It has been a while since I have been in the public spotlight, but it seems that there is still a need, and I have even more reasons to want to improve my city. When the job is not getting done, and when hope for solutions dims with every city council meeting, someone has to step up.
One of the biggest complaints about the city is development. Whether you think the projects are too big, too small, focused too little on retail and commercial, focused too little on housing, or located poorly, one thing is clear: development is being done with a lack of vision, and against our plan.
This is the General Plan Phase II diagram.
This is the Approved and Pending projects list from Appendix J of the Santa Clara Gateway Village project.
This is list of Residential and Residential Mixed-Use Developments from July 2016.
This is the list of Residential and Residential Mixed-Use Projects for the last four years.
Note how many of the projects changed their zoning to PD (Planned Development) or High-Density Residential development, and how many mixed-use projects went to 100% housing.
Note the numbers of housing units.
Then look at where the projects are going. How many of them are on El Camino Real, or smaller streets? This happened in the last four years. The situation has actually gotten WORSE.
I am not against more housing. I am not against higher-density housing. I am against bad planning, or the lack of planning altogether.
Look at the General Plan map; it represents the plan for our city for the next 10 years. But by focusing on only housing in areas designated for mixed-use, we’ve pushed out the markets, restaurants, and stores that bring balance to our city by providing resources for the people who live here. These are the same markets, restaurants, and commercial areas that the council used to justify the high-density housing in the first place.
People on council say they want people to walk and use bicycles more, while we remove needed shops and make people travel farther. We say that “The Mission City” represents a lifestyle and a community, as we break down the neighborhoods by putting high-density housing, and just housing, in the middle of single-family communities.
I will repeat: Let us restore vision, emphasizing planning over mere development, to create new communities with homes and families while preserving the nature of existing neighborhoods. Let us return focus on infrastructure, including streets, sewers, and open space, so that future generations of Santa Clarans will have room to grow and reasons to stay.