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Indybay Feature

Revisions to Downtown Expansion Plan at Santa Cruz City Council

sm_downtown-expansion-plan-santa-cruz-1.jpg
Date:
Tuesday, January 10, 2023
Time:
5:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Event Type:
Meeting
Organizer/Author:
SC News
Location Details:
Attend meeting in person: Council Chambers, 809 Center Street, Santa Cruz

The Downtown Plan Expansion project is #30 on the City Council meeting agenda, and will be heard sometime after 5 PM, following oral communications. See meeting agenda for information on participating virtually/phoning in:
https://ecm.cityofsantacruz.com/OnBaseAgendaOnline/Meetings/ViewMeeting?id=2018&doctype=1

Revisions to the Downtown Expansion Plan will be before the Santa Cruz City Council on Tuesday, January 10, 2023. Mayor Fred Keeley and Councilmember Scott Newsome have proposed capping building heights at 12-stories in the project area and requiring 20% of the total housing units in projects be affordable. Their proposed revisions include the following:

1) A policy that sets the maximum number of stories at 12, inclusive of density bonus (a state mandate that allows for development to exceed local regulations such as the maximum number of residential units, maximum building heights, and minimum setbacks);
2) A requirement that 20% of the total units be affordable. The City’s current requirement for affordable units that are included within new residential development projects (called the “inclusionary” requirements) calls for 20% of the units in a project to be affordable, but under state law, as discussed below in more detail, the affordability requirement does not apply to additional units that a developer receives pursuant to the state density bonus; and
3) A maximum total of 1,600 residential units, inclusive of density bonus.

Background

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 the area south of Laurel Street in Santa Cruz.

At their June 14, 2022 meeting, the Santa Cruz City Council selected a preferred development scenario for the area (see photos), directing staff to prepare an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) analyzing the potential for environmental impacts of the Downtown Plan Expansion, and to study the following features as part of the project:

* A minimum of 1600 housing units;
* Maximum heights not to exceed one taller building of 175 feet (approximately 17-stories) and three additional building components not to exceed 150 feet (approximately 15-stories), with each height being inclusive of anticipated height increases associated with a 50% density bonus and with the taller building elements comprising only a portion of shorter podium building forms;
* An option for auto circulation including the permanent closure of Spruce Street east of Pacific Avenue;
* The creation of new civic space in the closed Spruce Street right of way;
* Enhanced pedestrian connections between the Downtown and the beach;
* Options for the location of a permanent arena facility for the Santa Cruz Warriors, with a preferred location being on the south side of Spruce Street between Pacific Avenue and Front Street.

The Downtown Plan Expansion project is #24 on the January 10, 2023 Santa Cruz City Council meeting agenda:
https://ecm.cityofsantacruz.com/OnBaseAgendaOnline/Meetings/ViewMeeting?id=2018&doctype=1

More Information:

Downtown Plan Expansion at Santa Cruz City Council (June 14, 2022)
https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2022/06/12/18850417.php


Downtown Plan Expansion Page 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
Added to the calendar on Thu, Jan 5, 2023 11:10PM
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Preferred Development Scenario Selected by Councilmembers at June 14, 2022 Meeting
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