A Charged Public Hearing.
If the packed house at Monday night’s San Carlos Planning Commission meeting was any indication, then San Carlos residents are ready to turn the clock back — to 2011, that is… or beyond. The Planning Commission hosted a public session to solicit feedback from citizens on the current building standards for both lot coverage and the subdivision of existing larger lots for the purpose of building multiple structures. The Commission and the City Council have been fielding an increasing amount of complaints and other negative feedback about the size and character of homes that are being built in San Carlos neighborhoods, and thus chartered the Commission to start studying the issue.
Lisa Porras, the Principal Planner for the City of San Carlos, started off the meeting with an outstanding recap of how and why the residential building guidelines were changed back in 2011, and what the impact has been on San Carlos since that time (in terms of how many homes have been built, and projects approved.)
The meeting was then turned over to public comment. There were at least a dozen different citizens that went to the dais and voiced their displeasure about the sheer number of “out of character” homes that are being built in San Carlos neighborhoods.
It’s probably a good thing that burglars were not aware of this meeting, because I don’t think there was a single resident from the 1900 block of Carmelita Drive that wasn’t at the meeting! Who was watching the neighborhood??!! Indeed, the subdivision that is taking place at 1985 Carmelita Drive, and the recent sale at 1942 Carmelita Drive have residents on this prized block very worried about how the look and feel of their street may change in the future under the current guidelines.
What surprised me about the discussion was not the level of discontent that is being felt by neighbors on Carmelita, Cedar, and Sunset that spoke publicly. If you saw the thread on the popular social media site NextDoor about this very topic, you would know that there are over 180 comments on just that thread alone – ALL in opposition to the current standards.
What did surprise me was that not one person who was in favor of keeping the current guidelines unchanged spoke to that effect. There was one speaker who, through very measured words, did remind residents that San Carlos and the entire Peninsula is changing, and that change is generally inevitable. I have to wonder where the homeowners were who have purchased property in San Carlos over the past 5 or so years, and have plans to build a large home on their lot — especially those who may push over the 40% lot coverage limit.
Why was there not anyone at the mic defending the current building guidelines?
Perhaps people did not know about the meeting, or maybe they were afraid of voicing their opinion in front of a well behaved but very charged up crowd? But either way, the topic is now very much at the forefront of the Planning Commission and the City Council, and there will be additional meetings and hearings about this topic – some right in front of the City Council.
So if you have strong feelings either way, you had better use the public forum to make your voice heard. If last night is any indications, there are changes brewing on the horizon in the world of residential real estate construction in San Carlos.
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