September 2012 home page

VSP: Facts & Opinions
Voters will decide on November 6 if the Village Specific Plan(VSP)
is adopted. On these pages we have invited a variety of points of view
to help clarify voter choices.

Survey Split | VSP Evolution | It Will Work | It Won’t Work

Need To Know | Parking Perplexes


VSP Evolution
Don Mosier | City Councilmember

City council unanimously adopted an extensively modified final Village Specific Plan (VSP) for our downtown commercial district on Aug. 6th. The final VSP differed from the original draft VSP of March 20th in several significant details. Modifications were made in response to citizen concerns and input from the Design Review Board and the Planning Commission. The VSP prescribes the zoning for the 66 parcels in the planning area as well as public improvements to improve traffic flow and the pedestrian experience. The biggest change was reducing the cap on new development from 321,000 sq. ft. to 221,000 sq. ft., a 31% reduction of maximum development over the next 30 years. This also reduced average daily trips on Camino del Mar (CDM), and parking demand. Threshold review intervals were added after the first draft, and reduced twice more. They will occur when new development totals 70,000 sq. ft., when 35 new dwelling units have been built, or after 10 years. Building height on the west side of CDM will now be reviewed when any one block has 50% of buildings at 26 ft. or two stories. The maximum number of residential units in the VSP was reduced from 140 to 110. The number of roundabouts on CDM was reduced from 4 to 3, with further study of the busiest intersection at 15th St. and CDM. Additional changes included:

• Modification of the Exceptional Public Benefits (EPB) to put a greater emphasis on inclusion of a housing component in new /redevelopment projects;
• Scaling back the EPB offered for sustainable building practices to give benefits only for the highest LEED category;
• Inclusion of a new EPB for protection or creation of deed-restricted public view corridors;
• Creation of Design Review Ordinance standards to guard against canyonization along CDM;
• Planning Commission review of a proposed EPB’s compliance with the VSP standards
• Also, Planning Commission recommendation to Council at VSP threshold review intervals;
• Significant sound-attenuation requirements for outdoor dining areas and a CUP requirement for outdoor dining on upper levels;
• 26-foot height limit along rear of west-side CDM properties within 50 ft. of adjacent residences;
• Limitations and review process for temporary enclosures

The environmental impact review entailed starting with a large VSP to assess the most severe potential impacts after full build out of downtown in 30 years. Although the larger development capacity scenario did not have any significant environmental impacts or required mitigations, the smaller, final VSP has even fewer impacts. The final, reduced VSP is now subject to voter approval this November. It may not have a 100% of what everyone wants, but it is the best plan to meet the many objectives in 36 years.



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