San Lorenzo Express News

Architects Present Plan for Village Square

FEBRUARY 19, 2002

Developers for the Bohannon Organization have drawn up a plan to completely redevelop the Bohannon properties along Hesperian. The properties include the site of the original "Village Square," which was developed immediately after World War II as a commercial center for residents of the newly built San Lorenzo Village. This commercial heart of the Village quickly died out after the Mervyn's Department Store closed in 1995.

New library and community hall.
The plan also includes other property on the west side of Hesperian as well as the commercial parcels on the east side. The plan envisions keeping the existing Lorenzo Theater.

The Bohannon Organization is a family-owned business that succeeded the founder of San Lorenzo Village, David D. Bohannon. It recently brought in Civic Partners, a Newport Beach developer, to draw up a master plan for development of the commercial properties on Hesperian.

Civic Partners' architects presented a conceptual master plan to local residents at the January 17 meeting of the San Lorenzo Village Homes Association.

The plan is subject to a number of public processes before anything is built. First, the county board of supervisors must adopt a "specific plan" for San Lorenzo, which will become an amendment to the county's "general plan." This document would decide types of uses permitted for individual parcels and establish design guidelines for new construction. In addition, the county planning commission will need to approve particular proposals for buildings.

The Civic Partners' plan relocates the San Lorenzo Library in a "town square" on the west side of Hesperian, the county library administration must agree to a new location for the library. Finally, the county's fire department must approve removal of the existing fire station. On its own, the fire department has been considering relocation of the firehouse in order to provide optimal response time to a larger number of residences.

The master plan from Civic Partners generally adheres to community goals defined over the past few years in a series of meetings, beginning in June 1998 with efforts by the Homes Association's Business Development Committee to set standards for new businesses and pressure the Bohannon Organization into investing in the abandoned Village Square. Later a panel of local residents was established to meet with county planners to develop a "specific plan" for the Village Square.

The central concept that emerged from all these meetings was that San Lorenzo Villagers want a place that once again serves as the focal point for the community, that serves primarily the needs of local residents, but is also unique so that it attracts people from outside San Lorenzo.

These meetings also reflected growing acceptance of the fact that the Village Square cannot return to the 1950s, but must look to the future. The Civic Partners plan includes multi-story buildings with a mixture of retail, offices, housing, cafes, and public buildings.

See details and architect's renderings