Marcia Fariss's Blog

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Michelle McIntyre June 2, 2014 at 05:16 pm
Hi Maria, thanks for posting this because I had a schedule conflict and missed the meeting. IRead More recommend you post a graphic or photo to draw more attention to the story. Maybe the state senator could send you one.
MARCIA FARISS February 21, 2014 at 04:48 pm
Hi Again, Everyone, This is just a reminder about the Hwy 85 meeting to be held a week from todayRead More (Feb. 25) at 7 PM at the Saratoga Library. VTA representatives will be there to present their plans and answer questions. As you know, VTA wants to add 2 new toll/express lanes to existing Hwy 85 and one rumor has it that the current HOV lanes will become toll lanes as well (I cannot verify that as I'm getting conflicting info on that). There will be no access for Saratoga, parts of Campbell and Los Gatos residents. IMHO, this project will be a disaster because of additional noise, pollution and traffic. I'm still trying to figure out how express toll lanes will encourage car pooling and mass transit which has been the ongoing mantra of transit and elected officials; however, perhaps I'm "denser than the average bear." :-) Everyone I've spoken to is opposing the VTA plan; however, I do not know everyone in the Valley (contrary to some people's opinion) and there may be some who favor the plan. Everyone is encouraged to get the facts, analyze them and come to your own conclusions about the project. Please come to the meeting! This is a project that impacts everyone in the Valley--not just those living near Hwy 85. Bring lots of friends and neighbors! See you at 7PM next Tuesday at the Saratoga Library (on Saratoga Ave. and corner of Fruitvale Ave.) If you have questions, please contact me.
MARCIA FARISS June 21, 2013 at 03:54 pm
For my Saratoga Patch blog: At last night's City Council meeting, the major issue was theRead More TimeShare-Gateway appeal.  The Planning Commission had previously denied York Lee's project as being too massive and having too intense a use.  Mr. Lee appealed that decision last night. What struck me the most, was not the 15 people who spoke against approving the appeal (with 1 wanting it granted) but the attitude that several of the Council members exhibited.  There was obvious disdain being exhibited by Councilman Chuck Page to both residents addressing the Council as well as a highly regarded traffic/parking expert.  Page not only was dismissive of the data presented by Mr. Pang but towards Saratoga residents as well.  Page even had the audacity to bully the 3 Planning Commission members who were urging the Council to return the project to the Commission for further work.  It should be remembered, that the City Council appoints the Planning Commission members! Page was joined by Councilmembers Manny Capello and Howard Miller who appeared to readily accept the data presented by the developer's traffic expert but equally as readily dismissed the traffic expert hired by Restore Saratoga.  Restore Saratoga had retained expert Gay Lawrence Pang, P.E. of Pang Engineers, Inc. to review and analyze the situation especially because issues of insufficient parking, traffic safety, circulation and flow seemed to be missing from the developer's report.  In particular, Page went out of his way to ask Mr. Pang to repeat who hired him (after he had already stated) and how much he was being paid; it is obvious that Page has great contempt for anyone connected with Restore Saratoga.  Restore Saratoga is comprised of concerned volunteer residents  who wish to see responsible development that maintains the semi-rural and unique character of our City. It is important to note that the vast majority of speakers at previous Planning Commission and City Council meetings have NOT been associated with Restore Saratoga; however, they too have the goal of  preserving what we love best about Saratoga. My sense is that except for Mayor Jill Hunter, the other Councilmembers want to approve the TimeShare project as is.  It is also my conviction that the Planning Commission is correct; it is too massive has too intense a usage and has not adequately addressed the parking and traffic congestion issues. Stay tuned, as this is not yet over.  Also, please stay informed and engaged.
Elaine C May 24, 2013 at 04:04 pm
How can I receive the survey material that you mentioned on May 13?
Dave Anderson May 30, 2013 at 04:22 pm
I am posting the Mayor's letter to ABAG, commenting on the Plan Bay Area which was approved by theRead More City Council at their May 15, 2013 meeting.  The comments focus on what the City believes are wildly inflated projections of future job creation in the City of Saratoga. This is important because it is one of the main components driving our higher than normal Affordable Housing requirements under the Regional Housing Needs Assessment.  It also overestimates the reduction in miles traveled by our residents going to and from their homes to their places of work which is an important benchmark in the Sustainable Community Strategy. Dave Anderson City Manager ------------------------ May 15, 2013 Ezra Rapport ABAG Executive Director 101 Eight Street Oakland, CA 94607 RE: Comments on Plan Bay Area & Accompanying Draft EIR Dear Mr. Rapport: The City of Saratoga recognizes the enormous effort by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) to create the Bay Area's first sustainable community strategy (SCS). The City raised the issue of ABAG's employment model overestimating both existing and future job growth in the City during the regional housing needs assessment comment period. There appears to be no change to the model as 11,874 jobs are still being shown for 2010 and employment is projected to grow 14,500 jobs by 2040. However, the United States Census Bureau ZIP Code Business Statistics report for 2010 shows only 4,194 jobs in Saratoga. The job numbers reported by the Census Bureau are supported by both job information from our largest employers and the City's general plan. Our largest employer, West Valley Community College, employs less than 800 people. The Saratoga Retirement Community, the City's largest private employer, employs less than 300 people. Furthermore, only 1% (110 acres) of the City is designated for private employment opportunities, 5% for public facilities, and the remaining 94% for housing, parks, and open spaces. The land area the City has designated for commercial and office uses in the general plan is continually shrinking to accommodate the increased RHNA allocations since we are a predominately built out residential community. Overestimating the existing and future employment opportunities in small residential communities, such as Saratoga, results in overestimating the reduction in vehicle miles traveled assumed from the land use pattern in the SCS. The percentage of greenhouse gas emission reductions could therefore be overstated in the EIR and in Plan Bay Area. Please adjust the distribution in both existing and future employment so that it more accurately reflects local general plans. Sincerely, Jill Hunter Mayor
MARCIA FARISS June 12, 2013 at 03:49 pm
Surveys were sent to every household; however, we have since discovered that not every householdRead More received one. Anyone who did not receive one and wants one can contact RestoreSaratoga.com. Someone will mail one to you.
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