El Camino Real Specific Plan Takes Shape

By Robert Haugh

On Tuesday, the City Council had a study session on the El Camino Real Specific Plan. 

There were a lot of concerns about how major development on El Camino Real will change Santa Clara.  The plan allows for six-story structures.

We heard a lot of comments from Council members and the public about how high-rise developments will cause a “canyon effect” and impact existing neighborhoods. 

We also heard concerns about how new developments need to have enough parking to keep cars from spilling into local neighborhoods.

The plan projects as many as 1,200 affordable housing units in the El Camino Real Focus Area over the next 20 years. That means as many as 8,000 total housing units could be built. That’s almost four times the amount in the current general plan for the Focus Area.

The plan will come back in June for City Council consideration.

Community Development Director Andrew Crabtree revealed an interesting thing. He said that the massive Mariani development on the El Camino looks like it’s been shelved. Crabtree said the applicant has not submitted any information in the last two years.

We’ve written a lot about the massive Mariani development. They’ve had a lot of consultants over the last few years, like Harbir Bhatia, Kevin Moore and lobbyist/publisher Miles Barber.

We’ll be watching to see if they come back to life with the new City Council. They didn’t have the votes with the former City Council majority who thought the project was too dense and the lobbyists were asking the City to waive lots of fees and obligations.

For more information about the El Camino Real Specific Plan, you can go to this website.


  1. Yes, ‘Pompous Suds’ let’s hear about how ‘holier than thou suds’ justifies putting the lowly peons in a locker while he and his wife live in a 3,000+ sf single family home. Talk about a ‘I got mine, screw you’ attitude.
    So glad I didn’t support him or vote for him.

  2. Can you believe last night Suds Jain said he wants 7,000 micro units on El Camino? How awful would that be? Psychologically micro units have to be depressing, I’m sure there are many studies on this.

    We all know this type of living in close proximity is very dangerous, in a pandemic a virus can spread through a micro unit development like wildfire. How would they social distance and where would they get some fresh air in one of these developments during a pandemic?
    Suds Jain does not care, he bows to Al Gore.

    Suds, practice what you preach and stop being a pompous hypocrite. You should promise to sell your 3,000 plus square foot home and be one of the first to move into a micro unit in Santa Clara.

  3. As an El Camino specific plan committee member, the moonlight center was always supposed to be an activity center anchored by a grocery with housing. Plans currently show it as an activity center as we talked about this was a place for people to go and socialize.

    My hopes are for the majority of this property will go to retail with a grocery and a fair amount of housing. I find it ridiculous to keep adding units and taking away resources and social gathering places.

    We all need to remember we’re housing humans here. Micro units, no activities, and no resources seem inhumane, although this is what Suds Jain seems to like.

  4. After a few years of attending multiple “listening” sessions it’s clear to me that the most often deployed City process is: DAG (rather than DAD – decide, announce, defend) : Decide, Announce, Gaslight (as in “we are having many community listening sessions so we know how to dance around inconvenient comments and concerns”).

  5. While serving on the El Camino Real Specific Plan Committee some of us expressed concern about the over representation of organization that were pushing for high density. The stated objective was to come up with a plan that suited the city and its residents. It seemed obvious that the purpose was to authorize higher density but people like Andrew Crabtree would not admit it. During one of the meetings I asked the facilitator, Lesley Xavier I’m pretty sure it was, what would happen if the people on the committee decided they wanted less density on ECR. Her response was, ‘That would defeat the purpose’. When I pushed she immediately back peddled and sidestepped. It was obvious to everyone, regardless of what side you were on, that the intent was to mass-approve high density.

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