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Housing Development in District 6 “Concerns” its Representative, Council Approves Anyway

The Council approved a housing development on Pruneridge Avenue, allowed Bay FC to use Santa Clara for its practice field and received a HUD grant update.

The Santa Clara City Council approved the rezoning of the former St. Mark’s Church site to make way for single-family townhomes. It also agreed to allow Bay FC to use the Santa Clara Youth Soccer Park as a practice facility. The Council heard an update about the HUD grants and agreed to renew and expand a pilot program regarding street vendors outside of Levi’s Stadium.

Another rezone of a parcel will make way for more housing in Santa Clara — this time low-density.

The development, located at 1957 Pruneridge Ave., features 22 single-family townhomes. The 2.47-acre site is located along north Pruneridge west of Winchester Boulevard. To make way for the two-story homes, the Council needed to change the zoning to planned development.

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At 8.9 units per acre, the site is just below the general plan’s threshold of 10 units per acre. Three of the for-sale townhomes will be available for below market rate.

Residences border the property to the north with a smattering of commercial buildings, including a Walgreens and a few other residences to the south.

Mayor Lisa Gillmor called the development “a really great project,” saying it adds a much-needed “diversity of uses” to the area.

“There is a reason you don’t see massive disapproval here in the chambers tonight,” Gillmor said. “This is the best product that can be put in that location.”

The site is occupied by St. Marks Church, its parish and attached school, all of which would be razed to make way for the housing development.

Vice Mayor Anthony Becker was the only council member who opposed the motion to approve, saying he had “concerns.” Becker represents District 6, where the project is located. Issues of traffic, as well as a lack of clarity as to whether all the human remains located on the church’s property had been removed, were chief among his “concerns.”

Women’s Soccer Team to Practice in Santa Clara

The Council also unanimously approved a contract with San Francisco-based women’s soccer Bay FC to use Santa Clara’s Youth Soccer Park for practices.

Two-time women’s FIFA World Cup Champion Brandi Chastain, who sits on the team’s board, said she has Santa Clara in her blood. The Olympic gold medalist addressed the Council, assuring its members that the team would put youth development at the forefront of its presence on the field.

“Being at the Santa Clara Youth Soccer Park will give us a chance to be those heroines and those examples to the girls and the women in this community who need people to look to for modeling, that they can make good relationships with,” Chastain said.

The entire Council supported the motion to approve the 80-day pilot program with Bay FC, which will net the City between $178,640 and $224,736 between March and November this year.

Gillmor said she would only relinquish the park to this group, knowing that the team’s presence will foster self-esteem and resilience.

Becker called the agreement with Bay FC “authentically Santa Clara.”

HUD Grants Expected to Double

The Council is set to adopt the final year of its five-year annual action plan for federal housing grants. Adam Marcus, housing director, detailed how his department intends on spending the money it receives from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The money comes in the form of two grants: The Home Grant and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). Last year, Marcus said, the City received roughly $1.4 million in grant money. It anticipates receiving $2.8 million and aims to ramp up its spending of the money after a downturn in interest in the programs the grants fund in the wake of the pandemic.

The grants are designed —mainly — to fund home improvements and provide rental assistance to the poor. However, some capital improvement projects are also under the grant’s umbrella. One such project is slated for the upcoming year, Marcus said: a $600,000 Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant curb ramp.

Marcus said his department will come before the Council next year with a new five-year plan, which is a good opportunity, he said, for it to “tinker with our goals.”

The item will be heard again in May.

Enforcement Of Illegal Food Carts at Levi’s Working

Another pilot program the Council green lit last year also got renewed. After repeated complaints from food-cart vendor Howard Gibbins, the Council saw fit to undertake a program aimed at curbing illegal food vendors near Levi’s Stadium.

Capt. Richard Fitting told the Council that the program of escalating enforcement was rather successful. While illegal vendors’ presence increased throughout the football season, once police began issuing tickets, many others got the message and dispersed, Fitting said.

Enforcement of illegal street vending has been challenging since a state law passed in 2018 hinders how cities can deal with vendors. The Council unanimously approved extending the program for another year as well as expanding its footprint to include Old Glory Lane west of Great America Parkway.

Santa Clara City Council Consent Calendar Spending

  • Three purchase orders totaling $508,725 for dump-truck hauling services: Sixy-3 Trucking for $78,660, Dominguez & Sons Trucking, Inc. for $320,625 and Chris Wortman Excavation for $109,440.
  • A three-year, $1.5 million agreement with Cintas for the rental and purchase of uniforms and “facilities” items and services.
  • A four-year, $613,934 agreement with Alternative Energy Systems Consulting, Inc. for a third-party commercial strategic energy management program.
  • A $323.834 contract with PumpMan Norca for well rehabilitation.
  • A five-year, $5 million contract with National Plant Services, Inc., Pipe and Plant Solutions Inc., and Able Construction Group to provide as needed sanitary sewer cleaning and CCTV inspection.
  • A $9.19 million contract with O’Grady Paving, Inc. for intersection improvements at Great America Parkway and Mission College Boulevard.
  • A $2.51 million contract with Phoenix Electric Company for fiber optics and electric utility substructure construction projects.
  • A $2.5 million purchase order with 3M for 715 aluminum conductors.
  • A $70,857 amendment to a contract with N. Harris Computer Corporation for the Northstar Customer Information System Utility Billing System.

The next regularly scheduled meeting is Tuesday, April 9 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.

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