Santa Clara’s General Plan Discussion and El Camino High Rises
By Robert Haugh
On Tuesday, the Santa Clara City Council held a workshop to discuss the general plan and the City’s growth.
There were a lot of residents who showed up to express ideas and concerns, especially about high rise development in neighborhoods along the El Camino. We won’t summarize their concerns here since they’ve been expressed in previous guest columns and maybe future ones.
We’ll focus on the council’s comments. The council seemed pretty clear about the direction they want to go moving forward (Vice Mayor Dominic Caserta and Councilwoman Patty Mahan were absent).
- In response to lots of neighborhood concerns about residential development on the El Camino, the council expressed an interest in delaying any major projects until a “specific plan” can be put in place. Both Councilwoman Teresa O’Neill and Councilman Pat Kolstad supported this idea. This confirms what we’ve been hearing for months about the massive Mariani development project. It’s D.O.A.
- The council did suggest that to build more housing in our city for workers, they would convert some industrial land around Great America to residential or mixed use. So look for a Great America “specific plan.” Councilwoman Kathy Watanabe said this could be good for the city in the way that Rivermark has been.
- The council is interested in more aggressive “transportation demand management” plans that would reduce vehicle trips to a development or area.
- Staff suggested that the council set up a “gatekeeper” process so that developers could get an early read on what the community and council would accept before they spend a lot of money. The council, especially Council member Debi Davis, seem to really like this idea.
- There were a few references to the Project for Public Spaces effort which started just last week. They’ve made a nice impression on the council and staff.
- There’s a interest in a commercial retention effort so that neighborhoods don’t lose grocery stores or other mom-and-pop stores that Santa Clarans need.
- Civic needs is something that needs to be looked at because the city may need locations for buildings like fire stations or city activities. Mayor Lisa Gillmor really emphasized this.
- Parks were mentioned a few times, too, as a desperate need in the city that needs to be accommodated.
General Plan meeting images courtesy of Hosam Haggag’s meeting screenshots.