By Howard Myers
At the October 24, 2017, city council meeting, the high-density SummerHill Senior Apartments were approved with little debate, primarily due to changes made by the developer.
At the meeting, we heard from some proponents of high density. They were mostly from out of town. The only thing they didn’t like about this high-density development was that there were not enough units. No matter what the question was, the answer was more density. If your only tool is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.
One of the out of towners was a representative from YIMBY, which is an acronym for “Yes, In My Backyard.”
Another brought some ideas back from Amsterdam and recommends we consider increasing the use of bikes, decreasing the use of cars and have more high density everywhere. For me, it would be more persuasive if he lived in Santa Clara, or at least in an apartment.
Even if we tried, we couldn’t make Santa Clara like San Francisco, New York or Amsterdam. And we shouldn’t try. But we can make changes to allow Santa Clara to grow in an organized, smart way, as suggested by Santa Clara 4 Smart Growth.
On the subject of smart growth, I am concerned about what is happening — or not happening — with the El Camino Real (ECR) Specific Plan and what community input is being used.
1. There was a walking tour of El Camino organized by an outside agency that promotes high density. Is there any input from this tour? Who sees it and how is it used?
2. Santa Clara had a booth at our well-attended Art & Wine festival asking everyone for input on what El Camino should look like. There was no way to control for residency, so the input is meaningless in regards to what residents would like.
Basically, I am not aware of any meaningful public input regarding the ECR Specific Plan.
If it is not moving forward, why not?
If it is moving forward, what input is being used?
And how can those of us that will be the most significantly affected by this plan, provide input?
If this plan is moving forward without valid community input, this would violate the promise of transparency.
Those of us supporting Santa Clara 4 Smart Growth are very interested in this.
Howard Myers, a longtime Santa Claran read a version of this statement during public presentations at Tuesday’s Council meeting. He prepared this condensed version for Santa Clara News Online.