The San Carlos Planning Commission voted 4-1 to recommend the City Council greenlight the controversial Transit Village, a mix of apartments and retail proposed around the existing historic train station.
The commission’s vote, with Commissioner Scot Marsters dissenting, came after three separate meetings include the one Monday night which pushed past the regular 10:30 p.m. end time. Before voting on the required planned development plan and rezoning, the commission took a magnifying glass to numerous components of the project that might impact the city and surrounding neighborhood, with landscaping, traffic and transportation among the key issues.
The commission’s approval came with some conditions such as relocating the proposed shuttles from the east side to the west side, adding transit passes and electric charging stations for residents and making sure the landscaping screens the development well.
Jeff Byrd of developer Legacy Partners told the commission offerings like the transit passes are “to incentivize people to get new habits.”
While the developer was amenable to some changes, Byrd said they were trying to add some amenities, like the charging stations, in pieces so that they don’t purchase “things that become obsolete in 10 months” if they’re underutilized.
The proposal now heads to the City Council.
The project is eight four-story buildings with 280 apartments and 36,319 square feet of commercial space. A transit center and 226 commuter parking spaces are also included. The project would sit on a 10.53-acre site containing the existing historic train station and commuter parking lots, a vacant auto dealership building and vacant lots.
Legacy Partners will likely pay in-lieu fees rather than set aside 15 percent of units for affordable housing.
Project opponents have long argued the project impacts the east side neighborhood with traffic, noise and shadows. At least one resident, GESC Ben Fuller, is already mulling a ballot referendum if the council approves it.
Fuller said he and the other GESC members were not surprised at the 4-1 split, calling Marsters the “voice of reason” on the project. Fuller said the building size and future of the trees if electrification happens remain problems. Opponents have also suggested an expansion of Laureola Park as an added benefit to offset the project’s impacts.
The group is “delighted” the city listened about their worries regarding shuttles and taxi dropoff areas but, he said, “the question now is if the City Council can reflect the will of the residents.”
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