Letter to the editor: Keeley’s plan for downtown is not new; give credit where it is due

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To the editor:

Mayoral candidate Fred Keeley released a statement that he will support only 12-story buildings and a grand total of 20% affordable housing (including density bonus units) in new housing development in downtown Santa Cruz and environs.

The current planning commission, including Sean Maxwell (running against Renée Golder for the District 6 city council seat), already created similar height limit recommendations (not higher than our highest building), which were forwarded to the city council back in May. Those plans included the 1,600-unit maximum Keeley is promoting.

These recommendations were ignored by the council majority — including two current candidates for elected office, Golder and Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson — who voted instead to move forward with 17-story buildings for the downtown environmental impact report.

The planning commission’s “objective standards” recommendations (July 21) also outlined affordable housing minimums at 20% of “grand total” construction.

The council vote on these standards was delayed until after the coming election. This should be known to voters because Keeley claims he is responding to broad public sentiment about building heights. Regarding who is listening more to developers who might be funding campaigns versus what our community really wants and needs, it is important to check the public record, and give credit where credit is due.

Ami Chen Mills
Santa Cruz