By Robert Haugh
Santa Clara started studying the El Camino Real Specific Plan in 2017. That was five years ago. And we’re still not done. Even after three study sessions that happened earlier this year.
In fact, we won’t be done for three more years. Wow.
Last night, the City Council majority voted to study the plan some more. They asked City staff to study “Alternative 1” and include the original staff proposal that they unanimously rejected in June.
That’s right. They want to study the plan that just four months ago they said would be too dense. It would allow the development of tall buildings that would cast shadows on existing single-family homes near El Camino Real. Double wow.
This time, Councilmembers Anthony Becker, Suds Jain, Karen Hardy, and Kevin Park flip flopped. They voted in the majority, 4-3.
So now the City will spend three more years and $900,000 to revisit the El Camino Specific Plan with taller building heights. The goal is to increase housing with higher densities.
Park even said that around Santa Clara “we should be really looking at 10 stories or taller.”
Mayor Lisa Gillmor, Vice Mayor Raj Chahal, and Councilwoman Kathy Watanabe voted for “Alternative 2.”
That plan would have kept in place the City Council’s June decision for the El Camino Real: 4-story limit for all buildings, 2-story limit for residential, and 3-story limit for mixed-use.
“We need density in Santa Clara but not in every neighborhood,” said Gillmor.
Alternative 2 would have also taken about 9 months and cost $50,000.
Maybe when the plan comes back in three years, it’ll be delayed again. With this City Council majority, it’s possible.