Portola is not an Urban Center!
Hi everyone! PLEZ send emails NOW! The 2022 Sustainability Plan includes the Co’s proposal to re-zone most of Portola to urban residential high density zoning (9 undeveloped parcels immediately impacted). Planning Commissioners next meet re: this Plan on July 13.
SPPt supports growth and housing yet feels this zoning classification is infastructure overload. Concerns include no date and no funding for Portola improvements yet more cars use it all the time; the Plan reduces on-site parking requirements, there’s no increase in public transportation services and more!
SAY NO TO PROPOSED RF – R-UHF ZONING – URBAN RESIDENTIAL, FLEXIBLE HIGH DENSITY: 22- 45 units per 1 acre
1. 45 units per 1 acre is 207 units on 4.61 acres
2.. Developer Density Bonus allowances can JUMP 45 units to 81 units per 1 acre = 373 units on 4.61 acres
URGE a CHANGE TO URBAN HIGH DENSITY RESIDENTIAL ZONING – R-UH: 11 – 30 UNITS PER 1 ACRE (28 IS PREFERRED MAXIMUM):
1. 28 units per 1 acre = 129 units on 4.61 acres; 30 units per 1 acre = 138 units on 4.61 acres
2. Developer Density Bonuses allowances can JUMP 28 units to 50 units per 1 acre and to 232 units on 4.61 acres; 30 units jump to 54 units per 1 acre and to 249 units on 4.61 acres
3.. NO to heights over 35 feet, four (4) stories and/or higher
NOTE: Flashing beacons at 3 crosswalks are due to loud advocacy to PWks by SPPt. The 3 2017-18 Community mtgs were also initiated per SPPt’s efforts > these meetings produced the Portola Commercial Design Guidelines which are Appendix B in the Sustainability Plan.
If we stay united we can Save Pleasure Pt’s vibrancy plus make “us” better! Act now – please email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; AND to Planning Commisioners Lazenby, Gordon, Shaffer-Frietas, Dann and Shepherd via email@example.com; Michael is liaison their person
For more see my May 16 2022 post and JoAnne Allen’s post of SPPt’s survey results: our 8 questions got 97 responses in a 1 week!! SAVE PLEASURE POINT Steering Committee (SPPt; alpha order) JoAnn Allen, Kimber Blackburn, Patti Brady, Carin Hanna, Glenn Hanna, Lowell Marcus, George McCullough, Matt McMillan, Padi Romero, Debbie Shulman, Jerry Still, Marika Strauss, Kevin Walter firstname.lastname@example.org
Pleasure Point residents and business owners agree with and respect growth and change; we
endorse expanding housing availability and affordability.
The County’s Sustainable Plan package represents substantial work efforts; we appreciate these
efforts including the inclusion of Appendix B: Design Principles for the Pleasure Point Commercial
Our position paper (attached) outlines and highlights specific concerns and observations that Save
Pleasure Point feels will adversely impact Pleasure Point including Portola Drive. We have also
attached summary results of our 8-question survey taken by neighbors who will be impacted by
With all due respect, the promotion of high-density development comes with little hands-on
knowledge of Pleasure Point’s limitations and/or why Pleasure Point’s unique characteristics and
popularity make it a local and visitor destination to be protected: Pleasure Point is a living treasure.
As we learn more, including reviewing the EIR, we may add or amend our comments. If you have
any questions or comments, please contact us email@example.com.
2022 SUSTAINABLE PLAN AND PROPOSED CODE
SPECIFIC TO PLEASURE POINT
This 2022 Sustainable Plan and proposed code changes when in place would adversely affect
Portola Drive and our Pleasure Point area for decades. We call for new County code(s) to be
realistic, flexible, and balanced. We urge the County to “re-think” Portola Drive.
BUILT ENVIRONMENT – COMMUNITY DESIGN
PLEASURE POINT (PPt) HAS A UNIQUE COMMUNITY CHARACTER
A. Pleasure Point is not a cookie cutter community nor a surf ghetto.
B. People buy, rent, live, and/or visit PPt because we are a village with an energetic vibe,
informal style, and character.
C. Pleasure Point thrives being inclusive:
a. Young, old, disabled, LGBTQ, many religions, backgrounds, and colors live here.
