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Planning Commission Applauds El Camino Real Residential Project

In a rare occurrence, members of the Planning Commission and community both applauded a residential project slated for 3141-3155 El Camino Real.

The El Camino Real residential project is a 60 condominium unit development made up of 40 townhomes and 20 flats. It will include private streets and landscaped open space.

After a brief debate, commissioners unanimously approved all recommendations related to the El Camino Real residential project with a few additional conditions. One, that plans for an 8-foot minimum public right of way be included for a future bike path and two, that the City evaluate impact to local retail and address cultural relocation of displaced businesses.

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Commissioner Priya Cherukuru initially asked that the project be approved with the condition that they upgrade and preserve the Calabazas bridge adjacent to the site “to avoid traffic and challenges related to U-turns along Calabazas.”

Commissioner Qian Huang posited that the bridge’s removal may have been a suggestion by City Planners or a safety issue.

Commissioner Lance Saleme expressed concern that making the bridge a condition of approval could unnecessarily tie up the project.

Commissioners agreed to the condition that City traffic planners bring more details about the issues with the bridge to City Council before a decision is made.

During public comment, former Santa Clara resident Brent said he was in favor of the development.

“This is a welcome addition to the City,” said Brent. “I think we do need a whole lot more of the for-sale opportunities for the medium and low-income families, but I also think that it’s not maxing out on the density which is important…I think it does a good job of meeting the needs but not maxing out needs.

Resident Linda Zazzara wrote in to express her appreciation of how the developer approached the project.

“Usually, I actively challenge proposals along the ECR because they are too tall, too dense and not respectful to neighborhoods,” wrote Zazzara. “[The developer] has engaged, listened to and has the support of the neighbors. This developer has waited long enough. Let him proceed. It is a sane plan with height and density considerations that respects neighbors. I can only hope that future developers along the ECR and more importantly Planning Commissioners and City Council members also show the same respect for current and future residents.”

Capital Improvement Projects (CIP)

After a brief discussion, the Commission unanimously approved a resolution to make findings on the conformity of the proposed fiscal year 2022/23 and fiscal year 2023/24 Biennial Capital Improvement budget with the 2010-2035 General Plan.

Final Meeting for Yuki Ikezi

The Planning Commission recognized fellow Commissioner Yuki Ikezi for her ten years of service on the Commission. Ikezi took over the job from Teresa O’Neill, who was elected to Santa Clara City Council.

Former Planning Commission members O’Neill, Anthony Becker, Suds Jain and Raj Chahal attended the meeting to offer kind words to Ikezi. City staffers and planning commissioners also added their appreciation.

“I don’t know how we’re going to fare without your passion, Commissioner Ikezi,” said Chair Nancy Biagini. “Your institutional knowledge just from being this voluntary position that’s hard work for the last 11 years is so exemplary, I can’t thank you enough.”

“What you’ve done is just inspirational,” said Commissioner Yashraj Bhatnagar. “You have inspired the kind of passion that one should have. It’s something that we’ll certainly try to live up to.”

“I want to thank you for allowing me to open my mind to ideas other than what I thought was the right thing,” said Commissioner Ricci Herro. “After getting different perspectives from you, I found myself often changing what I thought was my right decision. I want to thank you for that, for offering new perspectives.”

Consent Calendar

Commissioners unanimously approved the following Consent Calendar items:

  • Approved a variance to add a 597 sq. ft. addition to a single-family home at 723 Scott Blvd. and maintain the attached one-car garage;
  • Approved the use permit for on-site sale and consumption of beer and wine at Mendocino Farms Sandwich Market at 2040 Wyatt Drive, Suite 110;
  • Action on a two-year extension of the use permit for a 190-room hotel at 2900 Lakeside Dr.

Planning Commission Other Business

The Commission elected new leadership for the term starting on July 1. Cherukuru was elected Chair. Herro was elected Vice Chair. Bhatnagar was elected Secretary.

Saleme requested an official Zoom account for the Planning Commission so commissioners can meet with Santa Clara residents without a 45-minute time limit.

Funds were unanimously approved.

Commissioners also approved funds for the upcoming APA conference in Anaheim.

The next Planning Commission meeting is August 3 at 6 p.m.

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