The city planning commission this week begins seriously grappling with the pros and cons of building 84 homes on the Aviza property, currently zoned for light industrial.

PLEASE NOTE: The image being used is a general location image and do not depict the actual project property boundaries, but are more of a general location description.

City planners say the multi-faceted issue may take two meetings to sort through. The first gathering is scheduled for 6 p.m., Thursday, June 13, at the council chambers at city hall.

The initial step is to recommend or deny rezoning 29.6-acres of the 43.4-acre parcel at 440 Kings Village Road. Specifically, the question before the planning commission is, Should the project site be amended from light industrial and rural residential to residential medium high density and open space?

Planners say they will take information gathered at the June 13 meeting and return as early as July 11 for formal action.

• AVIZA Site Owners Looking to Rezone and Build Homes on Property (includes video interview with project designer)

The Scotts Valley City Council will have the final say on the matter. If they vote to rezone the land, that change will be amended in the city’s general plan.

With the state pressuring cities statewide to build more housing there is little doubt that additional housing stock would be beneficial to residents, if it is priced within reach of workers such as teachers, firemen and policemen.

Affordable housing worries groups such as Affordable Housing Now!, which submitted a letter to the planning commission.

”While in most of the City a project like this would require a minimum number of units (at least 15 percent) be provided at affordable prices, this site does not fall within the area where those inclusionary rules apply,” wrote Tim Willoughby, the group’s chairperson.

However, if 84 housing units are approved on the land, planners say about 224 residents could call the Aviza property home. And with that change comes increased traffic.

“All impacts would be reduced to less-than-significant levels with one exception: transportation/circulation, under cumulative conditions, would be (and would remain) significant and unavoidable,” according to a planning staff report.

Most impacted would be the intersection of Mt. Hermon Road/La Madrona Drive and Highway 17 south. During afternoon peak hours, the traffic levels in that area would fall to level of service F.

At level of service F, a road is in a constant traffic jam.

The intersection of Scotts Valley Drive and Mt. Hermon Road, where new signals were recently installed, would also be severely impacted.

Another comment received by the planning commission involved traffic increases on surface streets near the entrance of the proposed development across from Sky Park.

“While any use of the Aviza property will add traffic, a multi-residential use will surely add more as residents go to and from their homes for work, school children, shopping and other activities,” wrote resident Richard Bayer. “I consider this to be a very dangerous situation for the city to take on and a massive expense for the city or developer…I urge you to demand a major traffic analysis and safety plan before taking action on this proposal.”

The draft environmental impact report identified six intersections that would constitute most of the proposed project-generated traffic and where those impacts would occur.

For a detail planning commission agenda for June 13, go to

David Leland
David is a local resident, a writer, MSV Columnist and a heck of a nice guy who cares about our commUNITY