Differences are respected.
b. This is a great place to grow a family, neighbors check in on seniors, and even dogs
have a community!
c. Locals and visitors enjoy the shopping and dining areas of our boutique style
business area and appreciate ocean access to enjoy outdoor activities like biking,
walking, jogging, surfing, skating, and sunbathing. Every day you see many disabled
individuals enjoying the relaxed and safe atmosphere on our East Cliff pathway.
D. Local housing varies from architectural designed luxury to never fixed up 50-year-old
bungalows to apartment buildings to 10+ mobile home parks.
E. Sadly, the County has not attracted a large supply of employers offering middle to high pay
jobs and benefits; many neighbors have low incomes.
a. 2020 per capita annual income was $41,594; average monthly rent here was
APPENDIX B: DESIGN PRINCIPLES FOR THE PLEASURE POINT COMMERCIAL CORRIDOR
A. Save Pleasure Point (SPPt) endorses the public realm design principles and statement set
for East of 36th to 41st Avenues.
a. “Where conflicts exist between design principles for the corridor and applicable
sections of the County Design Principles for the Pleasure Point Commercial Corridor
will take precedence”.
B. We also endorse these Design Principles being the template for all new mixed-use and
commercial projects on Portola from 26 th to 41 st Avenue.
C. We reject:
a. Weakening these design and development standards along any portion of Portola
(Western, Middle and /or Eastern) as outlined in the 2022 Built Environment Element
– County Design Principles Implementation Strategies: BE 1.3 a, b, and c (pg. 2 -20).
b. Heights over 35 feet, four (4) stories or higher; in-adequate on-site parking; delivery
trucks to Portola businesses using our narrow, heavily pedestrian crowded Avenues;
3-car tandem parking; and private developers being allowed to take-away on-street
public parking (taxpayer paid) for client use.
PORTOLA DRIVE IS PLEASURE POINT’S MAIN STREET
A. “The Pleasure Point Commercial Corridor includes Portola Drive between 26 th Avenue and
41 st Avenue, and the commercial properties along this corridor”.
B. Chapter 3 of the County Draft General Plan designates Portola Drive a “Main Street” with:
a. Walkable and pedestrian oriented access to goods and services.
b. Pedestrian-oriented “destination” streets where pedestrians and bicyclists are
prioritized and vehicles are provided for, but not prioritized.
C. Pleasure Point’s residential boundaries begin at the coastline at 23 rd Avenue north along
Corcoran Lagoon ending at Portola Drive; Portola Drive over to 41 st Avenue; 41 st Ave down to
East Cliff Drive encompassing all neighborhoods between the ocean and Portola Drive.
Pleasure Point’s boundaries also cross Portola at 30th extending up to the train tracks
following the tracks over to 41 st Avenue and back down to Portola.
a. Ten (10) residential Avenues connect into Portola.
b. Our commercial area is lower 41st Avenue down to East Cliff Dr. and lower 41 st along
Portola Drive down to 26 th Avenue.
D. As outlined in the Sustainable Plan’s Public draft (page 41, 42) we endorse County Codes
13.10.324 and 13.10.3345:
a. Residential Districts B: “Within the Pleasure Point Commercial Corridor Area
(Portola Drive between 26th Ave and 41st Ave, and 41st Ave between Portola Drive
and the Capitola city limit), any parcels rezoned from a commercial to a residential
zone district shall continue to be subject to the special standards applicable to
properties in the Commercial Corridor provided in SCCC 13.10.334(D) and follow the
guidance provided in Appendix B of the Santa Cruz County Design Principles:
Design Principles for the Pleasure Point Commercial Corridor.”
b. Zoning Regulations D – Pleasure Point commercial corridor: “On commercially zoned
parcels located along the mapped Pleasure Point commercial corridor – Portola Drive
between 26th Ave and 41st Ave, and 41st Ave between Portola Drive and the
Capitola city limit – development shall follow the guidance provided in the Design
CODE MODERNIZATION – MAP AMENDMENTS
Current County code for residential density is 17.4 units per 1 acre (1 acre: 43,560 square ft.).
Proposed 2022 maps reflect rezoning nine (9) “under-utilized” parcels/4.61 acres on Portola along
30th – 36th Avenues to RF – R-UHF: Urban Residential, Flexible High-Density zoning to permit 22 –
45 units per one (1) acre. If allowed R-UFH will be the highest density residential housing allowance
in 2022 County code.
ENHANCE the livability of Pleasure Point NOT diminish it!
