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View events for the week of 6/14/2022
Downtown Plan Expansion at Santa Cruz City Council
Date Tuesday June 14
Time 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Event Type Meeting
Organizer/AuthorSanta Cruz City Council Meeting
Location Details
The Downtown Plan Expansion project is #30 on the city council meeting agenda, and will be heard sometime after 6 PM, following oral communications.

* See meeting agenda for information on participating virtually/phoning in:
https://ecm.cityofsantacruz.com/OnBaseAgendaOnline/Meetings/ViewMeeting?id=1931&doctype=1

IMPORTANT NOTICE - COVID-19 ANNOUNCEMENT: Due to the rise of local COVID cases, in an abundance of caution, this meeting will be held via teleconference ONLY.
A proposal to allow the construction of buildings with heights of up to 225 feet in downtown Santa Cruz will be before the Santa Cruz City Council on Tuesday, June 14 at 6 PM. The proposal is part of the Downtown Plan Expansion project, a planning study to consider the future redevelopment of the area south of Laurel Street. City planners have created three development scenarios, all of which correspond to very tall buildings being built along the San Lorenzo River. Maximum building heights would reach either 145-feet, 185-feet, or 225-feet under the scenarios put forward by staff. Renderings generated for "Scenario 3" show buildings between 17 and 20 stories tall (see photos below).

The Downtown Plan Expansion project was initiated to address options for creating new housing, civic spaces, connections to the river and the beach area, transportation and mobility options, and a permanent arena for the Santa Cruz Warriors, as well as urban design priorities for new development and public spaces. In May, the City of Santa Cruz Planning Commission issued a number of recommendations regarding the proposal in order to maximize the construction of affordable housing, and to minimize the displacement of residents with low-incomes who currently live in the area (see video below).

Highlights of the Planning Commission recommendations include:

* Building heights for new development in the expansion area shall not exceed the height of the tallest building in the downtown area, after a density bonus benefit, as long as 1,600 new housing units can be provided.

* At least one third of the total new higher density housing units in the expansion area shall be affordable to low-income households, and the inclusionary requirement for individual projects shall be 25% with a 30% requirement for projects with density bonuses.

* In order to minimize the potential impact of the proposed Plan on additional displacement of affordable housing within the plan area and in surrounding areas, particularly Beach Flats and Lower Ocean, an advisory committee of residents and affordable housing experts shall be formed to study and recommend effective mitigation measures, in coordination with the Planning Commission.

* The Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the Plan shall contain an analysis of the potential impacts on the environment of displacement that may result from the Plan and shall include appropriate mitigation measures.

The Downtown Plan Expansion project is #30 on the city council meeting agenda:
https://ecm.cityofsantacruz.com/OnBaseAgendaOnline/Meetings/ViewMeeting?id=1931&doctype=1

More information about the Downtown Plan Expansion is available on the city's website:
https://www.cityofsantacruz.com/government/city-departments/planning-and-community-development/long-range-policy-planning/ordinance-policy-updates/downtown-plan-expansion

The photo below is a city rendering showing the scale of the Downtown Plan Expansion project, with a depiction of a 20-story building along Front Street, next to the San Lorenzo River.
sm_1-downtown-plan-expansion-south-of-laurel-street-santa-cruz-front-pacific-20-story-tower-225-foot-buildings.jpg

Added to the calendar on Sunday Jun 12th, 2022 2:09 PM
§Downtown Plan Expansion Development Scenario 3
by Santa Cruz City Council Meeting
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by Santa Cruz City Council Meeting
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by Santa Cruz City Council Meeting
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by Santa Cruz City Council Meeting
sm_5-downtown-plan-expansion-south-of-laurel-street-santa-cruz-front-pacific-20-story-tower-225-foot-buildings.jpg
§Downtown Plan Expansion Development Scenarios 1-3, Compared
by Santa Cruz City Council Meeting
sm_6-downtown-plan-expansion-south-of-laurel-street-santa-cruz-front-pacific-20-story-tower-225-foot-buildings.jpg
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by Santa Cruz City Council Meeting
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by Santa Cruz City Council Meeting
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by Santa Cruz City Council Meeting
sm_9-downtown-plan-expansion-south-of-laurel-street-santa-cruz-front-pacific-20-story-tower-225-foot-buildings.jpg
§Downtown Plan Expansion Project Area
by Santa Cruz City Council Meeting
sm_downtownplanexpansionstudy-santa-cruz-south-of-laurel.jpg
§Video of Planning Commission Meeting on May 5, 2022
by Santa Cruz City Council Meeting
Copy the code below to embed this movie into a web page:
(The Downtown Plan Expansion project presentation begins at the 3:10 mark of the video.)

Motion made by Commissioner Schiffrin, seconded by Chairperson Dawson to the Planning Commission recommend to the City Council the following as the preferred alternative for the Downtown Expansion General Plan Amendment for consideration in the CEQA document:

* The site of the Arena will be in the area between Pacific Avenue and Front Street.
* In order to strike a balance between providing significant new housing and not changing the character of the downtown area in an extreme way, the majority of additional high-density housing shall be provided adjacent to the San Lorenzo River. The total number of new units in the expansion area shall not exceed 1,600 and, to the extent feasible, housing for educators should be included.
* The building heights for new development in the expansion area shall not exceed the height of the tallest building in the downtown area, after a density bonus benefit, as long as 1,600 new units can be provided.
* Laurel Street Extension, if relocated, shall be closer to the hillside without requiring the demolition of the existing special needs housing unless a relocated facility has been provided.
* At least one third of the total new higher density housing units in the expansion area shall be affordable to low-income households, and the inclusionary requirement for individual projects shall be 25% with a 30% requirement for projects with density bonuses.
* New developments that displaces existing low-income residents shall provide replacement affordable units on a one to one basis and shall not be counted towards meeting a project’s inclusionary requirement.
* In order to minimize the potential impact of the proposed Plan on additional displacement of affordable housing within the plan area and in surrounding areas, particularly Beach Flats and Lower Ocean, an advisory committee of residents and affordable housing experts shall be formed to study and recommend effective mitigation measures, in coordination with the Planning Commission.
* The EIR on the Plan shall contain an analysis of the potential impacts on the environment of displacement that may result from the Plan and shall include appropriate mitigation measures.
* The Plan should include the proposals for the Civic plaza, lighting, and connectivity between the beach area and the downtown.
* Public transit should be a central component of the Plan.
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