Neighbors Speak Out

Below are comments sent to Branciforte Bulletin from neighbors who have joined our elist.

"Santa Cruz is still a "local" town. We survive off the university and tourism. There is a charm to Santa Cruz that attracts thousands of people from the crowded nightmare "over the hill". High density development has destroyed the attraction of most of the beach towns in Southern California and it will do the same to Santa Cruz unless we are diligent in keeping our town from the ravages of developers who don't live here and only see dollar signs in the small houses and lots that make this "our town". Let's keep Santa Cruz the place people want to visit, not just a crowded suburb of Santa Clara County."


"So my question is, where is the water for all these additional units? As a homeowner I have seen my allotted water reduced while my bill goes up. We are constantly barraged by the city to conserve water due to a historical drought, yet they have no problem adding hundreds of new water users. It's completely asinine. The carrying capacity of our environment has been reached! It's time to focus our resources on our delapitated infrastructure by investing in water storage, streets and sidewalks, police and fire departments, and not add to our overpopulation problems!"


"I am a longtime (40+ years) Santa Cruz resident, UCSC grad and homeowner in the Seabright neighborhood. I have also lived on the Westside. The City and its planning department and commission seem committed to bringing more people to our town, without additional parking or jobs, and without adequate environmental review. There are many underlying questions that have never been answered to my satisfaction, including: Why does Santa Cruz need to grow so much? Why does it have to be so fast? Why are virtually all Eastside developments approved, when neighbors express opposition? What will be done to keep new housing "affordable?" Why focus rezoning and higher-density development on the Eastside only, when much of the housing needs come from the University? I am impressed by your website and your commitment to our community. I think there needs to be a concerted effort to translate some of your readers' comments into action in a planned and concerted way; for example, mass attendance/commentary at public meetings. Is there any effort to make that happen? Thank you."


"I love the Seabright neighborhood and wish to be informed about what's new."


"Having rented the same house in Seabright since 1994, I know what it's like to love a neighborhood but be unable to afford to own a home in it. Yet I would NEVER support the proposed new affordable housing projects our City Officials are encouraging in our neighborhood."


"I'm a homeowner in the Seabright area and I'm very concerned about the entire Corridor city plan and its impact on our whole community as well as the high-density proposals and buildings that are beginning to effect the Seabright neighborhood in particular."


"I'm all for development -- DONE RIGHT. PARKING is sadly lacking for people who already live in this neighborhood. Unpermitted construction runs rampant. The roads, sewage system and electrical systems in this neighborhood are OLD and cannot stand up to rapid increases. Smash and grab crimes and burglaries continue to increase as the population rises. Before approving, make sure there is sufficient parking, traffic flow, sewage as well as civil services (like POLICE) to handle the load. For the $10K I pay every year in property taxes -- I expect good decision making by the City Officials who are responsible for making good decisions that keep citizens healthy and happy."


"San Francisco is already being degraded beyond belief by this arrogant nonsense, and it needs to stop here in Santa Cruz NOW."


"Time to control the rampant destruction of our Branciforte neighborhoods."


"The neighborhoods east of Ocean street are at a tipping point of development that will kill whatever good reasons for living in Santa Cruz. I am here for support and any help I can offer."


"I appreciate your efforts. High density without adequate infrastructure makes life hell for everyone. Have lived in Seabright since 1979, and hate what is happening with traffic, crimes, and less and less connection as neighbors. I feel like I am taking my life in my hands every time I drive on Soquel from Park Ave to Morrissey. The lanes jog so much that no none stays in their own lane. Just imagine with even more traffic from all the additional housing units on this corridor."


"If I wanted to live in a canyon of buildings, I would. I hope we can stop the forces turning our town into the big city."


"Just looking to stay informed. Thanks for putting this information in a place that's easily accessible."


"Grateful to see our neighborhood community joining together to keep our Branciforte/Seabright intact, original, and lovely!"


"Thanks for your efforts to keep us informed. It's very disconcerting that the city is so unresponsive to the citizens."


"I support your efforts, thank you for doing something for the community."


"Great information for our neighborhood and a way to mobilize. Thank you for putting it together!"


"We support the efforts to restrict high density development Seabright. There is not enough water or traffic infrastructure to support these developments. Santa Cruz will lose its charm. Any development should be informed by neighbors, not outsiders. Once the casual, friendly atmosphere is gone, it can never be brought back."


"We live in the banana belt but want to be on your list too as we are very affected by these projects."


"I'm in agreement. I've lived in either Seabright or Branciforte areas most of my life. I've seen the building of ucsc, the Harbor, and every thing that's followed. I feel like I'm seeing the 60s and 70s all over again. Development for its own sake and for the benefit of the few. Don't like it at all. Thanks for starting to get something together."


"The development plans for our neighborhood are ridiculous."


"I live and work in Branciforte and am very concerned by the recent change of zoning in our neighborhoods."


"There are 17,000 students at UCSC, it's high time the university took responsibility for their housing. They have the room, our neighborhoods don't. The City Council and Planning Commission's highrise-corridor concept is insane for a town of our character. If, over the past 30 years of which I'm aware, these two entities had had a clue, Santa Cruz wouldn't be in the mess we're in now. It's time to say no, we don't want your "planning" going on in our neighborhoods."


"Moved to lower Seabright in 2010. Love it. Love this community and support all efforts to keep its character, its personality, its integrity."


