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San Carlos Voters to Decide the Fate of the Black Mountain Water Land.

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San Carlos Measure V

It’s hard to believe, but we are just a little over a month away from the November elections. And what would an election be in San Carlos without a bond measure to vote on? Well, this election year will be no different from those in past, except for the first time in years the bond measure being voted on is not directly related to the San Carlos School District.

On November 3, San Carlos voters will be asked to approve a bond measure which will provide the City of San Carlos with the necessary funds to purchase the old Black Mountain Water land. Located along Alameda de las Pulgas between Madera Avenue and Melendy Drive, the Black Mountain land is a nearly 25-acre plot that is currently owned by developers. The City of San Carlos wishes to purchase this land and preserve it as open space since it offers the potential for tranquil walking paths, trails, and recreation as a city-owned park.

San Carlos Black Mountain Parcel Boundary (approx)

San Carlos Black Mountain Parcel Boundary (approx)

The bond measure, which requires a 66.7% voter approval to pass, will raise nearly $45M not only to purchase the 25 acres, but also to develop it as a usable park for the public. Like other bond measures in San Carlos, this bond will be funded as an additional property tax — this time at a rate of $20 per $100,000 of assessed value of each residence in San Carlos. So recent home buyers in San Carlos can expect to pay between $200 – $300 per year in additional property tax, while long-time residents who are protected by Prop 13 will likely pay less.

The City of San Carlos has dedicated an entire section of their website to promote the purchase of the Black Mountain Site, which includes an FAQ document as well as a professionally done slide deck.

For and Against the Measure.

Yes on Measure VThere is an organized and very visible group of citizens who are lobbying aggressively for the passage of the bond measure. They have created a website called SaveBlackMountain.org in which they explain the benefits of purchasing the site, including:

  • Permanently protect some of the last remaining undeveloped land and open space in San Carlos as park, not 100 homes.
  • Provide tranquil walking paths, trails and recreation for all ages to enjoy.
  • Protect a local water source.
  • Protect San Carlos taxpayers – all funds will stay in San Carlos and can only be spent to create a park on Black Mountain; none of the money can be used for City administrator salaries.
  • Ensure local control of Black Mountain forever – an important legacy for future generations.
  • Establish an open, public process involving San Carlos volunteers to finalize plans for the new Black Mountain Park. There will also be independent citizens’ oversight of spending to ensure funds are spent as promised.

There is also strong opposition to the bond measure from an equally organized and vocal group which has outlined on their website VoteNoOnBlackMountainBond.org why they believe the bond measure should not be approved, including:

  • No signed agreement on the purchase price.
  • No certainty that all acres will be purchased.
  • No plan on use(s).
  • No budget to clear, clean, protect and insure the property.
  • No cost analysis for the proposed uses.
  • No “in perpetuity” guarantee.
  • Other issues pertaining to size and terrain that would prevent it from becoming a viable park.

How Will YOU Vote?

The lines are now drawn in the sand, and there’s only a month before the election is here. There will be a strong push from both sides to garner your vote. So which side of this issue are you on? Register your vote in the poll below.

How Will You Vote on San Carlos Measure V: Black Mountain Bond Measure?

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And of course, feel free to air your opinion in the comment section!
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It’s a Dog’s Day in San Carlos.

San Carlos City of Good Living

New San Carlos Dog Park Opens Tonight.

Much to the delight of local dog owners, the City of San Carlos will officially open a dedicated pooch park tonight at 5:00 PM. After an ambitious pilot program that allowed off-leash hours at Burton Park was discontinued this year, dog owners in San Carlos were left without a dedicated park to exercise their dogs.

The City of San Carlos stepped in recently and dedicated the City Hall Park on the corner of San Carlos Avenue and Elm Street as the new canine playground.  They have spent the past few weeks getting park ready and installing a safety fence around the perimeter of the park, with double safety gates so that the dogs aren’t able to accidentally exit the park right onto San Carlos Avenue.

