The Campbell City Council unanimously approved a high-density, mixed-use development last night, but the bigger discussion that came out of the meeting was on the city’s future growth.
"I understand that people are concerned that there will be too many people in Campbell," said Campbell Mayor Mike Kotowski. "The point is, the city will change. There has to be a certain amount of trust that we (the city council) are going to do the right thing for the right reasons."
Bay West Development received approval for its planned development at 1677 S. Bascom Ave., a mixed-use project that includes 168 apartment units and 15,295 square feet of ground floor commercial. The approval also allowed the developer to remove 66 protected trees.
Initially proposed and approved in 2007, the project includes:
- 336 bedrooms
- 14,045 square feet of ground floor commercial
- A total of 404 retail and residential parking.
It was altered over the course of four years to better reflect market changes and concerns voiced by Campbell Planning Commissioners during the review process.
The now-approved project consists of:
- 274 bedrooms
- 15,295 square feet of ground floor commercial
- A total of 354 retail and residential parking.
- 75 trees to replace the 66 removed.
This project will also, according to the developer create 300 construction jobs, permanent retail jobs, generate $1.6 million in park fees and another nearly $1 million in additional fees.
Building permits are the developer's next step, followed by an 18-month construction schedule with the leasing beginning in 2014.
The height of the new development at its highest point had also been a source of contention and was lowered from 89 feet to 65 feet.
But it was the traffic study that suggested no “noticeable” impact on current traffic conditions along Creekside, Hamilton and Bascom avenues that set emotions off.
According to staff, the number of trips with the addition of the Bay West development will equate to a 1.1 percent increase in traffic. In order for drivers to see a "noticable" difference, there would have to be an increase of between 10 and 15 percent.
Residents, however, disagreed with the traffic study findings.
One group sent a petition signed by 107 individuals against the development because of concerns over traffic, density and "lack of planned parking."
“Campbell, the Orchard City, Tree City USA; who are we really?” said Campbell resident Helen Davis. “What makes the community of Campbell, really? We all love Campbell but all have noticed a change, and not for the better: Traffic, crowding, lines, panhandling, homeless people ... petty crime and theft. Campbell is literally a crossroad and we are at a crossroad. Save our trees, save our community and limit our growth.”
Three other residents speaking against the project, including the Pruneyard Dry Creek Neighborhood Association President Bob Fidrych, echoed Davis’ sentiments and concerns.
"Things just don’t quite add up for me," Fidrych said.
Campbell Councilman Rich Waterman was also clear about his concerns over the density and potential traffic.
“It’s hard for me because I’m in the middle,” Waterman said. “I’m still fairly close to it, on Ridgeley Drive. We’ve watched it grow. It’s hard, having bought a home here and seeing one more thing; it is affecting our quality of life.”
Along with these four residents, six others voiced their support of the new development during the public comment portion of the meeting.
In the end, the council decided unanimously to move forward with this particular project but not without recognizing the need to further look at the city’s general plan and circulation studies.
“I don’t believe that this particular project is a do-or-die on traffic,” Kotowski said. “We as a city are growing. We just added Cambrian 36. We have over 100 miles of roadway in Campbell. But we are going to have numerous developments in the way of housing and mixed use. I want to see a review of the general plan and circulation.”
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