Approval of the long-awaited of the California Avenue Concept Plan will be put off until next year, after planning commissioners added a slew of new amendments for subcommittee review at a meeting Wednesday night.
The plan, which has been in the works for years, is meant to provide a framework for the future development of three major sub-areas of the California Avenue area: California Avenue, Park Boulevard and the Fry's Electronics site.
Some commissioners expressed hopes of passing the plan on to City Council for approval at Wednesday's meeting, but further suggestions for amendments pushed it back to the commission's next meeting on Jan. 29.
The concept plan is now running parallel and many residents say, in conflict with developer Jay Paul Co.'s proposal to build a massive, high-density office campus on Page Mill Road. In exchange for a higher density project, Jay Paul has offered to fulfill one of the California Avenue Concept Plan elements and build a public safety building at 3045 Park Blvd.
"Essentially, it reminds me of a saying: 'Beware what you ask for, you just might get it.'" said Vice Chair Arthur Keller, indicating that the public safety building was included without commissioners finding consensus on where or what the building should be.
Commissioners unanimously voted on Wednesday night to recommend staff change language that designates constructing the public safety building on Park Boulevard specifically.
"It seems overly restrictive," Commissioner Carl King said, suggesting the language instead read "within the district."
Commissioner Greg Tanaka also put forward an amendment to redraw the Fry's sub-area map to extend all the way to El Camino Real. As it is now, the map does not include a block of commercial area on El Camino Real and Portage Avenue, including the site of Foot Locker at 3225 El Camino Real.
"I think that if any retail business that has a chance of surviving in this area, it will need that El Camino frontage," Tanaka said.
The commission unanimously passed his amendment.
Keller also suggested that the concept plan encourage developing smaller housing units in the area. The plan is founded on the idea of the California Avenue area as a transit-rich corridor that can be developed to attract small new companies and thus, single or smaller families. All the commissioners voted in favor of Keller's amendment except for Commissioner Michael Alcheck.
The commission also discussed the overall vision of the plan, asking for more clarity, "density done right" and that specific data (traffic patterns or the area's carrying capacity for development, for example) be incorporated into the plan.
Wednesday night's input will be reviewed in subcommittee with staff, who will return to the commission with a revised draft of the concept plan in January.
"I actually think that although this took awhile, the process of us voting on each and every proposed change was actually a very good one and allowed us to achieve clarity," Keller said.