The City of Santa Cruz has begun to promote a “virtual community meeting” related to its review of the 5- to 6-story development proposed for 831 Water St.
It’s extremely important that each one of you “attend” this Zoom meeting — especially if you believe, as does our 831 Responsible Development citizens group, that this project should be sent back to the drawing board as being overly large and overly impactful for that lot and for that entire area of our city.
The meeting is scheduled to take place on Thursday, August 12, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Here is the city news link promoting the meeting; at the time we are writing this, this city page includes a broken link to the Zoom meeting. Here, we believe, is the correct Zoom URL: https://zoom.us/j/91878705149
(If this link doesn’t work on the day of the meeting, please double check the Zoom link on the city’s project web page.)
In short, the developer is attempting to get city approval for his development by leveraging new state rules — often referred to as Senate Bill 35 (SB-35) — that enable developers to try to circumvent the public hearing and CEQA review processes that are key to city officials and city residents being able to provide important feedback that would lead to a better project.
If this SB-35 application succeeds, the developer will be able to build this project simply by pulling a building permit: no Planning Commission meetings, no City Council meetings, no environmental review, and no meaningful public engagement.
While the city announcement references SB-35, it neglects to mention that the developer’s project is also based on a number of density bonuses he thinks he is entitled to.
Again, it is critically important that we all attend this virtual meeting to push back forcefully against both his SB-35 application and the density bonuses that it relies upon.
In two letters sent to the Santa Cruz City Council, we made clear that our group absolutely supports housing on this site. But our letters also pointed out the many flaws in the developer’s application with respect to SB-35 and the density bonuses he believes the city should OK.
Please review our most recent and updated letter and, if you agree, please help us underscore these points by speaking during the August 12 meeting. And, if they agree with you, ask your family members, housemates, neighbors, coworkers, and others to also join the meeting and speak out in opposition to a project that — as currently designed — would overwhelm an entire area of our city.
We recommend that you log in early as the city has only set aside 90 minutes for the entire meeting. If the only other community meeting held on this proposed project is any indication, the developer may take up a big chunk of the meeting at the outset by describing his desired project, leaving not enough time for public input. So get in early so you get in the queue to respond. And also use the meeting’s “chat” functions to register your concerns. Thank you again.