The following is from the Greater East San Carlos Resident’s Group website, http://www.webjam.com/gesc/home . I am working on independent verification of the facts:
“ALERT: The City Council will soon make decisions that will determine the future of our neighborhood and your property.
At the October 6, 2008 Planning Commission meeting they considered long term General Plan land use changes (mostly East of El Camino Real). They unanimously voted on three items of concern to our community:
1) They voted in favor of the Holly Street “Gateway Project” to include not only the city widening Holly Street, but also acquiring the homes on the north side of Holly Street, and South side of Springfield to widen Holly and add 40-50 foot high multi-family housing. Houses South of Holly and North of Springfield would now be facing large structures, just as occurs in NESC north and East of our single-family residences. None of the affected residents have been spoken with regarding this proposal to date. This proposal goes way beyond widening Holly Street and threatens residents with huge losses in property values and no plan for compensation.
2) The GESC Board spoke in unanimous favor of a mixed use/residential development proposed from Holly Street to Branston which would buffer our southeast neighborhood by replacing existing industrial uses, and provide another opportunity for neighborhood serving businesses as well as residential development. The Planning Commission rejected this proposal and proposes a continuation of industrial uses, and a hotel at Holly and Industrial, which does not benefit our neighborhood. The developer will be appealing this decision to the City Council and needs our support.
3) The San Carlos Transit Village proposed by SamTrans and Legacy Developers on El Camino Real north and south of Holly is proposed to have the General Plan reflect High Density Residential, which is a significant change from its current commercial designation. At most we would like to see Medium Residential, or another lower density use, and no decision should be made until the City Council considers the development and the Environmental Impact Report on its merits.
This is what occurs when the City Council and Planning Commission does not include East San Carlos residents on its Board or Councils. Lee Thompson who lives in SESC recently retired from the Planning Commission and no GESC members were selected to serve even though Scot Marsters, our past neighborhood president of 6 years, applied twice for the Planning Commission and was rejected. The City Council and Planning Commission are not protecting Greater East San Carlos resident’s issues when these long-term land use changes are being considered. The City Council will have a final vote on these proposals at their October 27, 2008 meeting at 7:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at City Hall. It will be VERY important that residents attend to voice their opinions and/or send letters expressing themselves to the City Council ASAP as these long term decisions will adversely affect our neighborhood, quality of life, and home values. Please send letters expressing themselves to the City Council ASAP, as these long-term decisions will adversely affect our neighborhood, quality of life, and home values.”
I sympathize with the East Side neighbors. These plans will change the character of their neighborhood and I don’t know if it will be for better or worse. They obviously think it will make their neighborhood less appealing. I do think Holly needs to be widened, but I hate the thought of doing that at the expense of someone’s home.
I am concerned as to why SC feels the need to put up so much high density housing as is proposed for Holly St. I think there are certain numbers the city is required to meet mandated by the state or federal government, but I need to be persuaded that possibly exceeding this amount is a good idea. With high density housing comes the need for more public services and the city is already in a budget crisis.
High density housing can also change the appearance of the city. For example, I am not crazy about the height of the new mixed use condo development on El Camino. I think we need to be careful about the height of these building and how they change the character of our city. The 4 story building seems overly large and perhaps a 3 story would have been a better fit.
On the other hand, I watched the council meeting last night and saw the plans for the condo development on Cherry St. I think the developer in that case did a nice job of adding a smaller 4th story.
I am in favor of the proposed Transit Village as the concept makes a lot of sense. I am not against these high density developments, I’m just hoping the good outweighs the bad.