Zach Friend’s January Aptos Update

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Supervisor Zach Friend

Zach Friend represents Aptos on the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors

Santa Cruz County 2nd District Supervisor Zach Friend’s January Aptos update was given this morning at the Aptos Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting. The meeting was very well attended, with nary an empty set in the house. The Supervisor spoke for about 15 minutes, and then took questions for another 15 minutes.

His entire remarks have been recorded and are available in audio format, which you can listen to here. There is a tremendous amount of detail which many folks will find interesting to hear:

A summary of the topics discussed is as follows:

The Sustainable Santa Cruz Plan: the new plan will bring the greatest changes in land use, transportation, and housing ever seen in Santa Cruz county, and should enable appreciable improvements in the kinds of real estate development (both commercial and residential) that can be done, to bring more jobs and affordable housing to Santa Cruz (and Aptos).

Rancho del Mar Redevelopment: Supervisor Friend says that the development company which has purchased the shopping center has not yet been willing to discuss with the county its plans, however it seems as though re-development of Rancho del Mar will now be put on the back burner. This is good news and bad news; the bad news is, the sale triggered a re-assessment of the property’s value, which will significantly increase property tax – the cost of which will ultimately be paid by the tenants. Tenants will enjoy higher rents, and nobody will enjoy any improvements in the center for some time to come.

Aptos Village Redevelopment: the county has done 100% of the work it can do at this point to green-light the project. The ball is entirely in the hands of the developer, Barry Swenson Builders. Barry Swenson Builders have not actually applied for the permit yet, but they have already signaled that the project will be going forward by ordering the closing of the Aptos Post Office Bike Jumps. Their county entitlements for the project require that they do at least apply for the permit by the end of 2015, so something should be happening soon.

Seacliff Village Redevelopment: the Supervisor views Seacliff Village as becoming a “crown jewel” in Santa Cruz county. The project should be starting in about April with the under-grounding of the utility cables. The plan includes streetscape improvements, a new median, a new entrance to Seacliff State Beach, and new sidewalks all the way from the State Park to Soquel Drive, eventually tying in with the rail trail.

The Rail Trail Project: the Supervisor reiterated the line that the Proposition 116 funds which were used to purchase the rail line require that the county either show that “active” rail service is not economically feasible, or develop passenger rail service. There is an ongoing study to determine the feasibility of the service, the first results of which should be available in April. Unless active train service can be shown to be infeasible, you can expect that train service will be “part of the matrix.”

Mar Vista Overpass: The project is funded and now it appears that construction will begin in 2017.