Happy New Year! The coming year is both exciting and challe
nging as w
l face many questions about land use, development, housing, and transportation (to name just a few). It is my belief that good policy and development are born out of a robust pu
blic process. That is why I want to give you a brief overview of some issues and projects that are coming before the Board and the community in 2018.
At the beginning of the year, cannabis became legal. The County has approved licensing for retail stores/dispensaries, and we expect that around February, the Board will be reviewing new rules for cultivation and manufacturing. We have worked to incorporate a lot of voices, and I will let you know when the Board will be discussing this in the near future.
On the housing front, we will be holding a community meeting soon to hear from MidPen Housing, the developer that has been selected to develop the 17
th Avenue and Capitola Road property for the first time. Over 130 people attended a meeting held last spring and talked about a mixed-use project that included retail and housing. Stay tuned for dates to come so you can participate in the future of this key property in the Live Oak community. This spring, we will also be revisiting our affordable housing policy about inclusionary zoning. The staff has recommended, and I support, that we require that affordable housing be built on the actual building site at the time of development. Board members have wavered on this issue, so I will be writing more about this as the issue unfolds in the future.
With respect to proposed and future commercial development in the First District, the process for setting new design standards for the Pleasure Point Commercial Corridor will be continuing with a public meeting in February to follow up on all the input we have received from the community. In addition, we have just received the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Nissan car dealership proposal at the corner of 41
st Avenue and Soquel Drive (see more below). This document will be instrumental in formulating some of our decisions. I will be sure to keep you informed of the schedule and when this proposed project will be heard by the Planning Commission, and ultimately the Board.
Lastly, by the end of the year, we will have some good information from the Unified Corridor Study to determine how best to use our three major transportation corridors. The Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) expects to make a decision about where to go with the idea of passenger rail after that document is published.
Our community is stronger because of the active involvement of so many community members in the First District. I hope you will stay engaged as we make critical decisions for our community in 2018.