On Dec. 9, Santa Clara Planning Commissioners heard a study session on the City’s emerging Freedom Circle Focus Area Plan. The document would address future development for a 108-acre swath in the northern part of the city between Highway 101 and Great America Parkway and near Mission College. The purpose of a “focus area” is to designate a part of the city for future residential development specifically, and for Freedom Circle, that future time would be between 2023 and 2035.
“Freedom Circle is interesting in that it is one of the most intensely developed areas from an office-industrial standpoint in Santa Clara,” said John Davidson, Planning staff member.
A 13.3-acre Greystar site is located within the focus area, and a Greystar General Plan Amendment already accounts for an allotment of housing units outlined for the area. If approved, the Freedom Circle Focus Area plan would add another 2,500 housing units for a total of 3,600 units. Additionally, 2 million square feet of office would be built within 10- to 15-story office buildings. The Focus Area plan would also result in a new General Plan designation for the area that would allow for the mix of residential and high-intensity office uses. The overarching goal of the plan is to bring new residential the area while keeping the commercial uses viable.
Another component of the planning process is securing a General Plan land use designation change for the Greystar site from high-intensity office to very high-density residential. This change would yield 1,100 housing units in three seven-story buildings, a two-acre park, and 2,000 square feet of retail within the 13.3-acre site.
City staff will spend the winter months continuing to work on the plans. It’s estimated that the Environmental Impact Report will be ready for public review by May 2021 and City Council hearing to following in Fall 2021.
Nail Salon Expansion
Commissioners approved a retail use permit for a nail salon seeking to operate at 3194 De La Cruz Boulevard in Unit 10 of the building. The salon is currently located at 2511 Scott Boulevard, and though the pandemic has impacted business, the owners are planning for future expansion.
The De La Cruz Boulevard building is zoned for Light Industrial uses, although its other tenants consist of a restaurant, insurance office, and real estate office. Any retail uses require a use permit to operate in the building. With the use permit approved, the nail salon will occupy a 2,838 square foot tenant space equipped with cosmetology areas staffed by six to 10 employees. No massage will be offered. As the salon will only require interior modifications, the project is exempt from CEQA analysis. Multiple commissioners expressed a positive sentiment about the business wanting to continue operating in Santa Clara.
The next Planning Commission meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021.