There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony tonight and some prizes will be given away to some lucky dogs, according to the press release on the City website. So if you’re out on an early walk with your best pal, stop by the new San Carlos City Dog Park for all of the festivities.
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Welcome to to the White Oaks Blog — the most widely read blog dedicated to the San Carlos real estate market! Have blog updates sent to you automatically by subscribing for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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Schools and Land Use in San Carlos.

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A Common Misconception.

When it comes to commercial building development in San Carlos, the Building and Planning Divisions of San Carlos are intimately involved in the every step of the process. From the initial conceptual design and environmental impact report (EIR) all the way through implementation and construction of the project, you can rest assured that both Divisions carry significant influence in how the development will ultimately turn out.

For every major commercial development that is currently under construction or in the planning phases for construction (Wheeler Plaza, Transit Village, Landmark Hotel, etc..), that’s exactly how the process works. But there’s one class of development that is the exception to this rule, and it creates lots of confusion in the community who owns oversees it – schools.

Because the development of new schools is governed at the state level, the City has very little involvement into where schools can be built, and what they ultimately look like.  Unfortunately, the City becomes the punching bag when unpopular decisions are made in this area, when in reality it’s entirely out of their hands.

Recently, the Sequoia Union High School District made some significant waves in the local community by announcing its intent to build two “magnet” high schools within its boundaries. These two schools would be of much smaller scale than the existing campuses in the District, with each holding only 300-400 students — less than 1/4 of the enrollment of any other school in the district, and a far smaller physical footprint since neither school needs the additional space for athletic facilities.

The District moved forward and closed on two properties targeted for these magnet campuses.  The first is at 153 Jefferson Avenue in Menlo Park, and the second plot is at 535 Old County Road in the Greater East Side Neighborhood of San Carlos.

The controversy arises not from the fact that the District has chosen to build the two campuses. They are battling the same over-capacity concerns that literally every school district on the Peninsula is right now. The concern is over the location of the school – specifically, the proposed San Carlos magnet school. Anyone who knows San Carlos traffic patterns is keenly aware that the multiple intersections of Holly Street at both El Camino Real and Old County Road already get extremely congested during peak hours. Adding a 400-student school right at this intersection is going to pose some significant traffic challenges.

To make matters worse for GESC residents, it comes on the heels of battles that were fought over the Transit Village, the Landmark Hotel, and the Holly Street re-striping. This must have a certain “deja-vu” feeling to it, and I’m quite certain they feel that they are on the defense yet again.

The Future Of Laureola Park?

Of equal concern with the San Carlos location is the fact that it is adjacent to Laureola Park, which has prompted fears from the community that the magnet school will eventually absorb this coveted neighborhood park for its own use.

While the City of San Carlos has very little impact on the development of schools, it does have the ultimate control and authority over what can be done with its parks, a fact that the City recently reassured its citizens of in an online letter.  It also used this opportunity to provide citizens with the proper conduit to voice their opinions about the proposed magnet school development.

So the bottom line is that while the City has very little control over the magnet school that is being proposed, it does have ultimate authority over Laureola Park.  And as of now, it’s not going anywhere.

Here is the letter from the City of San Carlos in its entirety:

Most projects and land use decisions in San Carlos require City approval. As such, residents are used to sharing their comments and concerns about such proposals with their elected City Council members and the City Staff. One of the few exceptions to this City land use control is the planning and building of public schools. The State agencies listed at the bottom of the page oversee all public school projects and both the High School District and San Carlos Elementary School District are exempted by the State from any local land use control and oversight.

The decision to locate a new magnet high school in San Carlos is under the sole jurisdiction of the Sequoia Union High School District Board.  The City has had very little involvement with the specifics of the proposed 300-400 student magnet high school that the District is considering locating on Old County Road near Laureola Park and the Cal Train Station.  The City staff has offered to meet with District Staff to discuss their proposed new school and any potential sites and alternatives in San Carlos.

