City of San Jose Planning Dept.
801 N. First Street, Room 400
San Jose, CA 95110
cc: Judy Chirco, SJ Councilmember, Dist. 9
Ken Yeager, SJ Councilmember, Dist. 6
Larry Goldstein, 9th District NAC
Rhonda Hansen, 9th District NAC
Joseph Horwedel, SJ Planning Dept.
Mike Enderby, SJ Planning Dept.
Subject: Hacienda Gardens Shopping Center Revitalization, #PD03-038
Dear Mr. Baty,
The Willow Glen Neighborhood Association (WGNA) is most interested in the development plans for the revitalization of the Hacienda Gardens Shopping Center. We also recognize the extensive efforts of the 9th District Neighborhood Action Committee (NAC) over the last few years to work with the developer and the city to achieve a development that will truly enhance the community. The portion of the site North of Foxworthy is within the direct boundaries of the WGNA. The portion south of Foxworthy, although outside of Willow Glen proper, will have a significant impact on our community, hopefully for the better. We are generally pleased with the current plans, but we do have some concerns we would like to have addressed.
The plans in general are a distinct improvement over the current situation. The new facades and layout of the redesigned commercial shopping center south of Foxworthy, with the proposed stucco walls and tile roof, represent a significant improvement over the current appearance of the shopping center. The new shops along Meridian and Foxworthy will separate much of the parking lot from the street, providing a much-improved pedestrian environment and an enhanced appearance of the development from the street.
Our concerns respecting expected revised plans to be soon submitted to the Planning Department are as follows:
Š 9th District Neighborhood Committee Concerns - Adequately address the concerns of the 9th District Neighborhood Action Committee set forth in their communication of 10-21-03 regarding landscaping, signage, safety aspects of the proposed added driveway on Foxworthy, and the handling of the residential 'garports'.
Š Consistency of Design & Quality - Address the concern of the neighborhood committee regarding consistency of roofing materials and slope. Roofs of the residential portion and the commercial north of Foxworthy are shown as composition rather than tile. Tile roofs are shown on the planned commercial development south of Foxworthy. High quality and similar roof materials would provide an aesthetic consistency and a design caliber deserving of this commercial site that has deteriorated over the years. As stated in the San Jose Commercial Design Guidelines (p. 13): “Roof forms and materials should be stylistically consistent with the overall design theme of the building.”
Š Buildings Placed at the Front Setback Line - The commercial/residential development north of Foxworthy shows an approximately 80 foot wide parking lot continuing on the Meridian street frontage approximately 360 feet north from a point just south of the Bank of America building (which is to remain). It would better screen the parking and immensely improve the streetscape and pedestrian friendliness along Meridian to move the proposed new commercial structures (buildings 9 & 10) to the street frontage and move the parking to the interior of the site adjoining other new parking shown there. The design appearance would be greatly improved with virtually no adverse impact on developed square footage or parking capacity. Such an approach would also be consistent with the city's own Commercial Design Guidelines (p.9): “Buildings should generally be placed at their front setback lines in order to define and enliven the streets… On larger commercial sites such as shopping centers, a portion of the total building area should be located at the front setback line. Such siting, together with substantial landscape treatment, reinforces and strengthens the streetscape, and helps to screen off-street parking areas.”
Š Mitigation of Impact on the Surrounding Community – Given the potential impact on recreational demand at nearby Kirk Park from 299 new residences, the noise impacts from 24 hour operations (Cardinal, Rite-Aid and Albertson's), and new traffic patterns in the Foxworthy/Meridian corridors, we expect the development to be conditioned to mitigate these impacts on the community to the maximum extent feasible.
Š Future Development of PW and gas station parcels on Foxworthy - The PW and gas station parcels that are not a part of this development will detract from the enhancement to this area that the shopping center revitalization brings unless improvements are made to them in the near future. These parcels abruptly divide the proposed redevelopment along most of Foxworthy Avenue. Special concern relates to the adverse appearance of the large parking area fronting on Meridian between the Bank of America and the gas station on the north side of Foxworthy. Given the great surplus of parking spaces in this lot (a nearby resident on our Board cannot recall seeing more than a quarter of the spaces filled), it is a prime candidate for redevelopment.
We appreciate the time and effort put in by the developer, neighborhood committee and city Planning staff into the design for this project. We welcome this development and the opportunity it presents to enhance a deteriorated portion of San Jose.