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Transit Village Video

Transit Village Video

Below is a short documentary video produced by journalist Paul Jones for the Peninsula Press.

Jeffrey Byrd of Legacy states that Legacy took feedback from the community and created 2,3, and 4 story sections in the buildings.

What Mr. Byrd fails to state is that the changes in height are all on the West side of the development! The east side will have 8 Buildings with monolithic 54 foot high walls with sound bouncing into our neighborhood. The changes that were asked for were on the east side of the development not on the west side. Even more insulting is the fact that a qualified architect presented alternatives that would address many of the concerns of the GESC. Mr. Byrd’s response was that the feedback received was “not realistic”. Those were VERY disingenuous statements on Mr. Byrd’s part.

But we have come to expect this type of behavior from Legacy. If Legacy was so concerned about young families having affordable rentals why don’t they make a higher percentage of units actually affordable? When they presented to the neighborhood the apartments were described as “luxury” units. That doesn’t sound like affordable rentals for young people.

Jeff Maltbie who was not part of the city staff until recently seems to have taken the side of the developers and Samtrans without listening to or reaching out to the residents or the GESC in any way shape or form. In fact his statements are in direct opposition to what Brian Fitzpatrick states in the video; poorly played Mr. Maltbie. We would like to invite you to our next community meeting where you can clear the record and start working with the residents of the community whom you are supposed to serve.

Al Savay seems to think that putting out a shoddy and boilerplate EIR report that has tons of erroneous information, data, and conclusions is normal operating procedure. I think Mr. Savay needs to listen to residents, proofread documents, and get consultants to do their job properly before publicly submitting a shoddy EIR.

All in all the article and accompanying video paint a picture of an unresponsive city, public agency (SamTrans), and developer who are in it for the money no matter how bad the impacts are to east side residents and how massively this project will change the face of our entire community. This development will change San Carlos both east and west sides in a very significant fashion. It is the boondoggle and eyesore that is 1001 Laurel Street multiplied eight times.

Do we want this city transformed into a San Mateo with poor and out of place development or do we want to model ourselves more like Palo Alto where the community is involved and makes sure that developments are done right? All residents of San Carlos need to think about this issue and provide feedback when the time is due.

Here is a link to the news article in the Peninsula Press

Please watch the video and post your comments.


  1. Great comments Tim and Elliott. “Slivers” of vertical space is exactly what Jeff Byrd’s “View Corridors” are. He’s incorrect in saying we asked for view corridors. While they are better than nothing, they don’t deal with the issue of 54-foot walls stretching for 8 blocks and wiping away our view and offering us nothing in return.

    Tim, agree with you that there is no real revenue in this for San Carlos.

  2. Hmm… I’m not getting the warm and fuzzies from this potentia developmet.

    Some time ago, I went with a friend from the “east side” to a presentation of the project. I seem to recall a Legacy representative stating flatly that the buildings would never be less than three stories. However in the video, Mr. Byrd of Legacy stated in some places the buildings “go to two stories high.” He also mentions that the buildings have been broken up significantly and that Legacy tried to create places where there are no buildings at all. Though they tried, from the renderings I saw, the result amounted to slivers of vertical space, if you will, between buildings.

    I can’t say that the city does or does not need housing, but I can say would people really be interested in living right in-between the busy railroad tracks and an even busier main automobile thoroughfare? I wouldn’t. And, after looking at the physical relation between the project location and the downtown area, I don’t think any project retail occupants would get much business from those other than the project inhabitants.

    If the city has no incentives, financially or otherwise, as the city manager said, then I wonder why would the city want to go ahead with the project. It seems that it’s not wanted by the residents that are nearest to it who will have to live with three years or more of construction before occupancy can even begin.

    So, whom does the project serve, who really benefits?

  3. I agree with Ben and the article in regard to how the relationship between these entities involved with the SCTV project seem very “cozy” together.

    If the city of San Carlos has no financial incentive for the project as Jeff Maltbie quotes, “there’s not really any incentive for the city financially or otherwise to have this project (SCTV) go in” then why has the city made grant applications contingent on this project’s groundbreaking? Why has Al Savay touted the influx of close to a million dollars of RDA funds and tax increment incentives that this project will bring?

    Here are the facts: This project will not produce one cent of tax revenue for the city or its schools that are currently asking for a vote on Measure A, a city wide parcel tax to keep teachers and programs going. The residential part of this project, which is built on public land and will not generate 1 cent of property tax revenue, will run the city an almost $300K annual deficit (71%) of that being for fire and police. This is after we outsourced our police department due to budget shortfalls.

    I am in complete support of a well thought out, well planned TOD that will add to the value of the surrounding neighborhood and realistically involve community members in the planning stages as well as a project that will produce REAL REVENUE for the city. This project will not do that!

    Tim Hilborn
    1052 Sylvan Dr.

  4. This article is an extremely valuable record of what has taken place. Cozy relationships between Legacy, SamTrans, and the City of San Carlos have developed a very poorly conceived project of 54-foot buildings on a tiny space, using public land, so that everyone can get paid. This is intended as a way to put money into the pockets of CalTrain who has proven over the last 30 years that they are not capable of managing themselves and are now entering the real estate business to make up for bad decisions elsewhere. Meanwhile, a San Jose Mercury News Article has shown that the SamTrans Board approves every decision that comes its way (Please see related article).

    The City stands to benefit through grants and undisclosed construction deals performed by Legacy Partners, the developers who stand to make a lot of money by slamming buildings into the narrow, tiny space along the train.

    We have fought for 6 years against this development, written countless emails, attended numerous meetings, all to be completely re-buffed. Jeff Byrd of Legacy Partners developed something called “view corridors” early on, but these corridors do very little to protect our view of the San Carlos/Belmont Hills.

    In short, GESC territory is being sold out so that all others can profit. What is in this project for us? Nothing but heartache, property value deterioration, view blockage, noise increase, earlier shade, no sunsets, and a general loss of quality of life.

    Ben Fuller
    President, GESC

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