9/20/2011 Council Preview

Looks pretty light tonight. Sorry for the delay in getting this out. Election time is rather insane – even when you’re not the one up for re-election.

We start the evening with a closed session involving anticipated litigation. And I have no idea what it’s about (not that I could tell you if I did). But it’s only a half hour, so I’m not sure what to make of that. We’ll see. We then go on to the meeting, which starts with the swearing in of our two newest commissioners. Then it’s on to business, with a consent calendar that mostly includes second readings of ordinances. There are a couple of budget modifications, a contract approval, and a tract map approval. Then it’s on to business.

Item 2 involves consideration of a study issue for development of public parking facilities on city-owned land near the Fair Oaks and Tasman light rail station. We approved this study issue for a couple of reasons, including consideration of the new Santa Clara stadium. Staff’s recommendation is “do nothing”.

Item 3 deals with an appeal of a Planning Commission decision to issue a development permit on half of the Corn Palace property. This could get interesting. A nearby resident appealed the decision but then withdrew the appeal. However, the city had already sent out public notices when the request to withdraw the appeal came int, which requires the city to hold the public hearing anyway. And as such, the issue is open for full consideration by Council. We could say “staff recommended denying the appeal, the appellant withdrew his request, we’ll deny the appeal”. But we could also say “hey, wait a minute, we don’t like X and Y and Z, so we’re making changes”. Or anything in between. So tune in.

Items 4 and 5 are related. They involve the armory property. Item 4 is a request to do a general plan amendment to rezone the armory property from industrial to very high density residential. And item 5 is a request to approve an “Exclusive Negotiating Agreement” between the City and an affordable housing provider for future development of the site. As I understand things, this relates to Onizuka. As part of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, certain agencies get first dibs on the Onizuka property, including affordable housing providers. But Onizuka isn’t a great place for affordable housing, since there are few residential amenities out there. While we have to give those agencies first shot at the land, we can also provide them with alternate accommodations, in order to have them relinquish their claims. Since the armory has been used for bad-weather homeless shelter for some time, staff is suggesting that that property would be a good place for the affordable housing provider to build affordable housing (which is high-density housing). So staff is proposing that we accommodate them on the Armory to free up Onizuka for a better usage – such as the proposed expansion of Foothill-DeAnza. And this would be one of the early steps in that process, if we decide we want to go down this path.

That’s it for the general meeting, but we then need to meet as the Redevelopment Agency in order to consider authorizing the ransom payment that Council approved last week.

This should be a pretty typical, straightforward meeting, although there’s the potential for some curve balls, I suppose.

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