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[whitespace] San Tomas area residents react strongly to city's proposed changes to neighborhood plan

Campbell--A crowded Saturday morning at a local bakery would have provided more order than the meeting between Campbell city staff and the residents of the San Tomas neighborhood that took place last Thursday at the Capri School cafeteria.

People in the estimated 110-plus crowd desperately waved their hands to get the attention of Bob Kass, the city's director of public works, only to receive a number to wait and speak. Perhaps frustrated with the Q&A format, several audience members spoke in hushed circles in the back.

"This is not a debate," said the city's community development director, Steve Piasecki, to a woman who was shouting her demands .

The reason for all the temporary insanity: proposed changes by city staff to the San Tomas Area Neighborhood Association Plan. The latest controversy is nothing new to the bucolic area, which was annexed to Campbell from Santa Clara County in the early '80s.

Late in August, residents of the area received a newsletter from the city. City staff informed residents of a neighborhood meeting to highlight new changes to the STANP, which was adopted by the city in 1993. The newsletter outlines the proposed changes, which were divided into categories: neighborhood meeting information and background; recommendation for new and existing streets; street listings by categories; streets or street segments meeting the criteria under the STANP for curbs, gutters, sidewalks or rolled curbs; single-family home additions (including floor area ratio); and questions and answers.

"The purpose of the meeting was to present staff's recommendations regarding proposed revisions to the San Tomas plan, to outline the public hearing process and to answer questions," said Steve Piasecki, the city's community development director.

Although there was no action taken, Piasecki wants to assure residents that changes to the plan are only minor adjustments.

"We're not at odds with the desire that we retain the semi-rural area of San Tomas," Piasecki said Friday. "If anybody disagreed [with the revisions to the plan], we wanted them to understand that they register their opinions so they can bring it to the Planning Commission's or City Council's attention."

The staff will prepare a report--including any letters of concern or gripes from residents about the revisions--for the Planning Commission for a tentative meeting in November. The City Council will look at the issue this January.

"The vast majority of people don't want any of the changes," says San Tomas resident Karen Pruitt, who was at the meeting. "For the most part, people want their streets the way they are. We've been through this stuff in the past."
Genevieve Roja

Next week: City staff tackle the big issues: street projects, single-family home additions, floor area ratio, and more.

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Web extra to the October 7-13, 1999 issue of Metro.

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