Santa Cruz density development planning criticized




SANTA CRUZ >> A vision for Santa Cruz championed in 2012 to limit the city’s sprawl from its surrounding green spaces is meeting heavy resistance from those who now fear an uneven playing field.

The Santa Cruz Planning Commission on Thursday held the second of three public hearings on updates to its zoning codes modeled after the 2030 General Plan update. The discussions, which will continue in a commission meeting on May 25, relates specifically to higher-density development rules along four major city traffic corridors: Ocean Street, Soquel Avenue, Water Street and Mission Street.

Speaking during a public comment period, former Santa Cruz County Supervisor Gary Patton suggested that the Planning Commission recommend the Santa Cruz City Council throw out the latest planning efforts and start from scratch, because the current draft plan is “fundamentally wrong.”

Patton was joined at the meeting by more than 100 community members at the meeting. Most of the speakers, more than a dozen, expressed concerns that Eastside neighborhoods will be subject to higher density allowances than their Westside neighbors. Worries aired included increased traffic gridlock, public parking competition and towering developments’ impacts.

Eastside resident Shelly Hatch described the Bay Area as the “canary in the coal mine” for Santa Cruz. Though the highly developed area has many transportation options, it is now finding itself coming up short, she said.

“What transportation…

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