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October 16, 2012 > Letter to the Editor: Revised Kimber Park Open Space proposal moves to Planning Commission

Letter to the Editor: Revised Kimber Park Open Space proposal moves to Planning Commission

Staff Report to Planning Commission:

In December 2011, the City Council adopted a comprehensive General Plan Update and established the Kimber Study Area on the subject property for a period of one year to allow the property owner time to process a development application. Initially, a Preliminary Planned District (PPD) application was submitted to allow development of 18 residential units and a Draft EIR was prepared for the proposed project.

However, during the 45-day public review period for the Draft EIR, the applicant submitted a revised project for a new private swim and tennis club. Staff has reviewed the revised project for general acceptability of the land uses and their interrelationship, prepared a Final EIR that includes analysis of an alternative consistent with the revised project, and recommends that the Planning Commission recommend approval of the PPD to the City Council, including the establishment of PPD Regulations and Design Guidelines for the future facility.

Save Kimber Park response:

The owner submitted, at the 11th hour, a new plan that if passed would create a NEW PLANNED DISTRICT along with 42,000 sq. feet of building space, nine (9) hotel rooms, one (1) business center, two (2) conference centers, a 100 person members-only restaurant, removal of seven (7) of the existing 13 tennis courts, 107 or more parking spaces and the creation of two (2) new pools. Although some elements of the plan seem reasonable, the idea of a facility of this magnitude, intensity and with all the uses they are looking for in the middle of a quiet, open-space oriented neighborhood is not acceptable. It seems that if they can't have the residential use they want then they will instead try to get as much recreation/lodging/business/commercial use as possible squeezed onto the property and expand their allowable permitted uses into different commercial areas.

Last Thursday [October 11, 2012] city staff held a "study session" with Planning Commissioners and about 10 SKP supporters attended. Very little new information was shared at the study session and some of our questions were evaded and we were told it would be "in the staff report the next day." On Friday [October 12, 2012], at 5 p.m., the city staff released their report for the Planning Commission meeting on Thursday, October 18th. A copy of this Staff report is available online at: Please take a few minutes to carefully read this 18 page report in detail.

Shockingly City Staff is recommending approval of this "Preliminary Planned District" as is with no changes. This would change the zoning to a new Planned District with its own set of special rules and create a new general plan designation for the area as well. City Staff states that if approved the tennis/swim club section on the western portion of the property would be designated "General Open Space" and the eastern "undeveloped" portion would be designated "Private Open Space". If the area where the club resides is designated "General Open Space" then it will NOT BE SUBJECT TO THE INITIATIVE. Only areas designated as "PRIVATE OPEN SPACE" are subject to the initiative.

So... How do we best proceed to ensure this parcel does not become a "Clubsport" commercial facility in the middle of our quiet neighborhood and receives permanent protection so future generations don't have to fight this same battle?

The Planning Commission meets this Thursday (10/18) at 7 p.m. and could recommend to City Council that the parcel should be changed. This is a very important meeting... although City Council has the last say, the opinion of city staff and planning commission are big factors. The meeting will be held in City Council Chambers at 3300 Capitol Avenue.

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