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     Developing Our Vision for the Future   

County government is undergoing a number of changes. Earlier this year we hired Carlos Palacios as our new County Administrative Officer (CAO). He took the helm after the steady leadership of Susan Mauriello, who was the CAO for 28 years.
The process of picking a CAO highlighted the importance of continuing to plan for the future of our community and the need to identify specific goals to support those efforts. During our selection process, the Board committed to the creation of a long-term strategic plan that would shape the goals we hope to accomplish as a county and to the development of measurable outcomes to track our success in meeting those goals.
To that end, last month the County officially launched Vision Santa Cruz County, an effort that will include both an internal process within the County workforce and critical input from the community. After this collaborative process, a plan will be developed that identifies key focus areas and specific goals and objectives we expect to achieve in order to accomplish the visions outlined in the plan. We expect this might lead to a two-year budget process. Year one of this two-year cycle would include development of an operational plan and budget. Year two would provide the opportunity for the Board to evaluate the performance measures we have put in place to gauge our success.
I encourage you to read more about the process and plan by clicking here. You can also visit the new website,, or use the Citizen Connect app to sign up for updates and information about the whole effort.

Pleasure Point Commercial Area Planning
On a sunny morning in September, over 100 people gathered for a discussion about the future of the commercial corridor on Portola Drive in Pleasure Point. Ten years after the start of the successful planning process for the residential area, the community is now engaged in setting standards for design of the commercial area and streetscape. Although there were many people in attendance, there was a great deal of agreement about the need to ensure a variety of building styles and uses, the importance of supporting the local community while also serving visitors, the desire to keep building heights the same as where they are now, and possibly changing the street to allow for wider sidewalks and safe bike infrastructure. This was only the first part of the planning process. A second workshop will be held in November. Copies of the slides shown at the meeting will be available on the Planning Department's website soon. I'll alert you in the newsletter when the November workshop has been scheduled.

Affordable Housing in Santa Cruz
Living in a community with some of the highest housing prices in the country presents many challenges for our families, friends, co-workers, and the overall health to our community. The Board has been working on a number of efforts to help build more housing and ensure a better supply of truly affordable housing. In looking for the right mix of planning changes and funding sources to provide needed housing, the Board has developed the Sustainable Santa Cruz County Plan, modified affordable housing fees, and changed the requirements for Accessory Dwelling Units. However, if we are going to address this vexing problem, we cannot do it alone. 
I want to invite you to participate in Affordable Housing Awareness Week (October 19-26) to learn about some of the innovative strategies, ongoing issues, and key successes to address the need for affordable housing in our community. Affordable Housing Awareness Week kicks off on October 19 at 7:00 p.m. with "No Place Like Home - The Santa Cruz County Affordable Housing Crisis" at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. Findings of countywide research on the affordable housing crisis in Santa Cruz and Watsonville will be revealed at this event. UCSC faculty and students will share the results of surveys and interviews with over 1,700 local residents to understand how respondents are experiencing the housing crisis. The event will also feature a visual and literary art exhibit on the meanings of "home." Other activities during the week include a tenant rights workshop, tours of affordable housing projects in our community, and an update from Smart Solutions to Homelessness. To find out more about Affordable Housing Awareness Week, please click here.

St. Stephens Senior Housing Grand Opening
I also want to invite you to join me on October 20 for a tour of the new affordable senior housing development in Live Oak at St. Stephens Church. This project, which includes 40 units for seniors, is a beautiful partnership between the County, the church, the Housing Authority, and Mid-Penn Housing. I hope you can attend!
St. Stephens Church
2500 Soquel Drive
Santa Cruz
11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Wednesday, October 4
5:30-6:30 p.m.
Porter Memorial Library
3050 Porter Street

Wednesday, October 11
5:30-6:30 p.m.
People's Coffee
1200 17th Avenue
Live Oak

Wednesday, October 18
5:30-6:30 p.m.
Loma Prieta School 
23800 Summit Road
Summit Area

Not paid for with County Funds