On Monday, 15 August 2016, over 60 community members gathered at the Roosevelt Community Center for the City of San Jose Planning Department’s public meeting on the proposed development of the Empire Lumber Site (E. Santa Clara between 26th & 28th Streets).
That is an impressive turnout — thanks to all who participated.
The advocate for the developer described the project and then took questions and comments — and those present had a lot to say.
Among continuing concerns:
- Height in relation to the Church and to the homes on Shortridge. The maximum height of the project is 85′ but parts in the back step down to 72′. There is some setback on the top floor. The proposed general plan amendment would make 85′ the standard for the entire 2.77 acres (current policy limits 50% to that height). Several community members objected to the height and advocated for more significant setbacks.
- The developer is requesting a 50% reduction in the general plan retail requirement for the area. Most comments pertaining to retail were suggestions of what people would like to see on the site. It was also pointed out that this reduction would put greater retail pressure on other parts of the village plan.
- Besides the height in relation to the Church, other comments included avoiding construction impacts on the physical structure of the Church and reflecting the appearance of the Church in the design for the project.
- Several community members expressed concerns about insufficient parking on the site, impact of the project on traffic and on-street parking, loading docks, ingress and egress.
- The developer’s advocate promised creation of “a high quality pedestrian environment” and several residents commended the design for the widened sidewalks on E. Santa Clara and on the plaza entrance curving into the trail.
- The developer’s advocate expressed interest in directing park fees paid for the project to development of the trail alongside the project and possibly beyond.
- The developer’s advocate stated that venting, plumbing and other infrastructure required for food or other retail on the ground floor would be included.
- On the overall design of the project, the developer’s advocate stated a willingness to “work with the community on the design” and an openness “to change.”
- A community member pointed out that the density of housing on this site is much higher than any of the recent projects built or underway downtown (including “The Pierce” on Market Street).
- The importance of the interface with the trail and “eyes on the trail” was emphasized.
So, despite some good things about the project, community members continue to have concerns, particularly about height, setbacks and overall design.
The Planning Commission will consider the proposed general plan amendments at their meeting on October 26, 2016 — put it on your calendar!
This report was submitted by Professor Terry Christensen, representing the BART Transit Village Advocates & the Friends of Five Wounds Trail.
The Planning Department Community Meeting on the Empire Lumber Development Project is coming up Monday, August 15, 6:30 p.m. at the Roosevelt Community Center. Only those who live within 1000 feet of the site have had any official notice about the meeting. Their original notice was for a meeting on the proposed general plan amendments on height and retail floor area, but we have learned that the Planned Development for the project will also be on the agenda. That … Continue reading →
It seems like our struggle to assure a BART station at 28th Street (formerly known as the Alum Rock Station) may not yet be over. We’ve heard recently that some folks in Santa Clara are suggesting that one of the three stations planned for San Jose (28th Street, Diridon or downtown) should be dropped to assure that Santa Clara will have a BART station. We understand taking a cautious attitude about what VTA promises and can build, but we regret … Continue reading →
The only problem I had with the Alum Rock Area Developer Round Table, held on April 25, 2016 at city hall, was the name. It really should have been called the 28th Street Area Developer Round Table. Other than that, I felt it was very, very successful gathering. Here is my review of the event. After being presented with a overview by city staff of the financial and developmental history of the area and a quick introduction to the community’s … Continue reading →
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Here are the top ten candidates from our survey asking for opinions on new name suggestions for the BART station at 28th street. We received 180 votes. #1. Little Portugal, 64 votes #2. Five Wounds, 43 votes #3. 28th Street, 29 votes #4 East San Jose, 27 votes #5. East Santa Clara Street, 25 votes #6. Cesar Chavez, 24 votes #7. San Jose East, 23 votes #8/9 Downtown East and Aldeia (village in Portuguese), 17 votes each #10 … Continue reading →
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SPUR released an analysis of the financial status of the last phase of the BART connection to San Jose. It contains a good summary of the current funding alternatives and costs for BART Phase II. As they noted, the BART Silicon Valley extension is the largest transportation investment the South Bay will make for decades. It will connect the East Bay and the South Bay with a 16-mile, six-station extension of the BART system. Once completed, the system will connect … Continue reading →