Transit Village - Project Updates
The proposed design of the site has been changed substantially since the beginning stages of design. Legacy and SamTrans have been actively meeting with various city officials and interest groups to receive their input on the project, and have been receptive to the feedback. As a result, the number of residential units has been reduced, while the amount of retail has been significantly increased.
The original conceptual proposal brought to SamTrans by Legacy in March 2005 was to include 319 rental residential units and 6,000 square feet of retail. In November 2006, conceptual designs submitted to the City by Legacy included 29,500 square feet of retail alongside 280 residential units. The first formal application submitted to the City on May 29, 2007 had 34,600 square feet of retail and 281 rental residential units. The April 17, 2009 application had 38,123 square feet of retail and 280 rental residential units.
The City has held a series of meetings with the applicant to discuss the project, and to move forward with the design.
The Railroad Subcommittee of the City Council has met four times to date regarding this project. The meetings were held in February, March, May, and December of 2007. One meeting included meeting with SamTrans Board representatives and SamTrans executive staff. Summaries of Council subcommittee meetings have been provided to the applicant and design team for consideration.
The City and VMWP have held a TOD (Transit Oriented Development) tour, and invited elected officials, Council members, and community members to attend. The intent of the tour was to review desirable and undesirable elements of TOD development to inform the San Carlos Village project. This was a successful outreach event in which City staff and the applicant were able to hear feedback from various groups and individuals. A summary of the tour and questions and answers from the tour is available for review upon request.
An earlier site visit to a Legacy Partners project in San Jose included a Council Subcommittee member, SamTrans board representatives, city staff and SamTrans executive staff. The intent of this visit was to review the level of project design quality to help inform the San Carlos project.
Other significant changes in the most recent submittal:
San Carlos Transit Village Update [February 2009]
The San Carlos Transit Village project continues to move forward and a new design submittal is expected within a couple of months. The newest submittal will incorporate design changes to reflect input the applicant, Legacy Partners and SamTrans have received from city staff, various community groups and in public meetings over the past year. The final step in developing the submittal is the landscaping of the property outside of the development area, within the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board (JPB) corridor.
Special Landscaping & Story Trees
In the fall, Greater East San Carlos (GESC) members expressed a desire to see if additional trees could be planted in various off-set locations to better screen the project from view from the east side along Old County Road. One suggested location is within the JPB operating right of way, on both sides of the railroad tracks - an area strictly off limits to development. JPB agreed to look into the possibility of adding additional landscaping to this area, providing that such landscaping would not, in any way, impact Caltrain operations. Caltrain and the JPB want to ensure the placement of trees is well outside of the line of sight for the signal system near the southern end of the property and have asked for two demonstration trees, or “story trees”, to be installed.
The story trees will be installed starting Monday, February 16 and will be up for approximately two weeks during which time train operators will be able to comment on their impact to train operations. If the story trees show that line of site is not impeded and result in no other operational impacts, JPB and Legacy will develop a plan to allow this area to be landscaped. Thereafter, Legacy will be in a position to submit its next design submittal which will incorporate any landscaping allowed inside the operating right of way.
The EIR consultant has made substantial progress on certain portions of the EIR while waiting for the design submittal from Legacy in order to complete the ADEIR. In the meantime, the EIR consultant is adding several additional photosimulation views to the scope of work, in order to respond to the East San Carlos community concerned about preserving views. GESC was consulted in selecting the additional views to be used in these photosimulations. The additional views far exceed those required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
City and SamTrans staff are coordinating to schedule a meeting of the City Council Transit Village subcommittee (Mayor Grassilli and Councilmember Grocott), SamTrans officials and Legacy Partners to view and discuss the new plans prior to submittal to the City.