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Original post made
on Jun 11, 2009
So there should be more retail on the other side of Castro? Just like downtown? There is no retail downtown. I'm all for limiting growth. Every time we build a new housing complex, there's that many more toilets flushing. There is a water shortage, not a housing shortage. East of Castro sounds a bit whiney.
The ideas mentioned in this article would all be nice for our neighborhood, however the only thing from the list we really NEED is a neighborhood school. Either Whisman or Slater-take your pick, but we need a place for our children, families and community members to come together-we always did and we always will-it is ridiculous that our neighborhood children are split up and spread out amongst the other six elementary school neighborhoods. We need a HOME SCHOOL that is close to our home.
On the topic of extending the Hetch Hetchy trail further to the west, beyond Hwy 85, I don't know how much further west it could go since it already connects with the Stevens Creek Trail at Whisman Park.
I also agree with "above all" that we need to reclaim a neighborhood school in North Whisman for the kids who live there. Although given our state's current budget crisis, I don't know how we'll be able to add another school back an already strapped district.
I attended the Whisman neighborhood meeting, and the reporter was fairly accurate about the comments made (although he or she obviously favored the more controversial) but they were completely inaccurate about the tone of the meeting. It was not "heated" at all. There was a robust expression of sentiment (which was the purpose of the meeting after all) but there was hardly the level of conflict reported.
In reality many of our choices are trade offs (like wanting low density AND retail services, or creating homes for workers AND keeping low density) so all we did was articulate the difficult choices we face as a community.
That's a fair criticism -- I think none of us were really happy with the word "heated," but after knocking around synonyms like "controversial" and "tense" they all just seemed worse. We did want to convey that it wasn't acrimonious, but eventually just pushed forward due to time constraints. I wish I'd thought to say "robust"!
I think "animated" might be a good description. Like Jerry, I think it was anything but heated, at least in the break-out group I was in. Lots of good ideas were presented, and many viewpoints. One thing that struck me was the desire for homes to be built for the older and younger ends of the spectrum. Three story townhouses are not ideal for either of those demographics. Diversity in the housing stock needs to be encouraged with a view towards 20 years down the road.
While I wasn't at the Whisman GP meeting this week, I did attend the Central Neighborhoods/Downtown meeting a few weeks ago... and there, too, many people pointed out the need for a wider range of housing options.
As Nicky S points out, 3-story townhomes are not ideal for many parts of the housing spectrum. Some might say this is a reason to go less dense and build single-story single-family homes. But at MV's land values, this is unlikely to be economically feasible for developers, not to mention being bad in terms of carbon footprint. If we were to allow some 'stacked flats' -- 3 to 4-story buildings (perhaps even 5 - gasp!) in which each unit was its own floor, with parking underneath or behind, this would address the stairs problem. Building a little higher also allows the developer more flexibility to leave some room on the site for gardens, common areas, gathering spaces, etc. rather than filling every square foot of the site up, a la at the condos at the corner of West Dana and Calderon. This type of housing performs much better in terms of carbon footprint, and supports alternative transportation use much better, too.
Sometimes accepting a little bit more density -- not everywhere, but as one option in the mix -- can be a very good thing.
Closing Salter was a bad idea given all of the recent growth in this area. The smart growth approach by council in that area has increased the demand for retail services and there is a lot more there than there was 20 years ago.
Something besides 3 story town houses? The council and the Planning Dept. apparently do not quite get this concept. There was an attempt at a recent council meeting to get concept approval (not quite final) on an infill townhouse development across from Castro School. Although there might have been some issues on trash bin area and side lost use - it was pretty clear that the designer wanted to do an elevator/ground level access scheme that has not been seen around here. Although all the neighbors speaking APPROVED, planning and the council did not.
- There needs to be more thinking (study group) between the planning commission and the council - and ADA - elderly advocates - on how to test the waters on maybe 5% of the new dwelling units being put in. There are developers willing to do this!
Several were overheard saying that crime in the area went down 50 percent when the 64-unit Summerhill apartment complex at 291 Evandale Ave. was vacated to make way for a condo development.
"East of Castro sounds a bit whiney."
Puh-leeze. South of El Camino goes postal every time someone suggests touching a blade of grass in their beloved weed patch, Cuesta Annex.
On the tone of the meeting, "lively" would have been fine. There were disagreements but no rancor.
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