AGENDA OF: 10/22/2013
SUBJECT: Ocean Street Area Plan (PL)
RECOMMENDATION: Resolution adopting a Negative Declaration, Ocean Street Area Plan,
and a Local Coastal Program Amendment (LCP) as recommended by the Planning Commission;
and authorize and direct the City Manager to submit the LCP Amendment to the California
Coastal Commission for Final Certification.
BACKGROUND: In May 2007, the City Council authorized staff to initiate action programs for
General Plan 2030, including the preparation of an Ocean Street Area Plan. The following
policies and programs addressing Ocean Street are included in the Community Design Element
of General Plan 2030:
Policy CD4.4 Improve the building design and streetscape along the Ocean Street corridor to
emphasize its role as a gateway.
Action CD2.1.5 Develop an Ocean Street Area Plan.
Action CD3.1.3 Create a new link between Ocean Street and the Downtown through an
Ocean Street Area Plan and corresponding Zoning Ordinance amendments.
Action CD4.4.1 Prepare an Ocean Street Area Plan that identifies design standards and
guidelines for new development, as well as proposed streetscape enhancements.
Through a community based process which included workshops, public meetings and
stakeholder interviews; an Ocean Street background report was developed. The background
report included the following: an illustrative plan, land use alternatives, building heights,
setbacks, potential streetscape improvements, circulation, and traffic. In addition, the following
were identified as issues to be addressed by the plan – neighborhood compatibility, residential
oriented services, gentrification issues, river levee improvements and access and multi-modal
Through the presentation of this background data at workshops and public hearings, a draft plan
and preferred land use plan was developed. The draft plan chapters address the following:
background data, an area plan concept and vision, land use and height plans, goals, policies and
actions, an implementation chapter and design guidelines. The preferred land use plan was then
incorporated into the land use map for the General Plan 2030 – so that the new area plan is
consistent with General Plan 2030.
DISCUSSION: The following is a brief description of the plan and its organization, starting with
the vision. The vision of the Draft Ocean Street Area Plan is that by 2030, “Ocean Street will
become a beautiful, multifaceted gateway to Santa Cruz that reflects the city’s unique and
diverse character”. The plan divides up the corridor into three areas – these different areas will
accommodate a wide variety of activities:
North of Water Street – will provide space for hotels, motels, restaurants and other visitor
services as well as mixed use buildings with retails stores and services that benefit visitors and
Water to Soquel Avenue – the “Heart of Ocean Street” where a new hotel and conference center
will help to catalyze additional development.
South of Soquel Avenue – residential uses will be strengthened and mixed use buildings will
provide places for people to live and shop.
A set of goals, policies and actions guide the plan towards this end result. Goals, policies and
actions are defined as:
A goal is a description of the general desired result that the City wishes to create through the
implementation of the plan.
A policy is a specific statement that guides decision making as the City works to achieve a goad.
An action is a program, activity or strategy carried out in response to adopted policy to achieve a
Some of the major goals identified for Ocean Street through this process are:
Goal CD-01 Well-designed buildings that create a unique character for Ocean Street.
Goal LU-01 A variety of land uses that create a vibrant, pedestrian-oriented street.
Goal M-01 A circulation system that functions well for pedestrians, bicycles, transit, cars,
trucks and emergency vehicles.
Design standards and guidelines are the final chapter of the plan. This chapter provides standards
for new development within the plan area and will ensure that new development, building
renovations and gateway improvements help achieve the concept and vision of the plan. A set of
design principles is established at the beginning of this chapter which defines major design
elements such as building orientation, massing, façade composition and neighborhood context.
The design guidelines include specific standards – some of which require that developers “shall”
follow the standard; where others dictate development “should” follow the standard. The words
“shall” or “must” refer to mandatory design standards that all projects must follow. The inclusion
of words “should”, “may” and “encouraged” refer to design guidelines that the City recommends
for all developers but allows some flexibility for decision makers.
Examples of some key design guidelines are:
B.1.1.1 Buildings should be sited so that the entrance doors and windows front the
B.1.1.3 To avoid creating nuisances such as noise, light intrusion, invasion of privacy and
traffic, the location of all uses should be coordinated with existing development
on adjoining properties.
B.1.1.4 Owners of adjoining properties are strongly encouraged to combine their
properties into a single site or develop shared facilities such as driveways, parking
areas, pedestrian plazas and walkways.
