By Robert Haugh
Twelve years ago, creating and naming a Korea Town in Santa Clara was a big controversy.
Patty Mahan was mayor back then. And she opposed doing it.
Mahan is Vice Mayor now. She’s flip-flopped and now supports a Korea Town on the El Camino.
Ken Kim of the Korean Chamber of Commerce brought the idea to the Council in March. He came back last night with a petition supporting the idea.
Except for Mahan, the Council did not support Kim. Mahan could not get a second on her motion to even study the issue. The other councilmembers said that Santa Clara is a diverse place, so it would be better to create something that’s diverse and inclusive. They said some interesting and positive things about our community. We’ll put some of the better quotes into a story later this week.
Kim was complemented by the Council for all the work he’s done to promote his idea. We compliment him, too. And it’s not just because he mentioned us in his comments. But that was nice.
The Council directed City staff to evaluate the Freedom Circle area as a Phase III Future Focus Area in the General Plan. It’s the area north of 101, south of Great America, east of Great America Parkway and west of San Tomas Aquino Creek.
The original plan was to create a Specific Plan. That would allow the coordination of all the major developments in the area. But there was a big problem. Two major developers (The Irvine Company and The Sobrato Organization) with land and buildings in the area dropped out. We’ve been hearing for some time that they were not happy with City staff pushing for taller building heights. They didn’t want to take the risk of overbuilding. This is a big loss for the area.
City North Vision Plan
Director of Community Development Andrew Crabtree also pushed for a City North Vision Plan. It would coordinate all the specific plans north of 101.
But most of the Council doubted the value of the plan. They said major developments have already been approved and specific plans have already started.
Crabtree didn’t look prepared for their questions and wasn’t convincing. So they sent the Plan back to the drawing board. The Council wants Crabtree to include specifics, targets for housing, information on traffic and gridlock. And they want him to include height limits, too.
Sellers Steps Down
Police Chief Mike Sellers got a resolution from the Council for his years of service. He read a prepared speech. Sellers thanked every department and elected officials. Interestingly, he didn’t mention anyone by name.
Sellers looked a little uncomfortable. We’re not sure why. But there could have been 500,000 reasons why.
Note: All Councilmembers attended last night’s council meeting. And, except for Patty Mahan, all attended Monday’s special meeting. That’s when the Council interviewed candidates and made appointments to five different commissions.