San Carlos residents help plan futureBy Mark Abramson
Scores of San Carlos residents were involved Wednesday night in determining the city's future image.
Residents packed the Hiller Aviation Museum for a special workshop on land uses in 11 key parts of town, including downtown, near the Caltrain Station on El Camino Real and along Skyway Drive.
Council members and the planning commission are expected to consider the public's comments when they update the general plan. The update is scheduled to be completed by late 2009.
"The general plan is important because it is a reflection of you, it is a reflection of the people who live and work in San Carlos," Community Development Director Al Savay told the audience.
After Savay and a few consultants spoke, the residents broke into groups to come up with land use ideas for each area. They cut and pasted their ideas onto large maps of the city.
"I'm happy that they are having the workshop," resident Heidi Skrenta said. "I think it is important. The general plan is really a blueprint for the city."
Skrenta said she hopes the importance of economic development is recognized during the process.
"I think economic development is important because of the many years of budget shortfalls (in San Carlos)," she said.
She also wants to see more housing and mixed-use development. The creation of a new land-use designation - general commercial/industrial - would allow for more property uses, she said. "This makes it easier for us to go with the trends (in development)," Skrenta said.
Resident Manny Gabet said he wished the city looked at transportation issues because San Carlos streets are becoming more congested.
Other ideas for the city's future land-use included allowing research and development on the city's north side around Industrial Road; mixed-use in an area around Chestnut Street and San Carlos Avenue; and replacing the houses on Holly Street, from Industrial Road to Old County Road with four-story mixed-use development.
The public was encouraged to deviate from the General Plan Advisory Committee's three proposed land-use alternatives.
One of land-use alternative proposes leaving the general plan as is with minor tweaks.
The second option would encourage mixed-use on the east and west sides with moderate job growth on the east side. It would allow more than 1.1 million square feet of additional office space and housing for more than 3,500 residents. It also areas to create parks and open space.
A third option would allow housing for 4,501 residents, housing growth on the west side, job growth on the east side, and implement an economic development plan. That option has a land-use designation called general commercial/industrial, and would let market forces dictate what would be built along Highway 101.
Copyright ©2008 San Mateo Daily News. Published 07/31/2008.