Readers comments 6-4-21
Building affordable housing
Housing policies that push to build affordable housing in areas of Claremont far from public transportation centers/corridors will fail to assist that population, particularly those essential service workers with lower incomes. The Washington Post in its "Momentum builds for free transit" [WaPo May 23, p.1] outlines the economic problems facing those with limited incomes. In particular, maintaining a commuter car drains a large proportion of the income of those workers...not to mention increases in environmental damage. Building affordable housing near bus and train lines and transportation hubs, coupled with targeted fare assistance, is the ticket to smart planning.
Village South parking reductions
The Planning Commission met on May 18th to start their review of the Village South Specific Plan. This commission is responsible for assuring that there will be enough parking in all new developments. They will vote at their follow-up meeting on June 1st.
Village South is proposed to have 1,000 new living units, plus 100,000 square feet of commercial, 45,000 square feet of office, and a new 50-room hotel. We can now use EIR numbers to determine that parking for this much activity will create the need for 2,250 parking places in total. This includes 1,545 parking places for the residents of the 1,000 living units. Without further reductions, residents would have an average of 1.5 assigned parking places per unit. There would be 342 parking places for their visitors.
The staff report assured the commissioners that the standards for residential parking are “relatively high for transit-oriented development projects”. However, even these starting numbers have been reduced significantly from the required parking for identical units in Village West.
The shock in the updated Specific Plan was that further major reductions in available parking are being proposed in a new section called “Parking Reductions” on Page 121. This reductions plan appears to be developer driven. It outlines how the number of parking places can be cut much further by following a specific menu of actions that are controlled by the developer.
The first method to reduce the number is through “Unbundling”. Developers will charge their residents a separate fee for any dedicated parking spot. Their reward for unbundling is a 20% reduction in the number of required parking spots. This one provision cuts over 300 spaces.
The second method is through “Car Sharing”. For each car-share like a Zip Car, they can eliminate four other parking spots. This method is allowed to reduce the number of parking places by another 20% and might be applied to more than just residential parking, cutting another 300 spaces.
The third method is through providing bicycle racks and storage. This method promises a further 10-20% reduction in parking places if enough bike racks and locked bicycle storage are provided.
Lastly, the plan states that the developer can request shared parking to reduce as many as 50% of the spots required for an activity. They need to forecast that the new parking will peak at a different time.
In total, developers can easily plan to reduce parking for residents by 50% to 60%. There would be far less than one parking place available for each unit, even when residents are willing to pay for it.
This project for up to 2,960 new residents is so massive that it could destroy our Claremont Village if it does not have adequate parking. If Village South residents have to use visitor parking, then visitors and customers will overflow to use curb parking in our Village and surrounding neighborhoods. Many Village businesses rely on customers driving from other communities and parking not-too-far from their business. If those customers become further frustrated with traffic and parking, they won’t come back – forcing businesses to relocate out of Claremont to nearby growing areas such as the proposed North Montclair Downtown.
The Planning Commission and City Council should not approve this Specific Plan without eliminating or dramatically reducing this too-large recipe for reduced parking. We urge you to stand up to developer pressure. KGI, which will own part of the development, has surface parking to the west of Village South that could be turned into multi-level, so requiring adequate parking would not endanger the project.
Bob Fagg, Bob Gerecke, Brisa Sifuentes, Charles Hepperle, Ed and Charlene Leavell, Erik von Wodtke, Jennifer and Bob Kern, Jerry Klasik, Jim and Sue Keith, Megan Pulham, Mike Fultz, Mike Skapik, Nicole Wirick, Patricia Lindberg, Paul S. Wheeler, Sonja Stump, Nicole Wirick