The controversial Transit Village development will come before the San Carlos Planning Commission a second time Monday night as members continue deciding whether to recommend the City Council sign off on the four-story project around the existing train station.
The commission two weeks ago heard presentations on the recently revamped plan and took public comment but barely had a chance to talk amongst itself before its 10:30 p.m. adjournment.
The Planning Commission has yet to indicate how individual members are leaning but, at the Sept. 16 meeting, Planning Commissioner Scot Marsters was quite vocal in questioning the project’s reported benefits to the city such as pedestrian crossings and wider sidewalks. He also took aim at the rocky relationship between the city and SamTrans, the transportation agency which owns the property on which it would be built.
The proposal calls for converting a 10.53-acre site containing the existing historic train station and commuter parking lots, a vacant auto dealership building and vacant lots used seasonally for pumpkin patches and Christmas trees into a mixed-use set of eight buildings housing 280 apartments and 36,319 square feet of commercial space. A transit center and 226 commute parking spaces are also included.
Proponents hail the plan as a win for transit-oriented housing in San Carlos and say the project is good use of the space, particularly the empty lots. Opponents say the buildings encroach on the greater east side neighborhood, bringing shadows, traffic and noise. They also object to developer Legacy Partners opting to pay in-lieu fees rather than set aside 15 percent of units for affordable housing.
Although the City Council must still approve the project, opponents have already said they will mount a ballot referendum if that happens.
The Planning Commission meets 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 30 in City Hall, 600 Elm St., San Carlos.