At the Oct. 24 Santa Clara City Council meeting, council members agreed to allow for the rezoning of two parcels in the City’s historic downtown. It also heard a report from Police Chief Pat Nikolai about security at Levi’s Stadium following the July 2 stabbing of a soccer match attendee. The Council voted to delay discussing the Charter Review Committee’s decision on the positions of elected police chief and city clerk. Council members agreed to help a resident refine some of the public petitions he brought before the council.
The Santa Clara City Council approved rezoning two parcels, one of which is listed on the City’s historic registry, to a planned development. The single-family homes in question, 1365 Main St. and 1075 Lewis St., require a rezone to meet the unique development standards of the homes, Andrew Crabtree, director of community development, said.
The Main Street home has been on the City’s historic registry since 1980. The change conforms to general-plan density guidelines, Crabtree said.
Crabtree told the Council rezoning is the best path forward to divide the parcel into two lots and add two detached garages with two smaller apartments above them. The proposal replaces the existing additions with something “more in keeping with the historic character of the house,” Crabtree said.
Both the Historic Landmarks Commission and the Planning Commission supported the proposal unanimously.
Terry Wong, with developer Robson Homes, told the Council that the goal is to rehab the unoccupied and unlivable historic home while allowing the existing renter to continue living in the second, non-historic, home.
“I like the fact that we are actually restoring these houses to usability,” said Vice Mayor Kevin Park. “I will be honest, I don’t like PD [planned development] as a tool. I would rather we update the zoning and conform to a zoning that allows the development. That said, I don’t see why we should wait for this particular project.”
The Council supported the rezone in a 6-0 vote, with Mayor Lisa Gillmor recusing herself because of a conflict of interest.
Assault at Soccer Game Prompts Third-Party Security Assessment
The Council also heard an update regarding security at Levi’s Stadium. In an item deferred from September, Police Chief Pat Nikolai gave the Stadium Authority Board a high-level report detailing safety protocol.
The July 2 double-header soccer match brought with it nine arrests — including one for battery — 123 citations and 23 ejections. Despite the chaos caused by the game, Nikolai told the Council the City’s police department is doing all it can to mitigate issues arising from highly trafficked events like the match, which saw 57,000 attendees.
He pointed to the top-notch medical response and Levi’s Stadium’s ranking as one of the safest NFL stadiums.
“Levi’s Stadium is a safe place to be,” he said. “Fan violence is not specific to our stadium.
It is a problem, and we are looking [at] how to address it. Stadiums are looking [at] how to address it. Unfortunately, it is going to continue to happen. The way the situation is, there is no way we can prevent it, but I want to assure the Council that the stadium is a safe place to be.”
The report is an update prior to a third-party assessment of security at the stadium in light of the assault, one that Nikolai said he welcomes.
However, Mayor Lisa Gillmor said the issues go deeper than security within Levi’s Stadium, saying that outside parking in the neighborhoods, garbage and noise are also primary concerns. Addressing parking in the neighborhoods, Nikolai said it would require the City to restrict parking by permit, something that needs resident support.
Gillmor repeatedly chastised representatives for Forty-Niners Management Company (ManCo), who manage the stadium, for their absence at the meeting.
City Manager Jovan Grogan said ManCo opted to skip the meeting due to pending litigation against it as a result of the assault. The Board noted and filed the report but included that City employees return with information aimed at addressing the aforementioned issues.
Park asked the Council to move discussion of the City’s upcoming ballot initiative to elect the police chief and city clerk. Since he will be traveling during the Nov. 14 meeting when the item was scheduled to be discussed, he requested the Council push discussing the item to a later date.
Gillmor would not support the motion since council members can attend meetings remotely.
The motion passed 5-2, with Gillmor and Council Member Kathy Watanabe voting “no.” The Council will consider whether to reschedule that discussion at its Nov. 7 meeting.
The Council opted for inaction on four public petitions submitted by a member of the public but still seemed to support, at least in part, the spirit of three of them. Joseph Goschy called for the City to review water drainage for construction, noise-emitting equipment installed by residents and two calls for review of code enforcement appeals.
Jovan Grogan told the Council that the drainage issue is already handled by existing City policy. Although Council Member Suds Jain initially supported hearing the noise-emitting equipment item, Grogan said the item was too broad and what was being asked for was too vague for City employees to delve into substantively. Jain opted to handle the matter with Goschy to better sharpen the request.
Council Member Anthony Becker, who represents Goschy’s district, said he has heard several complaints about the code-enforcement appeal issue. While Becker took no action on the items, he too vowed to coordinate with Goschy on the matter.
The next regularly scheduled meeting is Tuesday, Nov. 7 in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 1500 Warburton Ave. in Santa Clara.
Members of the public can participate in the City Council meetings on Zoom at https://santaclaraca.zoom.us/j/99706759306; Meeting ID: 997-0675-9306 or call 1(669) 900-6833, via the City’s eComment (available during the meeting) or by email to PublicComment@santaclaraca.gov.