April 2012 home page

A FAR too Far?
Dave Druker | 10th Street

Draft Village Specific Plan,
March 19, 2012
  Land use Contraints and Key Elements in the Specific Plan
pdf document, 23 MB, 371 pages   pdf document 500 KB
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A draft of the Downtown Specific Plan was presented to the City Council on Monday, March 19. The elements include:

1) Raising the height of buildings on the west side of Camino del Mar to 26 ft.
2) Allowing for mixed residential and commercial uses in the downtown area (15th to 9th Streets, along Camino Del Mar.)
3) Narrowing Camino del Mar from four lanes to two lanes between 9th and 15th.
4) Replacing stop signs and stop lights with roundabouts.
5) Providing diagonal (town and country) parking along Camino del Mar.
6) Widening the sidewalks.
7) Increased FAR for buildings in the Specific Plan area.
8) A parking garage at the City Hall property on 11th St.
A draft EIR was also presented and the period for comment was opened as of Tuesday, March 20.
Some of the following questions need to be answered:
1) What will be the impact of narrowing Camino del Mar to traffic on Stratford Ct., Crest, Luneta and other residential streets?
2) What will be the impact to businesses if the flow of traffic from the fairgrounds is restricted?
3) What will be the impact to residents of increased FAR and height in terms of views and size versus the human scale of current development?
4) Will the modified FAR and height provide enough incentive for a property owner to redevelop their property?
5) Will the modified FAR and height create retail spaces that are too expensive to rent?
6) Will the modified FAR and height generate more income for the city?

A comment about the process and why people are less engaged. The council has had a series of “workshops” to determine the elements of the plan. These workshops were actually presentations by staff as to the staff’s best plan. Any negative feedback was ignored and the difference between the original presentations and the current draft are minimal.
The council ultimately has decided to present a plan without defining the problem, determining the objectives for the solution and creating a number of alternatives. Ultimately, the city needs to determine the economic drivers for the downtown and how these drivers should be accommodated with the residential nature of the city.”


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