B.1.2.1 At major intersections, new development should be sited on the corner property
lines or partially setback to provide a public open space with direct access to the
B.5.1.1 Building facades shall be designed to reflect a small scale pattern of street
frontages, with building store front widths of approximately 30 to 50 feet.
The draft plan, with comments from the stakeholder committee, was presented to the Planning
Commission in February and April 2011. The Planning Commission’s recommendation and
comments were forwarded to the City Council. The City Council accepted the plan for the
purpose of environmental review on July 26, 2011. The environmental review for the Ocean
Street Area Plan was able to commence upon the final certification of the EIR for General Plan
2030. The draft Ocean Street Area Plan and its environmental review documents can be found on
the City’s website at: www.cityofsantacruz.com/OceanStreetAreaPlan.
The Planning Commission completed its review of the draft plan on June 27, 2013. At this public
hearing, the Planning Commission heard concerns from neighbors focused on potential impacts
to neighboring residential areas and made recommended changes to the plan in response.
Planning Commission’s recommendations focused on issues such as adequate parking, façade
improvements, impacts to adjacent residential areas and traffic calming solutions. Also included
in the list of recommendations is the Planning Commission’s added language from their initial
review in 2011. These additions were presented to the City Council at the time that the
environmental review was initiated.
The Planning Commission asked staff to propose further programs regarding economic
incentives and streetscape improvements. Recommendations by the Planning Commission and
staff are included as Attachment 1 and included in Exhibit “A” of the Resolution. In addition,
excerpted minutes from the Planning Commission meetings of June 6, 2013 and June 27, 2013
are included as Attachment 4. Public Correspondence received is attached as Attachments 5
An Initial Study and Negative Declaration were prepared for the Ocean Street Area Plan. The
public review period for these documents closed on May 20, 2013. The only comments received
were from Cal Trans District 5 and an email inquiry from the California Department of Fish and
Game. Cal Trans had no concerns regarding the project. Fish and Game informally questioned
the projects impact on Branciforte Creek. In the summary response to the Initial Study it was
noted that the creek is channelized for the portion in the Ocean Street Area Plan and the project
would have no negative effect on this resource.
The Initial Study found that the proposed project would have no significant effect on any
resources such as cultural or biological. In addition, the Study found that there are no other
known cumulative projects to which the project would contribute to potential cumulative
impacts. No environmental effects have been identified that would have direct or indirect adverse
effects on human beings.
That the City Council adopt a Negative Declaration, adopt a resolution approving the Ocean
Street Area Plan with proposed changes by the Planning Commission and staff as noted in
Exhibit “A”, and approve a Local Coastal Program Amendment authorizing and directing the
City Manager to submit the LCP Amendment to the California Coastal Commission for Final
The implementation of the Ocean Street Area Plan and other city-wide land use change areas, as
defined by the General Plan 2030 Land Use Plan, is underway and will include the rezoning of
parcels included in the “node areas”. Staff is currently developing a request for proposals to
develop new zoning designations and the corresponding design standards. It is anticipated that
the public hearing process for the rezoning and code changes will begin in 2014.
FISCAL IMPACT: It is not anticipated that the Area Plan will directly impact the City’s
General Fund although the future implementation of the Area Plan may require funding from a
variety of sources including the General Fund.
Prepared by: Submitted by: Approved by:
Michelle King Juliana Rebagliati Martin Bernal
Senior Planner Planning Director City Manager
Attachment 1: Recommended changes to the May 2013 Draft Ocean Street Area Plan
Attachment 2: Resolution approving the Ocean Street Area Plan with proposed changes as noted
in Exhibit “A”, a Negative Declaration and a Local Coastal Program Amendment, and
authorizing and directing the City Manager to submit the LCP Amendment to the California
Coastal Commission for Final Certification
Attachment 3: Notice of Intent, Negative Declaration and Initial Study for the Ocean Street Area
Plan dated April 15, 2013
Attachment 4: Excerpted Minutes of the June 27, 2013 Planning Commission meeting
Attachment 5: Email Correspondence from Jarl Meagher dated, July 8, 2013
Attachment 6: Email Correspondence from Deborah Marks dated October 8, 2013
Attachment 7: Email Correspondence from Carne Clark dated October 9, 2013