Contrary to the article in last week's Voice, there was significant opposition to the project at Castro Street and El Camino Real from the community. In addition, three council members, not two, opposed the project as it stands. I didn't keep an exact count, but maybe three out of 20 speakers favored the project, and the remainder opposed it.
The three council members opposed cited the potential traffic congestion resulting from the project's high apartment density, leading to possible gridlock during peak commute hours, safety concerns for Graham students walking to and from school, insufficient parking, possible loss of Rose Market due to the lengthy construction period, and certain loss of Gochi's restaurant.
In his comments, council member Jac Siegel waved the bundle of signed petitions opposing the project, saying "I'm listening to you." The online petition opposing the project has 458 people who have signed, with more expected. Council member Margaret Abe-Koga said the council should be trying to support existing businesses, not drive them away, and that as a Graham parent she was very concerned about student safety on Castro due to the potential traffic congestion from the project when completed. Council member John McAlister opposed the project, saying the bird's-eye view "scared the bejeezus out of me," as was reported in last week's Voice.
All three voted to take out the fourth floor of the planned structure, and for parking concerns to be addressed. The other four voted to proceed with the current plan.
The project is going forward to the next review stage which will include a traffic study. Hopefully community concerns will be addressed more fully as the process unfolds.