Saranap Village Community Meeting:
"Silent Majority" Were Project Supporters
NOVEMBER 12 – Anyone who was at the SCA’s November 6 Community Meeting on the draft environmental impact report for Saranap Village might be surprised to learn that twice as many of those in attendance were supporters of the project as opponents – and nearly two times as many support it as currently envisioned as support it but have reservations about it.
Twenty-six people spoke at the meeting, most stating their opposition to the development or expressing concerns about it. But of the 121 people who filled out comment forms, 52 said they support it in its present form, 28 said they support it but have concerns about it, and 41 said they are opposed to it.
The SCA board included these figures in its letter to the county Department of Conservation and Development stating its position on the EIR draft. The county in turn forwarded the board's letter to Second District Supervisor Candace Andersen, who had a representative at the meeting.
Nearly four-fifths of those who favor the project outright said it would enhance the area, which they described in terms like “run down” and “blighted,” making it the most-cited reason for supporting the proposed development. Conversely, five of the opponents said it would adversely alter the character of the neighborhood, which one called “quaint, rustic.”
Both those who oppose the project and those who support it but with reservations listed the height of the tallest building in the development, seven stories, as a concern –17 in the former group, 16 in the latter, making it the most-mentioned concern in that group.
An increase in traffic resulting from the project was stated as a concern by both of these groups as well. Traffic was the No. 1 concern listed by project opponents (20) and the No. 2 concern listed by supporters who have reservations (nine).
On the other hand, some of those who support the project as-is mentioned the traffic-calming effects of the plan's two roundabouts and a slimmed-down Boulevard Way as a reason for supporting it. Others said that having retail stores in the neighborhood would reduce the amount of driving residents need to do.
Among those who support the project outright, the No. 2 stated reason was having a grocer and other quality retail nearby (19), followed by aesthetics (12). Others noted that it would provide needed housing and additional revenue for the county.
The second-most-cited reason given by opponents for their position was the scale of the project (noted by 18 people), something also mentioned by five in the qualified-support group. Other reasons cited were concerns about the precedent that might be set by allowing a change in the zoning laws to accommodate the development and the potential impact of an influx of new families on local schools.
Five people – three in the support-but-with-concerns group and two opponents – said they were worried about the impact of the project on parking in the neighborhood.