There has been a lot of community discussion about the kind of development happening throughout the county. How can residents get involved in shaping upcoming land use decisions in the county?
The last comprehensive county planning process for the unincorporated Live Oak, Soquel, Santa Cruz Gardens and Aptos communities was completed in 1994 as part of the General Plan update. In the nearly 20 years since that plan was adopted, many aspects of our community, from transportation to development, have changed. During this time of limited public resources, a comprehensive General Plan update is not anticipated in the foreseeable future. However, we do have a unique opportunity to envision our community's sustainable future.
The County of Santa Cruz has received grant funding to support a new planning process to envision future development in our community along one of the longest transportation corridors in the county—Soquel Drive—from the Santa Cruz City limits to Aptos Village. Sustainable development along 7th Avenue, 17th Avenue, 41st Avenue, Portola Drive, Brommer Street, and Capitola Road in the First District and State Park Drive in the Second District will also be discussed.
This process provides all of us the opportunity to participate in shaping our community. We will plan for the next generation of sustainable housing, economic development and necessary transportation improvements. The results of this community-driven process will serve us well into the future.
By ensuring that housing is located near job centers and that everyone has access to affordable, accessible transportation, we can nurture a healthier, and more sustainable community. As we enter a period of uncertainty due to climate change, we need to identify strategies to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Thinking about development and transportation in a way that will enhance our environment is a great first step.
It is critical for community members to be involved when we talk about making changes to zoning or development at specific sites in Live Oak, Soquel and Aptos. We want to hear their perspectives on how local land use decisions can reduce transportation costs for families, improve housing affordability, save energy, and increase access to local employment opportunities.
The Planning Department is hosting public meetings to solicit community input about this Transportation Corridors planning process and to help set the vision for a sustainable Santa Cruz County. The next meeting on Oct.18 will be the second in a series over the next two years to engage the community in this important discussion. There is also a website for people to find out about the plan and offer comments to the Planning Department through an interactive Town Hall forum (transitcorridorsplan.org/open-town-hall/).
In the development of the Five-Year Redevelopment Plan for Live Oak and Soquel, hundreds of community members participated and clearly articulated their priorities including long-term economic vitality, affordable housing and safe routes for walking and biking. Participation in this upcoming planning process will ensure that your ideas are considered in the plan that will shape our community for years to come. I encourage everyone to take a few hours and help lead our community in envisioning a sustainable future.
The Transit Corridors Plan Workshop will be held at New Brighton Middle School, 250 Washburn Ave. in Capitola from 6:30 - 9 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 18. Learn more about the planning process at http://transitcorridorsplan.org.
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