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Public asked for input on Transit Village plan
July 16, 2012, 05:00 AM Daily Journal Staff Report
The final environmental review has been released on a plan to transform the gateway of San Carlos into a transit-oriented mix of housing, commercial space and a public plaza around the existing Caltrain station.

The Planning Commission will hold a study session at the end of the month on the final environmental impact review of the San Carlos Transit Village. A final recommendation to the City Council won’t be decided until October.

As proposed, the transit village would convert a 10.53-acre strip of land within the existing Caltrain station and running parallel to the railroad corridor. Legacy’s proposal envisions eight buildings housing 280 housing units among a mix of 407,298 square feet of residential, 23,797 square feet of office space and 14,326 square feet of retail space.

The project would include 667 parking spaces and a new SamTrans Transit Center on 4.29 acres. SamTrans, the land’s current owner, would grant developer Legacy Partners a long-term lease for a little more than half the site followed by ownership of the proposed mixed-use and transit-oriented development.

The report offers a reduced intensity alternative that lowers heights and reduces the number of residential units to 240 but keeps other elements the same.

A new alternative was also added to improve the project’s compatibility with the surrounding area, particularly the Greater East San Carlos neighborhoods. The option lowers heights on most buildings north of Holly Street, breaks up the massing between two building and creates towers immediately north and south of Holly Street to accent the gateway.

The project has changed several times since the  original 2005 plan suggested 319 resident units and 6,000 square feet of retail. The draft EIR on the current incarnation was released in December 2009 and the document now up for certification incorporates dozens of letters and other input from agencies and residents — mainly concerns about parking, noise,  aesthetics and what happens when high-speed rail becomes a reality.

No new significant environmental impacts are identified in the final report based on the comments but the consultants did look more closely at reduced auto trips, spillover parking into the residential areas, shadowing and changes to the character of the neighborhoods on the east side of the Caltrain tracks.

The Planning Commission presentation and public comment on the FEIR is 7 p.m. Monday, July 30. A public hearing and vote on the recommendation will be 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 1. Both are held at City Hall, 600 Elm St., San Carlos.

The full FEIR is available online at

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