While the City is interested in hearing from our community about how they feel about what’s being proposed, the City does not have the ability to approve or reject the project.  There has also been a lot of talk in the community that the District will take or use Laureola Park as part of the school. This has not been proposed by the District to date nor has the City considered this. The park is the sole responsibility of the City and its City Council members and any future proposals to use the park in conjunction with a high school would be discussed and considered by the City Council with the public before any changes could take place with regard to the park. While the District can build a school without the City being involved, they cannot take or use a City park without the City’s consent.

Early next year the City will use the Shape San Carlos open online town hall forum to provide residents with the opportunity to share their views on the High School District’s proposed plans.

In the meantime, if you’d like to share your thoughts with your elected High School Board members their contact information is as follows:

Allen Weiner, President
[email protected]
650-724-5892

Olivia Martinez, Vice President
[email protected]
650-323-7311

Chris Thomsen
[email protected]
650-736-7569

Carrie Du Bois
[email protected]
650-766-9069

Alan Sarver
[email protected]
650-592-6129

State Agencies:

California Department of Education
916-319-0800
http://www.cde.ca.gov/index.asp

Office of Public School Construction
916-376-1771
http://www.dgs.ca.gov/opsc/Home.aspx

Division of the State Architect
916-445-8100
http://www.dgs.ca.gov/dsa/home.aspx

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Welcome to to the White Oaks Blog — the most widely read blog dedicated to the San Carlos real estate market! Have blog updates sent to you automatically by subscribing for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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San Carlos Symphony at Sunset: Saturday August 23rd

San Carlos Park and Rec Foundation

4th Annual Fundraiser

Looking for something fun and unique to do this weekend in San Carlos?  The Parks and Recreation Foundation of San Carlos is proud to present the 4th Annual Symphony at Sunset on Saturday, August 23, 2014 at the new Burton Park Stage.  This great event is making its fourth consecutive appearance this year, and all proceeds benefit the San Carlos Parks & Recreation Foundation, which raises funds for our city’s 14 Parks. Most recently the Foundation contributed $250,000 for the completion of Burton Park Phase II which includes the new stage, Bocce Courts and renovated basketball courts.

The festivities start at 6:00 PM.  At 7:15 pm, relax at your table or comfortable chair to listen to beautiful music.  Musicians include the Grammy nominated Quartet San Francisco, Pianist Stacy Yi, vocalist Mona Dena, and former members of the San Francisco Symphony, Sarn Oliver & Amos Yang.

Enjoy complimentary food from Piacere, Dessert and coffee from Peets AND complimentary wine tasting by Domenico Winery. Fabulous bottles of wine available for purchase. Great raffle prizes, too!

Individual & group seating available at: www.prfsancarlos.org  Enjoy some great music outdoors while supporting your San Carlos Parks!

PRFSC_SAS_2014_Tickets (1)

 
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Welcome to to the White Oaks Blog — the most widely read blog dedicated to the San Carlos real estate market! Have blog updates sent to you automatically by subscribing for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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Special Hearing Tonight: San Carlos Land Swap.

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Critical Juncture.

If you haven’t been keeping close tabs on the local news lately, the City of San Carlos and the San Carlos School District have struck a tentative deal to effectively “swap” two key parcels of their respectively owned properties in San Carlos.     Under the terms of the agreement, the School District would get the 4-acre plot of land on Crestview Drive known as North Crestview Park to build a new facility for the San Carlos Charter Learning Center (SCCLC).   In return, the City of San Carlos would receive the land at the top of Tierra Linda Middle School, which would likely be utilized as additional recreation space.

At their May 27, 2014 meeting, the City Council adopted Resolution 2014-053, initiating the process of abandoning the North Crestview site designation as a “Park” – a key requirement to enable the site to be developed.    At 7:00 tonight in the San Carlos City Council Chambers, the Council will hold a special meeting to hear and consider all public protests to this Resolution.  At the conclusion of tonight’s meeting, the Council is expected to vote to either accept or override the protest.   At least 4 of the Council members must vote to override the protest.

