Parking, future development plans and an upcoming climate change panel monopolized Thursday's city council session. Parking will be free in the village and time limits will be extended to three hours between Nov. 22 and Dec. 25. The Capitola-Soquel Chamber of Commerce recommended the move to encourage shopping in the neighborhood during the busy holiday season that can often make or break a year for retailers.
These are the other highlights from the evening:
- The council unanimously approved hiring contracting firm Bowman And Williams for $62,468 to design a parking lot to be installed on the former site of the Pacific Cove mobile home park.
- The council considered a plan to allow more conversions of housing units built before 1970 into condominiums and apartments. The council recommended the changes be made during drafting of the general plan which is expected to be completed by the end of 2013. Sam Storey was a sole voice of dissent, advocating that the changes be made sooner, but no vote was taken on the matter.
- Developer Charles Eadie requested the changes be made outside of the general plan to speed up conversions while interest rates to finance project are low. He said that the changes would allow debate to begin, but would not greenlight any future projects.
- Converting rental apartments into owner-occupied condos in areas such as East Cliff would raise the financial stakes for prospective owners and the city's possible liabilities in the case that erosion of the coastline continues, said resident Nelson Westman.
- The city's general plan currently emphasizes the importance of maintaining rental housing as opposed to owner occupied homes which is now about 50-50, with 15 percent of all housing classified as mid-to-low-income housing.
Quote of the Night:
“This sounds like letting an applicant write an ordinance for us.”
--Mayor Micheal Termini regarding changing the city's housing plans in a way that moves quicker than the general plan process.