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Neighbors are critical of a plan to build 10 apartments on this McCorkle Avenue lot.

ST. HELENA — A developer’s plan to build 10 apartment units on McCorkle Avenue is drawing concerns from neighbors about parking, traffic and density.

Joe McGrath, a St. Helena native who now lives in Orinda, described his plan for 632 McCorkle Ave. last week during an informal neighborhood meeting designed to collect feedback before McGrath files a full application with the city.

McGrath stressed that 10 units is near the low end of the 8 to 14 units required by the half-acre lot’s zoning of High-Density Residential. Neighbors said 10 is still too many, given the shortage of on-street parking, the tendency of neighborhood kids to play in the street, and the fact that McCorkle is a dead-end street.

McGrath said he’d consider proposing fewer than 10 units while including the same total number of bedrooms. However, he warned that the project needs at least eight units to be financially viable. He added that he paid $907,000 for the lot.

In response to concerns about parking, McGrath showed plans that include 19 on-site parking spaces. He also tried to allay fears that the units would become overcrowded, saying the property manager would monitor the property to ensure that multiple families aren’t living in the same apartment.

Neighbors also expressed worries about drainage, since the street lacks storm drains, and about the risk of toxic substances like motor oil contaminating the groundwater.

McGrath’s application with the city isn’t complete, so no public hearings have been set.

The site is three doors east of 684 McCorkle Ave., where Our Town St. Helena plans to break ground this year on an eight-unit sweat equity affordable housing project.

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St. Helena Reporter

Jesse has been a reporter for the St. Helena Star since 2006.

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