advantageous for pedestrians since they decrease the distance traveled from one side of the street to other. But Salinas worried about the nexus of speeding cars and more families crossing the street. “The Loop traffic is fast and we got to do something,” he said.

A desire to move a majority of the project’s ground floor retail component from Main Street to Maple Court was also agreed Tuesday night. The council believes the foot traffic will be eventually heavier on Maple Court, thereby bringing more customers to the yet-unknown retailers.

Meanwhile, some Hayward residents continued a push for an Environmental Impact Report for the project. Residents from the nearby Prospect Hill neighborhood worried about impacts from increased traffic and loss of scenic views due to the development. But others, worried whether the Maple & Main site may eventually uncover Native American remains and artifacts. Hayward resident Frank Goulart displayed a newspaper clipping from 1959 that showed remains were found near the site. Native American remains, likely Ohlone, have been found previously following excavation in the downtown area. “Would you build over a Catholic cemetery?” Goulart told the council.

Councilmember Sara Lamnin did not discount the possibility that remains could be found later, but she believes protocols exist for its likelihood, including halting construction and alerting tribal leaders of the possible find. But she added, the site was paved over in 1960s without incident.”If it was never disturbed, the approach would be different,” said Lamnin, but she added. “The only way to know is to uncover it.”