FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
The following summarizes some of the common questions we have heard surrounding the proposed Scotts Valley Town Green project. These answers are offered to help address common concerns and improve community understanding about the project and its components. As questions arise we will continue to add to this FAQ.
Volume 2, December 14, 2018
Two conceptual plan approaches were shared with the community during our November Open House event. These are available to view, along with comments received at that workshop on our website. Based on the input received we will be refining the plans and presenting a preferred alternative at our next community event in February.
A traffic study by a traffic consultant will be undertaken as part of the entitlement approval process. It will be in addition to traffic studies being conducted by the city as part of the General Plan process. The Town Green study will supplement the City’s study and any new traffic lights, roads, parking, etc. as required for the Town Green will be made. However, it is important to note that the current plan has reduced the amount of retail approved under the 2008 plan, and retail generates three times as many peak trips as residential.
We have had several conversations with the water district and have reviewed the City’s Urban Water Management Plan, which is a state required document. Based on this document, the city has adequate water to support this project, based on its originally approved EIR. Beyond that, the development will use the latest technologies to reduce water consumption such as low flow toilets, faucets, and showers, and drought tolerant landscape which will use recycled water where practical.
Approximately 20% of the housing units will be permanently affordable, rental housing. Pricing is determined by state and local standards, not the developer – but is generally affordable to families making 30-60% of Scotts Valley Area Median Income (AMI).
The project team went through a developer selection process with the City Council in 2017 and early 2018 before being selected as the developer for this project.
The team is now gathering community input, consistent with the commitment to create a transparent and open process. Community Open House events were held September 8th and November 10th. We encourage people to visit and participate on our website. To date over 300 people have attended our events, and we have received over 1,500 visits to our website. The team will continue to meet with various individuals and community groups, and will host a third event in February.
During winter and spring of 2019, the development team will continue its design and negotiation process with the community and City leaders, with a goal to reach full Council approval of the plan in 2019.
We will construct the project in multiple phases and estimate the entire construction period to be two to three years. The Town Green will be included in the first phase of the project.
Doug Ross, Chris Foley, and Owen Lawlor are the majority owners of Scotts Valley Town Green Land LLC, which is the single purpose development entity formed to purchase the land and develop this project. Palisade Builders will be the general contractor. Eden Housing will be the affordable housing developer. We believe this team is the best to capture and reflect all that Scotts Valley residents hope for from this new addition to their community.
Volume 1, October 5, 2018
The Scotts Valley Town Green is the focal point of the long planned and approved Town Center Development. The overall project is to be a walkable mixed-use development that includes 25,000 – 30,000 square feet of retail, civic uses including the Town Green, new parking, market rate and affordable housing units.
Housing is a critical component of any successful mixed-use development in today’s changing marketplace. The retail is an amenity that provides very little economic value to cover the cost to build the necessary infrastructure, parking and buildings. Rents typically cover the cost to operate.
This change demonstrates how retail is reacting rapidly due to online shopping habits. New retail centers have a hard time attracting major tenants and achieving rents that will pay for the space. This is evident as existing older retail centers that line Mt. Hermon Road are being challenged to provide the kinds of experience shoppers want today in the current retail climate. Only by combining retail with other economically supportive uses can we create the kind of places – and attract the kind of stores – that people are looking for. Housing is also critical to create the kind of vitality that keeps these places interesting and supports the retail on a day-to-day basis. With proximity to transit, the Town Center can actually reduce new traffic generation and greenhouse gases generated by cars that might need to drive to just a stand alone retail center.
Our goal is to create a living room for Scotts Valley residents in which to gather. Current residents of Scotts Valley know it offers a great quality of life. But where do you go to meet friends, to hear music in the park, to eat fine food or a casual meal al fresco? You usually have to leave town because Scotts Valley lacks what all great communities have – a clear, central place to gather. A living room.
The Town Green should be designed and sized to build on the legacy of great downtown ‘plazas’ or ‘squares’ that are throughout California’s most beloved towns. A properly designed and managed Town Green can offer the community a place to gather for evening music, movies in the park, community events, or just to meet friends. It will be a place that residents can be proud of and call their own.
The goal is to weave together existing, important civic functions around the proposed Town Green into a cohesive identifiable place. Scotts Valley has many great facilities. Skypark is a great open space for kids to play. The Library was creatively forged from a prior purpose and now acts as a great place for learning. The transit center connects Scotts Valley to the region. The Community Center bustles with activity all times of day. But each of these uses stands alone, with independent parking lots and dead spaces in between.
The Town Green would create a central organizing element, surrounded by new streets and pedestrian friendly sidewalks to connect all of these important civic functions into a single identifiable place – Scotts Valley’s downtown. It would allow the community to drive ‘downtown’, park once, and then enjoy many different experiences such as visiting the library, walking to the Farmer’s Market, having lunch at a sidewalk café, or playing ball with your kids in the park.
Based on feedback from the community, we hear people want more – and better – retail. The great places to go to relax and have a nice meal, shop for unique items, or even get higher quality groceries have been a big part of the conversation. Abbot Square in Santa Cruz has also been discussed a lot as the type of place that would be really nice to have in Scotts Valley. That, and almost EVERYONE wants a Trader Joes!
But Scotts Valley does not have sufficient population to meet Trader Joe’s minimum population requirements for locating a store here. Nevertheless, there may be other options to fill the desire for a higher quality, organic grocer. Over the next few months the team will be talking with retailers that match community desire and see if there can be a better fit.