"Thank you for creating this site so that all of us who are concerned about the impact of development in our neighborhood can join together and have our voices heard."


"Thank you for this wonderful bulletin. As a previous resident of Branciforte and currently a resident of Seabright, I would like to help protect our neighborhoods."


"What an extraordinarily useful website! You are putting together all the information that we really need to know in order to be informed citizens. Thank you."


"I believe that there is a shortage of affordable housing and think that this needs to be addressed as a community, and also I am very concerned about building beyond what infrastructure can support: traffic, water, parking, noise level."


"I am opposed to the Seabright area continually being used as a dumping ground by a City Council populated by Westsiders."


"Our family have been Seabright residents on Clinton St. since 1998. I recently sent the city council a letter of concern regarding growth in the area, but have not heard back from them."


"I'm with you. We may need to sue the city to stop them."


"how do you turn the tide on the pro development powerhouse?"


"I think the number one priority for this group is to find a good FUND raiser and get the big money people in the community behind the project!"


"I returned to live in Santa Cruz because of the city's current character. Let's not turn Santa Cruz into the Marina Del Rey of the Central Coast!"

Below are comments taken from Nextdoor.com, a public forum where residents have been posting their opinions on the onslaught of development in our neighborhoods and corridors

S.K. - "Locating residential dwelling units immediately adjacent to the most highly traveled arterial streets in the City is unsafe, unhealthy and highly UNdesirable in terms of traffic, noise impacts and air pollution. As an experienced land use planner with over 25 years of public service, I am highly supportive of wise and appropriate infill development, providing additional housing and affordable housing, However in terms of wise, safe and appropriate providing these things, it is HIGHLY INappropriate in terms of land use planning to locate housing immediately adjacent to the most highly trafficked streets in the City. Would you want to live next to Water St or Soquel Ave? Do you believe that it would be healthy, safe or desirable for your children to live next to such busy arterials? We should NOT locate housing immediately adjacent to the busiest arterial streets even and especially in an effort to provide hosing for those with low incomes. The poor should not be subjected to unsafe and unhealthy living conditions. Retail commercial, low impact service commercial or office commercial are appropriate zoning designations and buffers between housing and highly trafficked arterial thoroughfares.


K.W.  - "Santa Cruz is losing it's appeal. Our city leaders seem to approve any development based on raising more revenue. We are already overcrowded and out of water. Disappointing."


J.W. - "These plans seem to totally ignore the traffic impact on the main streets as well as the neighborhood side streets. Come sit on Caledonia and Hanover or Pine or Cayuga at 4 o'clock on a Friday and get a small taste of what's to come. The people who cut through our neighborhood at excessive speeds to save themselves a minute or two could care less about our neighborhood. The safety and well being of the residents alongside their "freeway of convenience" mean nothing to them which also appears to be the same perspective these planners and civic leaders have as well. We need to field some like minded candidates for change, good change, and unelect our current city leaders. When it come growth, planning and crime this town needs to get its head out of the 60's and get a new vision."


D. C. - "These streets are too narrow for high density buildings 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 stories high. The water supply in Santa Cruz is not ample as it is. I completely support this petition. Sunnyvale & Fremont have housing 3 & 4 stories high. Both are much larger towns; Sunnyvale's population is 147,559; Fremont's is 224,922. Both have wide streets. Santa Cruz population is approx 62,869. High density buildings are not appropriate here and would be harmful in many ways."


M.L. - "We are already struggling with heavy traffic and a water shortage. How would high density housing solve this problem? I am against rezoning this area. It will have a definite negative impact on nearby neighborhoods and their quality of life."


D.W. - "It's time for Santa Cruz Government to focus on the support of the quality of life of the town's existing citizens rather than bulldozing their neighborhoods to accommodate future residents."


E.S. - "Adding new housing is not a solution. This is a small town. New housing will take care of the needs of this group and then there will be hundreds more that need housing. When does it stop?"


B.D. - "The area is gridlock every afternoon. As it is employees park deep in the neighborhoods. Get the infrastructure and traffic engineering done first and then you can create more housing."


D.H. - "The congestion in Santa Cruz City and County is prohibitive. The poor infrastructure can't support the current residents. With a lack of or repair of sidewalks, bike lanes, roads and parks the quality of life decreases. Over-population has turned our highways and roads into traffic nightmares. Parking is difficult. Mass traffic is not working. Address these problems!"


J.M. - "Most new commercial projects approved in Santa Cruz are devoid of architectural value and end up looking like money making boxes with no set backs."


C.B. - "The streets of Soquel Ave and Water St are far too narrow for high density buildings. It is important for the City Council of Santa Cruz to be supportive of their current residents. They are our elected official with the responsibility of representing the current citizens which is why they were voted in."


D.E. - "According to the World Health Organization diesel fuel causes lung cancer and other illnesses. Why would the city place large numbers of residents next to the corridor and expose them to tire particulates and fuel? High-density housing often lacks adequate ventilation placing residents at further risk. I understand local representatives are under pressure to consolidate the community into stack-and-pack housing in accordance with the UN 2030 agenda. City Council, please don’t cave to this pressure at the cost to our community aesthetics, adjacent property values, freedom of movement, and long term health under the guise of creating a UN “green” city. Would you live in this type of high-density housing?"