Santa Cruz Good Times

Monday
Aug 03rd
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Supervisor Mark Stone

Mark_StoneSome of your constituents are currently fighting a proposal before the City of Santa Cruz to build a 40-unit development just across the county line from their homes on Ocean Street Extension. Among their concerns are traffic and density impacts. How have county/city relations and disconnects played into this situation?

Land use decisions are the heart of any local jurisdiction’s authority and responsibility. Retaining local control over those decisions in an environment of increasing state regulation is key to any locally elected official. Whenever a jurisdiction, using its land use authority, considers a new project, it has the responsibility to consider the location and other details of its setting. But what happens when that project is located adjacent to constituents in a neighboring jurisdiction? In this case, the project is proposed within the city limits, but clearly affects residents county living in the neighborhood.

Let’s first consider the existing county neighborhood. The Ocean Street Extension neighborhood is very rural even though it is a short drive to downtown. There are large lots and it has a very open, quiet and natural feel to it. There are horses and row crops in the neighborhood. There is only one way in and one way out for folks living along the Ocean Street Extension and because of the weight limitations on the covered bridge across the San Lorenzo River, Ocean Street Extension is the only emergency access to a large number of homes in [the gated] Paradise Park [community]. There also is a very large cemetery across from the proposed development and a crematorium on an adjacent parcel.

The San Lorenzo River borders the neighborhood to the west and Graham Hill Road climbs above it to the east. The obvious concerns by the neighbors are traffic, drainage, emergency access and the density of the project. The traffic issues are obvious to anyone familiar with the area. There is only one way in or out and that way is on a narrow road and through an awkward intersection at Graham Hill Road. Drainage is a familiar issue to folks in the Fifth District. The slopes of the San Lorenzo Valley are notoriously unstable and the area between Graham Hill Road and Ocean Street Extension has seen its share of landslides. Emergency Access, as well, is an issue that is not normally seen the same way in the city. In rural areas, people know the limitations of emergency access and loathe seeing any development that worsens an already difficult situation. Finally, there is the issue of density. Neighbors are asking that the city carefully consider the effect of placing a large project in this particular location.

Modern land use planning doctrine is taking a closer look at the issue of density. When we make land use decisions alongside transportation decisions, for example, we are naturally led to desiring density along major transportation corridors and clustering areas of density to lessen their impact on surrounding, established neighborhoods. This also keeps development away from sensitive habitats, groundwater recharge areas and open space. The proposed project is in an area identified as coastal prairie, and would be an island of density surrounded by the cemetery, the crematorium, and steep slopes in a rural, quiet area of the county.

There also is the issue of air quality.  In its normal operations, a crematorium can emit a number of potentially hazardous compounds into the air. Perhaps this is why the cemetery and crematorium were sited where they are when the city approved them a long time ago.  They are both away from centers of the city. The city is currently looking into the air quality implication of placing this project so close to an operating crematorium.

Because the proposed project is within the city limits, the county does not have any direct way to weigh in on the city council’s decision. The county can, as a neighboring jurisdiction, comment on the city’s environmental review. I trust that the city’s staff and decision makers will consider the comments from county staff as well as those of the county residents who will be most directly affected by this proposed project.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Health Screening

Santa Cruz wellness expert releases app to improve workplace well-being

 

Leo Sun; Full Moon, Venus Retro in Leo; Saturn Direct

It’s a complex week of planetary movements, challenges, demands and callings. We’re in the time of the Leo Sun. Leo—fixed fire, gold, the heart, generous, strong, noble, the king/queen—needs appreciation and praise from everyone in order to move forward. During Leo we gain a greater sense of self-identification by recognizing our creativity. It’s therefore a perfect time for Venus retrograding in Leo. In Venus retrograde we review and re-assess values. Venus retro in Leo concerns our self as valuable, acknowledging talents, gifts, abilities and offerings. Friday, Venus re-enters Leo (29 degrees, a critical degree) continuing the retrograde to 14 degrees Leo on Sept. 6. Friday (Full Moon) is also the (8 degrees) Leo solar festival, Festival of the Future. Leo is the heart of the sun, the heart of all that matters. When attuned to this heart, we have understanding and inclusivity. The heart of the Lion is Mitra (think “Maitreya,” the coming World Teacher). Leo prepares humanity to receive divine love from subtle sources and later to radiate that love to the kingdoms. Sirius, Ray 2, where love originates, streams through Regulus (heart of Leo), into the heart of the sun (Ray 2) and into all hearts. The heart of Leo is Regulus. Joining Venus, the love underlying all of creation appears. Saturday is Sun/Neptune (confusion or devotion) with late night Saturn turning stationary direct. Ideas, plans and structures held long in abeyance (since March 14) slowly move forward. (Read more on Leo and the week at nightlightnews.org and Risa D’Angeles’ Facebook page, accessed through my website.)

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 31

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Holy Cannoli

New bakery opens in Ben Lomond, plus Randall Grahm’s quest to grow 10,000 new grape varieties, and Mexican cooking classes

 

Is Santa Cruz turning into Malibu North?

It's got a ways to go before it gets wrecked like Malibu, but I think we need to be very careful about growth. Maria Mattioli, Santa Cruz, Psychotherapist

 

Bargetto Winery

A much-anticipated annual event at Bargetto Winery is the release of their very special La Vita red wine. June 7 was the day to be heralded this year, and I happily squeezed my car into their overloaded car park in eager anticipation of tasting the new La Vita nectar.

 

Margaritaville

Popular Capitola spot gets new owner and complete makeover