SCOTTS VALLEY >> On Wednesday evening, Scotts Valley City Council approved two projects to add a total of eight new homes and two new duplexes.
The Bay Village subdivision is expected to include six single family homes and two duplexes. The site is now a vacant lot between MacDorsa Park and the Scotts Valley Fire Department on Erba Lane. The land is owned by Larry Abitbol, CEO and President of Scotts Valley-based Bay Photo Lab. Due to environmental concerns, owner Abitbol has designated part of the property with large oak trees and a stream as a protected area which will not be developed.
The development will include a private road for access. To meet the requirements of public art in the city, a retaining wall will feature a large fresco.
The project is in an area where the city requires 15% of new construction to be affordable housing. To comply, the development must have at least one unit available at rent or affordable for low income people. Another unit may be available at a lower market price, for people with moderate incomes, or the developer may pay a fee. Income ceilings are set by the state.
The municipal council is consider expanding the mandate of affordable housing throughout the Scotts Valley.
Several residents of Erba Lane have raised concerns about the impact of the development on traffic and parking on their streets. Although the development includes two-car garages and ten guest parking spaces, residents were concerned that visitors would use their street for overflow parking. Residents were also concerned about losing a footpath to adjacent MacDorsa Park, accessible through the vacant lot.
“You’re essentially cutting off access,” said one commentator who identified himself as Eric. The meeting was held online only. The planned development contains an easement for the city to develop public access to the pedestrian park.
Responding to the concerns, Board Member Donna Lind said, “We are limited in what we can do to maintain the status quo. The state has forced new construction in the city, she said, and the lack of housing has forced many people who work in the Scotts Valley to live elsewhere.
The site has been used frequently by the Scott Valley Fire District for training. Battalion Commander Chris Stubendorff said in an interview that the formation will be downsized or moved to other facilities. “We always knew it was going to happen,” Stubendorff said. “It has never been our property, and we are grateful that we have been allowed to use it for as long as we have.”
The development was unanimously approved by the city council.
A second, smaller development has been approved at 4303B Scotts Valley Drive which will add two new homes on land that currently contains one home. No public comments were raised.
Scotts Valley law does not require affordable housing to be included in proposals of six units or less.
City Councilor Jack Dilles has raised concerns about the impact of new construction on parking in the surrounding area. The proposal was adopted with Dilles as the only vote against.
Low- and very low-income housing is rarely built in Scotts Valley. As of July, Scotts Valley had not licensed any very low income units and three low income units in about five years. State requirements require Scotts Valley to license 34 extra low income units and 19 additional low income units by the end of 2023.
Wastewater tariff increase approved
The board also approved tariff increases for wastewater treatment. Rates will increase by 9% each year for the next five years. The new rate will take effect on July 1.
City manager Tina Friend said the increases were needed to fund crucial upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant. Even after the hikes, rates would remain “well below the region’s average,” Friend said.
The rate increases will fund a $ 4.5 million loan that will be used for facility upgrades. The rates had not been adjusted since 2019, in part because of the 2020 pandemic.
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