A. Urban Residential, Flexible High Density is over-development – incompatible for Portola by
maximizing stresses to an already tired infrastructure including adding significant car traffic
and congestion on Portola and into the Avenues.
B. Pleasure Point should not be the depository to remedy the ills of lengthy processes before
developers can break ground (15-unit project took 4 years – Jamileh Cannon Lookout
C. It should not be ignored that 260+ vacation rentals in our neighborhood reduce some
opportunities for rental housing.
D. Downplayed in workshops is that the Developer Density Bonus allowances can increase a
project’s size by 50-80% more units.
a. 4/20 Community Workshop: “we expect projects to be at lower end of this zoning”;
“expect” is a projection not an actual.
b. Using density bonus allowances, the Pleasure Point Plaza project grew from 22 units
to 33 (with only 4 very low-income units).
NO TO FOLLOWING PROPOSED RF – R-UHF ZONING – URBAN RESIDENTIAL, FLEXIBLE
HIGH DENSITY: 22-45 UNITS PER ACRE.
A. Nine (9) parcels/4.61 acres without density bonuses:
a. 45 units per one (1) acre
i. 207 units on 4.61 acres
B. Developer Density Bonus allowances increase:
a. 45 units to 81 units per one (1) acre
i. 373 units on 4.61 acres
REALISTIC ZONING FOR THESE NINE (9) PARCELS IS URBAN HIGH DENSITY RESIDENTIAL
– R-UH: 11 – 30 UNITS PER ONE ACRE (28 PER ONE ACRE IS THE PREFERRED MAXIMUM):
A. Nine (9) parcels/4.61 acres without density bonuses:
a. 28 units per one (1) acre
i. 129 units on 4.61 acres
b. 30 units per one (1) acre
i. 138 units on 4.61 acres
B. Developer Density Bonus allowances increase:
a. 28 units to 50 units per one (1) acre
i. 232 units on 4.61 acres
b. 30 units to 54 units per one (1) acre
i. 249 units on 4.61 acres
C. No to heights over 35 feet, four (4) stories and/or higher
PORTOLA BUILDS & ZONING CHANGES – INFASTRUCTURE IMPACTS
4/24/2022 Sentinel: “Recent rains provide good news on fire-risk, but reservoir reserves don’t see
4/12/2022 Lookout Santa Cruz “California went through an extreme drought from 2012 to 2016 and
is now in the third year of a drought that ranks among the worst on record.”
4/9/2022 Sentinel: “CZU fire continues to impact water reliability 1.5 years after the fire.”
4/7/2022 Sentinel Morning Report: “We’re basically a season and a half short [of rainfall] — we’re
running that deficit,” Null said. Santa Cruz County is unique in that all of its drinking water supplies are
locally sourced: no water is pumped in, the region relies solely on rainfall and stream flows. Our
problem is we don’t have a big enough storage reservoir to get us through multiple years of drought.
Menard estimated the water department will draw down Loch Lomond to around 70% capacity this
year, a level she said could sustain customers through another dry year. But if we get to three, four,
five dry years in a row the system is just simply not designed to accommodate that, said Menard.”
A. No one knows how long this mega drought will continue. We are 13 inches below seasonal
B. Water is an essential to our health and growing devastation from local wildfires.
C. We are already on restricted water use with no new reservoirs nor a desal plant in the works.
D. Water availability is a growth issue: will density increases under this Plan break our local
supply? Without further consumer cutbacks will we have the water supply to allow such
B 10 (Wiener) – Housing Density: Authorizes, until 2029, a city or county to pass an ordinance to
zone any parcel for up to 10 units of residential density, if the parcel is located in a transit-rich area,
which include areas near rail transit or bus routes with peak headways of 15 minutes or faster, or an
urban infill site.
A. A sad reality to SB10 is that County residents including those along Portola do not enjoy
benefits of a dynamic well-connected transit-rich transportation area.
a. There is no seamless end to end urban style transportation 24/365 system with
county-wide connection hubs and year-round low fares.
b. The bus schedule for pick-up and drop-off is basically every thirty (30) minutes.
i. Schedules do not begin as early as many commuters need; night schedules
end before many in the hospitality sector get off work.
ii. Large buses cannot travel on narrow streets preventing added stops and
c. Electric bicycles are rarely used by physically disabled, sight or hearing-impaired
people; and electric bicycles are uncomfortable rides during bad weather.
