Can San Carlos handle its own growth?
November 18, 2008
The article I wrote earlier this week about the Wheeler Plaza Development clearly struck a nerve with many residents who are concerned about the seemingly break-neck pace at which the City is adding residential living capacity. While there were many positive comments about the development plans, there were an equal number of residents who are concerned that this development, along with the 1001 Laurel Complex and the San Carlos Transit Village, will create more growth than the City can really handle.
It's widely believed that this impact will be immediately felt at the school level. After all, this comes on the heels of a special public meeting that was held on November 5 where the San Carlos School Board discussed the capacity problems that our school district is facing right now — even without the presence of new residential units. If you weren't able to attend the meeting, here is the basis of what was discussed:
White Oaks School seems to have a waiting list to get in every year, and there are now reports of students being diverted away from Arundel School this fall. Clearly, the San Carlos School District will be facing some very tough decisions soon.
Seth Rosenblatt is one of the Governing Board Members of the San Carlos School District, and he has been extremely responsive and accessible to the questions and concerns of the citizens. He has posted some valuable insight on his blog: Seth Rosenblatt's Blog where he discusses his thoughts and preferences to possible solutions. From my interactions with Seth, there are some key points to consider when linking the new development to the school enrollment issues:
- The impact of the Wheeler Plaza Development and 1001 Laurel are already factored into the enrollment projections in the attached report.
- Studies indicate that the introduction of multi-unit housing historically does not generate many additional student-age children.
- An “official” change in the enrollment policy (boundary change, restrict transfers, etc…) won't likely be ready until the 2010-2011 school year.
On the other side of this coin, the City of San Carlos is clearly looking for additional tax revenue to fill its depleted coffers. More residents = more sales tax revenue, plain and simple. They're motivated to keep the shops full, and to have more residents spending money downtown. And believe me, if you think the Wheeler Plaza idea is big, you should see the “vision” they have for the multi-zoned areas east of San Carlos Avenue.
So…..what's your take on all of this? Is all of this development that's being planned a good or bad for the “City of Good Living”? Can San Carlos truly handle its own growth? Look for a new poll on this topic in the next day or so on the site, but for now…let's hear your comments!