In Sunnyvale and Santa Clara at about the same time, there are two opportunities in different stages to participate in decisions about housing near transit.
More homes near Lawrence Caltrain Station in Sunnyvale
In Sunnyvale, the city is holding a community meeting on Wednesday, 6:30pm at Ponderosa Park Building, 811 Henderson Ave to discuss opportunities to add housing to the Lawrence Station Area Plan, for the area around Lawrence Caltrain.
The fact that the city’s considering these options is a positive step thanks to civic engagement from Livable Sunnyvale and friends. Now that Caltrain electrification is under construction, and the prospect of more frequent service is approaching soon, this is all the more good reason to support a better mix of homes and workplaces, in a city where job growth has been outstripping housing and home prices have been skyrocketing.
The study’s first step is to consider a set of options to increase housing opportunities. This option will be used to evaluate environmental impacts and plan amendments. The options include:
- Option 1 – Greater density: Would increase the maximum units per acre in LSAP zoning districts where residential development is already allowed;
- Option 2 – Expand area for housing: Would allow residential development in LSAP zoning districts that were not originally designated for residential uses; or
- Option 3 – Combination of Option 1 and 2.
Come if you can, or send thoughts by email to George Schroeder of Sunnyvale Planning, GSchroeder@sunnyvale.ca.gov. Next steps will be a Planning Commission hearing on April 23, and a City Council decision on Tuesday, May 22.
Housing on El Camino Real in Santa Clara with lots of parking
The City of Santa Clara is starting to look at another residential/mixed use development at 3402 El Camino Real, this time not far from Lawrence Expressway, at the site that is mostly an empty lot with one remaining open restaurant, where a burnt-out strip mall was mostly demolished, leaving one lonely restaurant.
The proposal on Wednesday evening at Planning Commission at a meeting starting at 7pm is for 66 homes, and a small 10,000 square feet space for ground floor retail. The proposal includes 188 parking spaces – nearly 3 parking spaces per home, and only 3 months of transit passes. The first parking space would be bundled with the apartment, and residents could rent more parking for a charge.
This is much more parking than data from TransForm and others suggest is needed for the location on El Camino Real. Can Santa Clara do a better job at encouraging housing for people, not just housing for cars much of which is likely to go empty, according to information about comparable locations? Also, parking spaces stay with the building in perpetuity; TransForm recommends offering transit passes longterm as well.
Over the last couple of years until very recently, homes on El Camino in Santa Clara have gotten some pushback, though I don’t know what to expect for this site, because it’s on an empty lot adjoining uses are mostly retail and apartments. If you support transforming El Camino to a walkable, mixed use place, it would be helpful to speak up at Planning Commission on Wednesday and/or City Council. Santa Clara is working on a Specific Plan for El Camino as a whole, so feedback on projects will also help with the plan for the corridor.