If the protest is overridden, the Resolution then goes on the November ballot for the voters of San Carlos to decide its fate.   If the protest is not overridden, the land swap effectively dies on the dais.  The meeting starts at 7:00 PM at the City Council Chambers at 600 Elm Street in San Carlos.

If you have a strong opinion one way or the other on this issue, obviously tonight is a golden opportunity to have your voice heard by the Council.   It should be a very interesting meeting regardless.
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Welcome to to the White Oaks Blog — the most widely read blog dedicated to the San Carlos real estate market! Have blog updates sent to you automatically by subscribing for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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San Carlos Highlands Park All-Weather Field Set to Re-Open..

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March 5 Grand Opening.

This Saturday March 5 marks a date that many in San Carlos thought might never happen — and for some, a date they hoped would never happen.  But after a decade of public hearings, legal wranglings, and vocal demonstrations,  the resurfacing of Highlands Park with all-weather turf is finally complete, and the new field is set to re-open with a Grand Opening Ceremony this coming Saturday March 5.   Festivities start at 10:00 AM.  For more information, download the flyer here:  Highlands Synthetic Turf Field Opening_March 5 2011

When Highlands field re-opens, it will be the only municipal park on the west coast that has a synthetic surface that utilizes an organic fill-system for cushioning, as opposed to to the tiny rubber bits that you see in the older style field, according to the supplier.   That at least make the field a bit more eco-friendly.

So come out to the field and get ready to PLAY BALL!
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Welcome to to the White Oaks Blog — the most widely read blog dedicated to the San Carlos real estate market! Have blog updates sent to you automatically by subscribing for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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Renovation in the Works for Burton Park?

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Permanent Stage, Bocce Ball Court.

According to Michelle Durand’s column this morning in the Daily Journal, another upgrade to Burton Park in San Carlos could be in the works.  Plans for the construction of a permanent stage, a bocce ball court, and a much-needed upgrade to the basketball courts are in the preliminary stages of discussion.  The City Council has already given the green light to the concept — now all that’s needed is the money (isn’t that the case with everything in life?)

The San Carlos Park and Recreation Foundation quarterbacked the fundraising effort for the first wave of upgrades to Burton, which added a whole new playground structure and water park.   Look for them to play the lead role again in raising the nearly $500,000 (or more) that will be needed to make this vision a reality.    I’m sure that our local San Carlos businesses will selflessly chip in again, as they have always done in the past.

For more information, check out Michelle’s article in the DJ:  Burton Park Ready For Big Makeover.
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Welcome to to the White Oaks Blog — the most widely read blog dedicated to the San Carlos real estate market! Have blog updates sent to you automatically by subscribing for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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City of San Carlos to Settle With Citizen Group Over Artificial Turf?

Wow… I literally did a double-take yesterday when I got my daily email update from the City of San Carlos (by the way, if you aren’t subscribed to the City’s eNotify update service, you should definitely do so.  It’s a great service.)  Yesterday’s email with the agenda for the 9/13 City Council meeting had the following bullet item:

Authorize City Manager to sign a settlement agreement with Save San Carlos Parks related to the Lower Highlands Field Renovation – Synthetic Turf Project (Item # 7j)

I thought I misread it at first, but according to Michelle Durand’s article in today’s Journal, it looks as if the City of San Carlos and the citizen group Save San Carlos Parks may be close to reaching a settlement that will resolve their long-standing dispute over the conversion of Highlands Park to an all-weather surface.

Costly Settlement

Much of the settlement seems to focus on traffic mitigation around Highlands Park, since the recent Superior Court ruling found no fault with the actual installation of the turf.  But aside from the cost of traffic modifications, the terms of the proposed settlement call for  the City to pay for the legals fees incurred by the citizen’s group — which is nearly $85,000.  And this is in addition to covering the cost of their own legal representation.

This a big ouch for a city that’s already nearly broke.   But if the settlement comes to pass, it should remove the final hurdle to complete what was started over a decade ago.
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Welcome to to the White Oaks Blog — the most widely read blog dedicated to the San Carlos real estate market! Have blog updates sent to you automatically by subscribing for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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