The Sustainable Santa Cruz Study

The County Planning Department has worked for more than a year on several policy documents that will shape the future of zoning and building regulations and support economic vitality efforts for years to come.

The Sustainable Santa Cruz Study creates a vision for the future of in-fill development along transit routes and within the urban core areas of the County, mostly along the Soquel and Capitola corridors.  The plan envisions more paths for pedestrians and bike riders and increases accessibility paths for people with special physical needs. The proposed mixed use zoning will encourage economic vitality and create more affordable housing.  Public input so far has focused on building height and neighborhood compatibility and creating transportation improvements. Key elements include bike and pedestrian connectivity and safety, identifying new vehicle connections and implementing improvements to mitigating traffic congestion. The draft study goes before the Board of Supervisors for approval on October 28th. Next year, County staff will propose modernizing a wide variety of building codes and ordinances as proposed in the study.

Significant revisions to the County’s Affordable Housing Ordinance will go before the Housing Advisory Commission on November 5th with the goal of increasing the number of affordable housing units throughout the county. One of the key proposed revisions would require that affordable units be priced so that residents who make up to 110% of the area’s median income qualify for that housing. Another proposed revision would create a fund dedicated to building affordable housing which would be funded by developer impact fees.  The draft ordinance will be available for public review the week of October 27th and after the 11/5 HAC meeting will go before the Planning Commission on November 12th.  The Board will consider the final proposed ordinance on December 16th.

Critical to the County’s economic vitality will be the Broadband Connectivity Ordinance which will go before the Planning Commission on November 12th and be considered by the Board on December 16th.  Affordable access to high speed internet is vital for the economic health of the County as a whole and the San Lorenzo Valley in particular given the number of home-based businesses within the valley.

After numerous public workshops where hundreds of residents gave the County feedback, the next version of the draft Economic Vitality Strategy Study will be available for public review the week of October 20th.  This important policy document outlines dozens of strategies that will improve and sustain our local economy for years to come.  Prioritized projects will be proposed in a shorter work plan that will indicate where the County proposes to focus its resources over the next two years.

There is still time for members of the public to give the County input regarding these important policies.  Please contact me directly and I will be happy to facilitate communications with the appropriate County staff.