Guest Opinion – “Santa Clara’s Hall of Shame”

Guest Opinion – “Santa Clara’s Hall of Shame”

By Howard Myers

What in the world is the Santa Clara Hall of Shame?

It relates to what many consider the overbuilding of apartments in Santa Clara. It’s the opposite of smart growth.

We are a small group called ‘Santa Clara For Smart Growth’ (SC4SG). Our objective is to prevent the high density infill projects that do so much damage when planted in the midst of mature single family neighborhoods.

Santa Clara For Smart Growth started with a group of neighbors fighting a high density infill project planned for their quiet, residential neighborhood. This project would create significant traffic and parking problems with the overbearing presence of large buildings right next to single family homes. That and all the extra people dumped into the once sleepy neighborhood would have a very real, negative effect on our quality of life.

When we investigated the planned projects in Santa Clara it got worse. We found most of the new and proposed projects (75 percent) were the relatively smaller infill projects that do so much damage. The larger, centralized developments that don’t harm the older neighborhoods the same way, provide 83 percent of total planned units. The high density infill projects do the most damage for the least benefit. This information was presented to the council on April 18, 2017.

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Just one example from the “Santa Clara Hall of Shame” courtesy of Santa Clara For Smart Growth.

The Mayor/Council do seem to be listening and responding to the residents’ concerns about what many see as out of control growth in Santa Clara. But as they develop area-specific plans, we need to keep reminding them what does not work.

We have shown a few examples of infill projects that damage neighborhoods and should not have been allowed. I am sure there other projects in Santa Clara that fit this description and we are counting on you to submit them to the “Santa Clara Hall of Shame”.

​Candidates for the Hall of Shame are developments in Santa Clara that don’t belong where they are and do damage to adjacent low density neighborhoods.

See https://www.santaclara4smartgrowth.com/sc-hall-of-shame for more details.

If you know of a development that qualifies please submit some pictures, description and comments. You will receive as much or as little public recognition as you want. Send to sc4sg@yahoo.com if you have questions.

10 comments

  1. This is classic NIMBY rational – “I’m ok with some projects, like the larger residential developments in other parts of the city, but I don’t like the small ones near my house!”

    And I also love the rational – smaller projects have more impact, larger projects have less impact. News flash – the Mariani site is one of the largest in-fill project in SC, so it should have little impact on your neighborhood.

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  2. Howard,

    Your comments assume there are 150 acre parcels like what Rivermark was built on…or like City Place. Even Tasman East is not undeveloped, just underdeveloped.

    The reality is large single owner properties or properties that can be aggregated (like Lawrence Station) are where we need to look at developments. And Moonlite and Mariani are examples of large sites that should be highly developed. They can’t match existing residential neighborhoods because that is not the kind of development our area needs. We have enough single family homes in Santa Clara County that will last us forever.

    That being said, these larger developments should provide destinations thst we all want to be a part of. There should be incredible value at the ground level, for local residents, new residents, and the public. Placemaking is about creating great places.

    So, for the acceptance of the larger buildings (and they will be significantly larger), the ground floor experience needs to be “the anchor tennant” thst people want to experience. It should be a human-scale experience.

    But because everyone resistant to this kind of design wants more parking and more car capacity, the ability to provide an activated ground floor diminishes. Remember, every parking space costs $50,000 and means we are accommodating a car.

    As Fred Kent has stated: if you build to accommodate cars and traffic, you get cars and traffic. If you build and design for people, you get lots of people. We need to accept that there are different ways to design our future cities….and we are not talking about them. Our current approach to development is to build for the past, but what we need to be doing is building for the needs of the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I meant for future development. Are you suggesting that all existing proposals or ongoing developments are in poor locations? Where do you propose the next “smart growth” happens?

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  4. It sounds like NIMBY-ism under the guise of many and layered excuses. Your neighborhoods are changing. Apartments are great in sleepy neighborhoods, and especially those in Santa Clara (most!) that allow easy access to public transit. Do attempt to get over yourself: your property values aren’t falling, and you’re going to have to let go of the past. If you don’t like it, you can flee to the Midwest for sleepy towns that are in no danger of (gasp!) “influx.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Robert,

    Question, how do you see this as helpful? I’d like to better understand your motives for publishing the pieces you do, but I really can’t get a sense of what your intent here is.

    Do you want Santa Clara to remain the same as it was in 1974? Do you want to see cities around us grow and thrive and Santa Clara remain stagnant? Do you not see this as NIMBYism?

    Can anyone write a push piece like this for you? Or do they have to follow your narratives?

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    • I don’t give direction to guest columnists/writers, nor do I control the content they submit. People often share their opinion. It’s a resource to the community to provide different opinions/voices of people in the community. I’ve often provided multiple points of view on local issues if you look back.

      If you’ve followed along here, you’d know I’ve published much about Placemaking and smart growth … Smart growth has many opinions/views. Some think it’s build, build and build anywhere. Some think smart growth is about more, but smaller units. Some think of it as building in proper locations, such as the Rivermark and soon City Place developments, where housing was built along with retail and other amenities to support the housing in those areas. Everyone has an opinion.

      Every newspaper and news outlet publishes opinion pieces. You have your opinions on what is published here, as do others.

      We don’t expect you to agree with everything published here. Just like many don’t agree with every opinion punished in the Mercury News or SF Chronicle.

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    • Diane,

      You must have missed this in the 4th paragraph: ” The larger, centralized developments that don’t harm the older neighborhoods the same way, provide 83 percent of total planned units”

      So you are saying since I object to the most damaging 17% of the units I want to stay in 1974? Do you suggest I ignore the damaging projects so you won’t all me names? Really?

      And if you have any interest in facts you can find more at http://www.sc4sg.com.

      I suggest you read articles more closely before making these types of disparaging comments. If the article backed up your offensive claims you would just seem rude. But now….

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      • Your life must be pretty easy if all you care about is views and increased waits in traffic. What about families and young people who have no where to live? Clearly you are retired, own a home, and have no greater purpose in life than to guard against change.

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