During the month of May, GESC Board and Street Team members Ben Fuller, Tim Hilborn and Sam Herzberg canvassed Greater East San Carlos again to update members of the community about the San Carlos Transit Village, hand out the GESC Newsletter, and invite community members to the meeting on May 27th at the Laureola Building where the San Carlos Transit Village plans will be discussed. Residents continued to be very concerned about the development and were disappointed that after many months the height of the development continues to be 50 feet or higher.
We still found residents who were unaware of the impact of this development. Most concerning though was that most residents felt that in spite of our best efforts, the City of San Carlos has never cared about us and will just do whatever they want as they had in the past with the Berm, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, and other projects. Many horror stories were told by residents who had endured what they called difficult decisions made by the city without GESC interests in mind.
We told them that this time we believed things would be different. We mentioned that we are building a rapid communication system with the development of San Carlos’ largest email list. We mentioned that GESC has changed our name and expanded our board. We also mentioned that we are implementing a full canvassing team until the San Carlos Transit Village issue is resolved. We did not mention the possibility of other steps at this point, but hinted that GESC improvements and wish list must be addressed as part of the San Carlos Transit Village project. Only time will tell whether the GESC Board and Community Members will need to try new things to produce the intended improvements of the GESC Community.
GESC/NESC Canvass Results Summary
Presented to: City of San Carlos, Legacy Partners, SamTrans
Laureola Meeting Feb. 21, 2008
NE San Carlos Canvass Results: Performed Week of 2/11/08
On the week of 2/11/08, local NE San Carlos residents Tim Hilborn, Ben Fuller, Margaret Dorman, Tim Ryan, and Andrew Eaton conducted a canvassing of NE San Carlos, visiting Springfield, Sylvan, Inverness, Riverton, Northwood, Fairfield streets and apartments north of Northwood. The team talked with over 100 residents during our canvass and received a batch of emails afterwards. All of these findings are summarized into the document below to represent the view of NE San Carlos residents.
1. Berm for Train led to more noise and separation of NE San Carlos
Many long-time residents felt like lobbying the city would result in failure because of their previous experiences. Residents who had previously spoke out against raising the berm felt their voices were never acknowledged by the city despite what ended up happening: an obvious increase of noise amplification further into the neighborhood, and the advent of greater physical separation from the rest of the city.
2. Lack of faith in San Carlos Government for the needs of NE San Carlos
Residents of NE San Carlos on the whole are still upset about the Berm and feel that the City of San Carlos did not take their interests into account when making this decision.
1. Inadequate City Disclosure of Proposed SCTV Impact on NE San Carlos
NESC has serious questions about how the proposed San Carlos Transit Village (SCTV) project has been communicated and disclosed to the public by the city. NE San Carlos residents asked: What, if any correspondence has been sent by the city to its residents (specifically NESC) in regard to the proposed development north of Holly? If our neighborhood did not have the Laureola Neighborhood Association, how would we have ever found out about any chance for public input? What legal/civil/moral responsibility does the city have to let its residents know in a timely, efficient, comprehensive method about major developments that will affect residents in quality of lifestyle and property values?
Request by NE San Carlos: NE San Carlos is requesting any direct documentation that has been provided by the City of San Carlos to NE San Carlos residents. We have copied a direct quote from the San Carlos City Website, which details the type of communication expected by NE San Carlos residents.
City of San Carlos Customer Service Policy:
“The City provides information and services to residents on an ongoing
basis. Communication with the public, oral or written, must be clear,
concise, consistent and easy to access. Departments should strive to utilize all communication possibilities (website, Channel 27, Today in San Carlos, and other currently available sources) as efficiently as possible to assure that the residents remain informed and aware on a regular basis.”
2. San Carlos Transit Village (SCTV) proposed development.
After talking with NE San Carlos residents regarding the SCTV development, the following concerns were raised regarding the project:
A. Harmful Building Design: The proposed design of a 50+ foot, four story residential low to moderate income apartments with a total of four buildings north of Holly St. Approx. 300 ft. long, 50+ feet high with less than 60 feet of broken space in between was viewed as completely uncomplimentary to NE San Carlos.
B. Significant loss of property value: Nearly everyone felt that NE San Carlos homeowners would experience a significant decline in property values with the building of this development.
C. Slap back noise: CalTrain and freight trains will significantly increase noise level to our neighborhood. NE San Carlos residents’ knowledge that the City of San Carlos had told us in the past that the Berm would introduce no new noise even though it radically increased noise to the neighborhood, made residents even more suspicious.
D. Sunlight and Views: Literal loss of hours of PM sunlight to many homes close to Old County Rd. due to building height and length. And the deletion of the beautiful view of San Carlos Hills from Northeast San Carlos replaced with a wall of buildings full of people peering into our neighborhood.
E. More Separation of NE San Carlos: The city has not made an attempt to provide adequate solutions to connect NE San Carlos to the rest of the City. Pedestrian solutions are totally unsafe and inadequate. The Berm and the cutting down of heirloom trees on Old County Road increased this sense of separation. The building of this development is just another way of further cutting us off.
F. Parking and Traffic: This project has a large scope that includes 281 units with potentially 1000+ people added to our neighborhood. Only 1.6 spaces per unit have been allocated. Parking and traffic could be a literal nightmare in Northeast San Carlos. And we can’t even guarantee that one resident will take the train!
G. Neighbors are Starting to Sell: Two houses on Old County Road are already for sale, including one neighbor who has been involved in NE San Carlos meetings.
H. Condo vs. Apartments: What are the county and city revenues/expenditures from proposed development? Primarily construction, zoning and taxable property of leased land apartments versus private owned land, condos and or townhouses. Why are these properties being conceived as rentals?
I. Net Loss for NE San Carlos: The way this project is conceived, it is a complete negative for NE San Carlos. There is nothing in this for us. We lose property value, parking, sunlight, views, privacy, and peace and quiet. This project has not taken our needs into consideration. We will provide a list of benefits for NE San Carlos when we meet with the team of planners to discuss this project.
Request by NE San Carlos: Set meeting within the next two weeks with city planners and architect to revise current proposed plans north of Holly St. with NESC input. Continue scheduled meetings until all interested groups have established concessions for a plan that is balanced and acceptable for both the city and NESC residents.
3. $1 Million Check from PAMF.
Recently, the City of San Carlos received a $1 million check from Palo Alto Medical Foundation. Although our neighborhoods will be impacted the most by this new development, we have not heard that any part of the million-dollar pie has been earmarked for improvement to the greater Laureola neighborhoods?
Request by NE San Carlos: The City of San Carlos will provide some of this money for improvements in NE San Carlos as opposed to spending all the money in West San Carlos where this project has little or no impact. We will provide a list of possible uses for money that would be earmarked for NE San Carlos.
1. City communication and notification of major issues and developments affecting our neighborhoods.
Not everyone has computers to receive emails from the city. Residents should receive timely communications via mail in regard to major plans and developments. Laureola should not be expected to provide these services when the City is performing whole scale changes in our neighborhoods.
The majority of NE San Carlos residents believe in and support a transit village in theory (Many people in the NESC neighborhood take the train as well) We are our own transit village. NESC wants to have a fair say and stake in this proposed development, as we feel it is too big and will have a significantly negative impact on our neighborhood in its current proposed form.
CC: Omar Ahmad