The San Carlos City Council, wrestling with the size of the proposed Transit Village development around the existing train station, wants the developer to erect story poles to give them and residents a clear picture of just how massive it would be.
Councilman Matt Grocott proposed the idea at Monday night’s meeting, saying that as a landscape architect he might understand from flat blueprints the scale but that the average person can’t get a visual.
“After going through it I realize this thing’s huge. This thing’s big,” he said
Councilman Ron Collins backed the idea of story poles and offered a different suggestion to use a 3-D video of the plans for the site.
“I propose we do both. At the end of this project I don’t want there to be any comment that we didn’t look at this project from every possible angle,” Collins said.
The project, which is coming to the City Council for consideration of its merits rather than the environmental documents which have already been certified, is currently proposed as 280 residential units spread over eight buildings with four stories although some of the top floors have already been reduced by developer Legacy Partners in response to community outcry. The size may drop even further to 272 units based on conditions of approval recommended by the Planning Commission. The project calls for 36,319 square feet of commercial space, a transit center and 226 commuter parking spaces.
Mayor Bob Grassilli didn’t oppose story poles but said he wasn’t sure if the development’s size would be clear because it is quite different than simply showing a small addition to a home.
Grassilli, who also questioned what he called numerous errors in the plans like missing roofs and elevations, held firm that story poles are a worthwhile investment.
“If a homeowner can burden that expense and trouble then I think definitely a developer can,” he said.
But Jeff Byrd of Legacy Partners said walks and 3-D plans were a better option.
“The request of story poles is unorthodox for buildings of this scale,” he said.
Byrd said it would take months to get the story poles together and wasn’t “sure it would really accomplish anything.”
The City Council spent much of the remaining meeting viewing the 3-D video and giving city staff a long list of questions they want answered before the next meeting on the project in November.
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