Several Santa Clarans criticized a proposed senior housing and hotel development, calling the project a “monster” during a community outreach meeting.
The 7.14-acre Mariani Villas development is set to be located on two blocks on both sides of Buchanan Avenue on the south side El Camino Real. A one-lane bridge that would extend Arroyo Drive could “potentially” be included as part of the construction, which also includes 392 multi-family apartments and 311 hotel rooms.
Roughly 40 people turned out on Feb. 16 to give input on what issues city employees should consider when creating the environmental impact report. The proposal will require the City Council to change the seven parcels on the property to mixed-use.
Santa Clara public meeting mainstay Deborah Bress claimed the project ignores the needs of the public. Bress flailed wildly at seemingly every aspect of the project, throwing verbal haymakers, calling the development “obscene,” “preposterous,” “an abomination” and even asked City employees “What are you smoking?”
“You have senior housing on the El Camino. Why don’t you just stick them in a wheelchair and roll them in front of a bus?” she said. “You are not going to divide and conquer us anymore … you are going to make this whole City look like we are walking on car hoods.”
The development will generate $6.3 million in one-time money to Santa Clara, and $500,000 annually.
Many citizens complained that the five-story complex and hotel would make traffic in the area worse.
Amie Ashton, the project manager for David J. Powers & Associates, said the efforts to mitigate noise, pollution, effects on trees and soil and traffic will be “fairly robust” and they will “evaluate alternatives.”
However, comments from the public indicated people were not reassured by City employees claims, saying that the only acceptable option was to not build the complex.
“The planning project has made a mistake by allowing these two projects to be considered as one,” said Howard Myers, a Santa Clara resident.
Myers said since the parcels are not contiguous, City employees should consider the hotel and apartment complex separately.
Jeff Schwilk, associate planner, said the plans are available to the public at any time, adding that the plans “have changed, and with many large projects, they will continue to change.”
Another member of the public, Scott Lane, called the mitigation efforts “weak sauce.” He pointed the finger at the City Council, intimating that campaign contributions from developers helped push the project through.
“We have to go big picture on this,” he said. “It is basically a cancer that needs to be addressed.”
Another woman, who didn’t identify herself, called the environmental impact report a “rubber stamp” process.
“You guys need to wake up,” she said. “It is time to get in the real world … and stop sitting on your high horses.”
Schwilk said the project will have 410 subterranean parking spaces, including 40 employee spaces.
March 6 is the deadline for the public to submit written comments on the environmental impact report. Those comments should be sent to: City of Santa Clara Attn: Jeff Schwilk 1500 Warburton Avenue Santa Clara, Calif. 95050 408-615-2450 email@example.com
If you would like to share your thoughts on this project, please email your letter to firstname.lastname@example.org for publication. Please include your name and phone number with your submission – phone numbers will not be published. Letters to the Editor should be limited to one hundred and fifty words.