B. Post-covid work schedules have many people again streaming onto Portola enroute to
Highway 1 commuting to jobs in San Jose, Palo Alto, Livermore, Pleasanton, etc.
C. Absent dynamic near-term plans for an upgraded transportation system, fares making
commuting cheaper than by car, and a successful consumer campaign getting people out of
cars, most Pleasure Point residents will remain “car dependent”.
PORTOLA TRAFFIC AND SAFETY
A. Additional housing units and related car ownership will exponentially add car traffic, thus
raising Portola’s car traffic and pedestrian safety concerns.
B. Portola Dr is active 16 hours a day.
a. It is one of the most traveled roads in our County, over 15,000 cars travel Portola
i. Under R-UHF, 207 units (without density bonuses) making two (2) car trips in
and out of the nine (9) parcels offer 414 MORE cars on Portola each day.
b. Emergency exits (ex: fire, earthquake, or tsunami): Portola is not designed for
masses of cars and/or people evacuating in a short time period; tragedies could
C. Higgins’ 2018 Traffic Study for Pleasure Point Plaza (33 units/7,800 sq. ft. commercial;
across from SUDA) reported:
a. Portola’s/41st intersection reached up to 55 crossings per hour; installing a signal
light was suggested.
b. Portola is highly pedestrian oriented at 20+ crossings per crosswalk a day.
c. Estimated trip generation in and out of Pleasure Point Plaza onto Portola daily.
was a net of 498 daily trips.
D. “Why don't people stop at stop signs around here anymore? It's getting worse all the time.” 4/7/22
a. Portola’s basic traffic safety elements should require beacon flashing lights at all
crosswalks (3 sets now) and/or flashing red solar beacon rings on stop signs.
E. Per heavy bike and foot traffic in the Avenues, truck deliveries for Portola businesses should
not be allowed nor permitted to use these narrow streets.
PARKING MANAGEMENT: ON-SITE PARKING – TANDEM PARKING
A. “Parking problems might seem petty, but their relative smallness may be precisely why they
are so maddening!” WSJ 3/24/2022.
B. New code allowing only a 10% increase over standard on-site parking spaces is grossly
inadequate; it is totally unrealistic to car ownership numbers and need for car transportation.
Dear Neighbors – Save Pleasure Point (SPPt) thanks YOU for your time answering our 8 Survey questions. KUDOS to SPPt Steering Committee member JO ANN ALLEN for her expertise setting up and managing this survey process: she’s done fantastic work!
County’s 2022 Sustainable Plan: Wednesday’s 4/20 Community Meeting #4 is important to attend as it will include Planning’s proposed re-zoning of 9 parcels on Portola Dr. (30th – 36th). The County’s site: click on upcoming events to get their codes to enter this 4/20 meeting:
Amplification/Clarification Re: Survey Questions 4 & 5 re: proposed units per acre are clarified below; this clarification does not change survey feedback results:
> > Proposed is rezoning 9 parcels/4.61 acres on Portola from 30th – 36th Ave
> > Re-zoning is to allow up to 45 units per 1 acre
> > Which could be 207 units on 4.61 acres (45 x 4.61)
> > Developer Density Bonus allowances can increase a project’s size by 50-80% more units
> > Density bonus allowances for a 100% affordable housing project can grow a 45-unit project to 81-units per acre: up to 373 units on 4.61 acres (81x 4.61)
> > > > Example: Under bonus allowances the Pleasure Point Plaza project grew from 22 units to 33 (4 very low-income units)
Since these community workshops began, Save Pleasure Point has been putting together a “position” paper regarding issues and concerns that reflect how County proposals will impact PPt. Our survey’s results will be sent with this document to County Leads over this Plan and to Supervisor Koening. We will post “everything” on Nextdoor approximately 2.5 weeks later as by then the “send-ees” will have had time to review our comments.
Per day 26th – 36th’s Portola crosswalks each get 20+ crossings. As such, Save Pleasure Point (SSPt) has consistently advocated for more safety upgrades. After some pushing, Public Works agreed with us to install 4 sets of flashing beacons at 26th, 30th, 32nd and 36th. 2 sets were installed at 36th and 32nd’s crosswalk almost 2 years ago; The sets for 26th and 30th long delayed due to supply chain issues will be installed by late next week. HOORAY!!!!