Quick Take:

Rescheduled from its initial Sept. 1 date, the 76-unit senior living facility proposed for a site along West Cliff Drive will go to the City of Santa Cruz Planning Commission on Thursday at 7 p.m. for presentation and public input. Are size, traffic, unit affordability and environmental impacts still a major point of contention as the project was downsized from its 2020 iteration?

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An update on the proposed senior living facility near West Cliff Drive

Should the City of Santa Cruz Planning Commission give the go-ahead 76-unit, 74,218-square-foot senior living development proposed for a site at 126 Eucalyptus Ave., just down the street from the famous surfer statue, across from Lighthouse Field State Beach and adjacent to the Shrine of St. Joseph church?

That issue, sure to be a contentious one, will bring out proponents and opponents Thursday for a meeting that starts at 7 p.m. It’s a public hearing that provides Santa Cruzans a chance to comment on the development.

Two years ago, 55 local residents voiced their concerns about a previous, larger iteration of the project, addressing size, traffic, unit affordability and environmental impacts at a community meeting in March. That meeting resulted in a downsizing of the project from the original 100-unit, three-story plan to its current 76-unit, two-story plan. The project is a partnership between the Oblates of St. Joseph and Minnesota-based development firm Oppidan.

Of the 76 units, 59 would be assisted-living units and 15 would be memory-care units, along with two affordable, or “inclusionary,” units. The project requires approval from the planning commission for a number of permits in order to:

  • reconfigure five lots into two;
  • demolish two existing school buildings (previously Gateway Elementary School) totaling 28,417 square feet;
  • remove six heritage trees;
  • construct the facility with associated site improvements.

As with other recent development proposals in the city of Santa Cruz, the development has been met with pushback, but exactly how much is unclear. One concern unique to this project: worry that high-priced units will favor a wealthier population — possibly made up of out-of-town retirees — over Santa Cruz residents.

The meeting, initially scheduled for Sept. 1, was delayed due to errors with public noticing.

Max Chun is the general-assignment correspondent at Lookout Santa Cruz. Max’s position has pulled him in many different directions, seeing him cover development, COVID, the opioid crisis, labor, courts...