San Carlos resident Dimirti Vandellos got straight to the point when he addressed the Planning Commission on July 30 in regards to the Transit Village Project:
"The fabrications and falsehoods that pose as conclusions in the final EIR document are breathtaking in their disregard of valid and well reasoned community concerns," he stated.
The Environmental Impact Report, required by the California Environmental Quality Act, was developed for these prosopals, which can also be found on the city of San Carlos website:
- Four-story residential buildings over parking garages, including four buildings north of Holly Street, and two buildings just south of Holly Street. There are a total of 280 rental residential housing units, including 93 one-bedroom units, 132 two-bedroom units, 55 three-bedroom units.
- 38,123 square feet of commercial space housed in three buildings. 14,326 square feet of retail proposed on the ground floor, while 23,797 square feet of retail/office is proposed on the second and third floors.
- 431 total residential garage parking spaces, at a parking ratio of 1.50 spaces/dwelling unit. These garages will be under ground. An additional 66 spaces are provided for commercial uses consisting of: 10 dedicated retail and office spaces, nine (of the 431 residential) spaces shared with residential uses and 47 time restricted spaces to be shared with Caltrain commuters. In addition, there are another 170 Caltrain parking spaces provided. In total, there are 667 parking spaces for the project.
A multi-modal transit station and drop-off point is proposed just south of the historic train depot, in the parking lot. A pedestrian plaza and public gathering space in front of the historic depot are also proposed.
Public domain and the possible closure of Old County Road have not yet been made clear as part of the project.
"Why is a public transit agency’s Railroad Right of Way Property, designated for rail expansion, being given away to a private developer for an giant apartment complex?" Vandellos asked.
The answer is that it is not being given away to anybody. SamTrans and the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board own the proposed project site. SamTrans will enter into a long-term ground lease with the developer, Legacy Residential Partners, Inc., who will own the improvements.
"Why is this public ROW property being given away when that same property will be needed for construction and staging of the HSR and Caltrain electrification projects?" Vandellos asked.
Again, SamTrans will continue to own the land and the project has no impact on the transformation of CalTrain's electricifaction. Consider all that is needed for electricity is hanging a few wires through the projected site.
"SamTrans and Legacy Partners have proven in this document that our issues and concerns are meaningless," Vandellos said, "that soundproofing apartments from Train Noise is far more important than addressing slap back noise from the trains to our homes."
A valid point, and one that both the planning commision and city council would like to see the EIR address.
Vadellos brought up several other vaild concerns and Planning Commissioner Scot Martsers was seen vigoriously taking notes. He had several of his own concerns.
A well-informed public with the ability to address their grivances is, of course, a constitiutional guarantee.
The city of San Carlos, the lead Agency for producing the EIR, states on its website "the purpose of an EIR is to provide public agencies and the public in general with detailed information about the effects a proposed project is likely to have on the environment, to list ways in which the significant effects of the proposed project might be minimized, and to identify and analyze alternatives to the proposed project."
The Transit Village process was begun nearly 13 years ago. It is at least a year, if not much longer, before any approval will be given to break ground.
The next step is a public hearing will be held on Oct. 1, before the Planning Commission makes its recommendation to the city council.
When the recommendation is presented, the city council will hold its own public forum.
There are still at least two more chances for the public to speak. In the meantime, both the planning commission and city council accepts written opinions.
The one thing the GESC can do in the meanwhile is to publicize their alternative visions, several of which would likely draw plenty oif support.
Preferred Alternatives for the SCTV parcel:
- Green space and park running along the rail corridor that allows for a maximum amount of flexibility in HSR and Caltrain electrification project implementations.
- The Parcel is built with a combination of retail/office and green space uses.
- Retail/Office spaces should provide major incentives for green businesses to help San Carlos become a leader in green technologies in the Bay Area.
- Allows for maximum flexibility in HSR and Caltrain electrification project implementations.
There is plenty of information on the website to help people better understand the feeling of neglect that frustrates the GESC organization.
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