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City Desk: Jan. 22, 2014

Golf Course Parking for Stadium Approved

At the Jan. 14 Santa Clara City Council meeting, another milestone in the Levi’s Stadium project was reached when 49ers VP of Stadium Operations, Jim Mercurio, announced that the stadium had exceeded its parking goal of 21,000 spaces. With the addition of the proposed parking arrangement with the Santa Clara Golf and Tennis Club, Levi’s Stadium will exceed that goal by 20 percent.

“It’s seven months before opening and we’re over goal,” said Mercurio, who noted that the 49ers are still negotiating for additional space and aim to add 30 percent more parking spots. “It’s very exciting.”

By comparison, noted Northside resident and community activist Kathy Watanabe, “Giants [MetLife] stadium has parking for 28,000 parking spots for 85,000 guests. In Seattle [CenturyLink Field], they only have 3,100 spots at the stadium, 8,500 in nearby lots, and 15,000 downtown a mile away.”

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The golf course parking plan is based on the Rose Bowl parking on Brookside Golf Course in Pasadena, which is operated by the same company that operates Santa Clara’s golf course, American Gold. The plan is to have parking on both sides of Lafayette Street, and the PAL BMX track, with road access points at Great America Parkway and Lafayette.

American Gold has been able to manage parking on Brookside without detriment to the greens, and do parking set-up and break-down all the same day as events, said Assistant City Manager Alan Kuratori, who has been working on this project for several months. “You can do this and still have a very successful golf course after game days.”

The financial arrangement gives the city $5 per space, with a minimum of $250,000 annually. The 49ers are responsible for all expenses, including restoring the course for play and any needed repairs, public safety costs, and reimbursing city for loss of revenue on event days. In addition, the 49ers will not use convention center parking on NFL game days – providing opportunities for game-day events at the convention center. The contract runs for two years, through Feb. 2016.

In addition, because the site is a closed landfill, the 49ers will obtain all required approvals and can limit certain activities, including barbeques. The 49ers can also operate concessions on event days for $10,000 per NFL event, and $5,000 for non-NFL events.

Historic Preservation Ordinance Update

Santa Clara’s Historic Preservation Ordinance Committee has had a little trouble getting off the ground, but has made some progress, reported Honorary City Historian Lorie Garcia at last week’s City Council meeting. The committee is using the state’s technical bulletin on writing an effective preservation ordinance for guidance on process, and Santa Clara County’s 2006 historical preservation ordinance as a model.

However, the committee is back on track, Garcia said, and at its meeting the first week of January had six sections of a proposed ordinance under discussion. Any ordinance would have to be reviewed by the California Office of Historic Preservation for approval under the Certified Local Government Program (CLG) before Council approval.

Garcia made two requests of the Council for the committee. One is additional funding for work into 2014, and the second is for a city staff member to support the committee. “It would be helpful to have a planner who understands preservation, and the zoning ordinances, and the general plan, because it has to tie into the general plan.”

There is still apparently confusion about what building projects must be reviewed by the Historical and Landmarks Commission in the interim while the committee is developing the ordinance proposal, Garcia noted.

Some understand the Council’s June 12, 2013 directive to mean that renovations to any property considered historic must go before the H&L, others understand it to mean renovations to any property over 50 years old – which, observed Council Member Lisa Gillmor is “just about every [tract] house in the city.”

Kuratori suggested that staff be assigned to the committee, and that the question of what should be subject to H&L review be the subject of a Council study session.

“The 50 years is [in] state law,” explained Council Member Pat Mahan. “However, it’s not that your house is 50 years old, it’s that it has some historic significance and you can define that.” Mahan asked whether the ordinance would address demolition of historic structures (it will), as well as the conversion of old houses into student housing for Santa Clara University.

“These are all good policy discussions,” interjected Mayor Jamie Matthews, who clearly wanted to avoid turning a brief status update into a lengthy policy discussion. “I think having adequate staff for the committee and then a study session for council is really important. And these are the kinds of issues that can be brought out.”

The Historic Preservation Ordinance Committee currently meets twice a month at City Hall, on Thursdays at 5 p.m. prior to H&L meetings. Check santaclaraca.gov/index.aspx?page=1419 for schedule information.

Two New Assistant City Manager Positions Approved

Last week Santa Clara welcomed a new Economic Development Officer/Assistant City Manager to the city’s executive team. The new Assistant CM, Sheila Tucker, has served as assistant to City Managers in Palo Alto and San Jose, as well as prior experience working in several South Bay cities, and a Masters in Public Administration from San Jose State.

At the meeting, the Council approved two new Assistant City Manager positions – Tucker’s position as well as a Director of Finance/Assistant City Manager. In addition to specific responsibilities, both of these jobs include covering City Manager responsibilities as needed. The jobs have a monthly control point – the midpoint of a salary range – of $18,734 per month or $224,808 annually. Typically, entry level salaries are set at 85 percent of that point.

By comparison, San Mateo is currently advertising for a City Manager and offering a salary “up to” $222,705. Another comparison: the governor of California’s salary is $173,000.

Requiescat in Pace

In the last month, Santa Clara lost several notable longtime citizens and familiar faces around town. Last week’s Council meeting was adjourned in memory of:

Silvina O. Costa, mother of retired Santa Clara employee Bernadette DeSousa, and a long-time Santa Clara resident known for her love and dedication to the community.

Michael J. Del Monaco, owner of Santa Clara landmark Vesuivio’s pizzeria – a city landmark since 1956 – and a generous supporter of youth activities and sports in Santa Clara.

Daniel Joseph Finnigan, an active longtime member of St. Justin’s Parish and a civil engineer for the city of San Jose Building Department.

June Mills, a 20-year member and volunteer at Santa Clara’s energetic Soroptimist club.

Cleo Stuckrath, founder of Santa Clara Showtime and the Santa Clara Women’s League, tap-dance and ukulele teacher at Santa Clara Senior Center, and an early recipient of the Austen Warburton Award, as well as being named a 2006 California Champion of the Community.

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