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File #: 19-0217   
Type: Report to Board/Commission Status: Passed
Meeting Body: Planning Commission
On agenda: 3/11/2019
Title: Moffett Park Specific Plan Update Work Plan and Guiding Principles Project Planner: Michelle King, 408-730-7463, mking@sunnyvale.ca.gov
Attachments: 1. Reserved for City Council Report, 2. Google MPSP GPA letter, 3. Report to Planning Commission, 17-0947, 1-22-18, 4. Excerpt of Planning Commission Minutes, 1-22-18, 5. Report to City Council, 18-0100, 2-6-18, 6. Excerpt of City Council Minutes, 2-6-18, 7. Work Plan Moffett Park Specific Plan, 8. Staff Presentation 20190311 (19-0217)
Related files: 17-0947, 18-0100, 19-0375

REPORT TO PLANNING COMMISSION

SUBJECT

Title

Moffett Park Specific Plan Update Work Plan and Guiding Principles

Project Planner:

Michelle King, 408-730-7463, mking@sunnyvale.ca.gov

 

Report

BACKGROUND

 

A request for a General Plan Initiation (GPI) to consider updating the Moffett Park Specific Plan (MPSP) was submitted by Google on May 10, 2017.  The letter from Google, requesting the initiation, is Attachment 2, and includes no specific amount of building area or types of uses, but requests the GPI to “allow and encourage increased levels of density and a broader range of land uses than…are permitted under the current version of the MPSP.” There is no specific project included as part of the GPI request.

 

The Planning Commission considered the GPI request on January 22, 2018 and voted 5-0 (two Planning Commissioners recused) to recommend to the City Council to:

1) Initiate a General Plan/Specific Plan Amendment Study to consider amending the Moffett Park Specific Plan; and 2) Direct staff: a) to prepare a work plan and project description after initial community outreach and return to the Planning Commission for a recommendation and to the City Council for action, b) on any plan features that the City Council would like included or would not like included, and c) to commence work on the amendment studies only if fully paid for by the applicant(s) (Attachment 4).  The Planning Commission provided a list of specific issues they wanted addressed by future studies.

 

On February 6, 2018, the City Council voted 6-0 (one Councilmember recused) to initiate the amendment study (Attachment 6) in accordance with the Planning Commission recommendation (with minor amendments):

 

a)                     to prepare a work plan and project description after initial community outreach and return to the Planning Commission for a recommendation and to the City Council for action;

b)                     on any plan features that the City Council would like included or would not like included; and,

c)                     to commence work on the amendment studies only if fully paid for by the applicant(s).

 

The Planning Commission also provided a list of specific issues that should be addressed by future studies, if the General Plan Amendment study is initiated by the City Council. 

 

Subsequently, a limited-term Principal Planner was hired to manage the Specific Plan Amendment Process; this position was filled in August 2018.

 

Per the direction of City Council, staff has begun the process of the Moffett Park Specific Plan Amendment Study and has started the public outreach process.  This report includes the findings of the initial outreach as well as a work plan and schedule for the update.

 

This item is scheduled for City Council consideration on April 9, 2019.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW

 

Approval of the work plan is not a “project” that requires environmental review within the meaning of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) because it can be seen with certainty that the action will not have an environmental impact (CEQA Guidelines, Section 15061(b)(3)). Furthermore, Section 15262 of the CEQA Guidelines exempts feasibility and planning studies for possible future actions that have not yet been adopted, funded, or approved. It is expected an EIR will be prepared for any amendment of the MPSP. The EIR would be a robust study of the varying impacts that could result from the build-out expected from the amended MPSP. The EIR will include the noticing, process and elements required by CEQA.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Initial Public Outreach

This initial outreach process included interviews with 14 MPSP area stakeholders.  The individual interviews included 10 questions and were an hour in length. The stakeholders were made up of property and business owners within the Moffett Park area.  Questions were designed to gauge the individual interests and concerns with future development in Moffett Park.  Issues discussed included:

 

a.                     Increasing or decreasing the office/industrial development capacity

b.                     Allowing residential uses in the area

c.                     Developing a plan to provide a mix of uses to create a “village” in the plan area including retail and other supportive uses

d.                     Developing a plan for future transit, bike and pedestrian improvements

e.                     Challenges faced by property owners and operators within the specific plan area

 

Although the interviewees varied greatly in their interests within the plan area, support was consistent for the following:

 

                     Greater capacity for office and light industrial development

                     Multi-family housing in the park area together with uses to support residents

                     Improved infrastructure for all modes of travel, including bicycles and pedestrians

                     Increased transit service

                     Improved internet and public infrastructure

                     Greater connection to the Downtown and Mountain View

                     Greater connection to the Baylands Park and trails

                     Creating a sense of place for Moffett Park

 

The interviewees also expressed the importance of operating in Sunnyvale and Silicon Valley for its proximity to the workforce talent, critical to emerging technology. 

 

In general, this group had questions and concerns about planning for the following:

 

                     Transportation and traffic

                     Potential conflict of old and new uses

                     Economic and industry diversity within the plan area

                     Retaining and recruiting employees

                     Planning for sea level rise

 

Guiding Principles

 

Staff recommends the use of the following principles for the Moffett Park Specific Plan update. The process will include a potential updated land use plan and corresponding policies and programs for zoning, design guidelines, parking standards, streetscape design, circulation and open space requirements. 

 

                     Inform the public about the planning process through a comprehensive community involvement strategy

 

                     Update of the land use plan and policy framework within the plan area to consider the potential economic impacts of adding housing while directing growth toward transit supportive uses and improvements

 

                     Improvement of vehicular, pedestrian, bicycle and transit connectivity between transit and existing and future adjacent commercial and residential areas within Moffett Park and with other adjacent areas of the City and other jurisdictions

 

                     Development and implementation of urban design standards for streets, streetscapes, buildings and open space, which promote walkable and livable environments within the project area

 

                     Redefine the Moffett Park Specific Plan area by integrating the economic, land use, environmental and public infrastructure policy framework into a plan for an “Ecological and Innovation District”

 

                     Preparation of an implementation strategy to plan for and finance the needed infrastructure and services to support the new and expanded uses for the plan area

 

                     Preparation of a program level environmental impact report (EIR including technical studies for economics, traffic, air quality, and infrastructure)

 

 

Process for Updating the Specific Plan

 

In accordance with the Office of Planning and Research Guidelines for updating a Specific Plan, staff will follow a structured process for revision and review consisting of the following phases:

 

1.                     Setting objectives

2.                     Research and analysis

3.                     Outreach and coordination

4.                     Planning and policy

5.                     EIR preparation

6.                     Public review

7.                     Adoption

8.                     Implementation

 

Work Plan

 

The detailed Work Plan is presented in Attachment 7. The following sections provide an overview of the proposed Work Plan which includes four phases. 

 

Phase 1: Preliminary Land Use and Community Involvement. The first phase will include the development of a background report and base maps that address potential opportunities and constraints within the plan area.  Reports will include market analysis, fiscal analysis, capacity studies for utilities and transportation, etc. Maps will include existing uses, hazardous materials locations, physical features (e.g., storm channels), current and future flood levels/sea levels, etc. These reports and maps will be used to facilitate community conversations about what land uses and improvements would be desired in the plan area.  From this work, at least two potential land use scenarios with varying uses and intensity would be developed. Prior to proceeding with additional analysis and outreach, the study alternatives will be presented to the Planning Commission and City Council for conceptual approval.

 

Phase 1 includes a robust public outreach effort (that continues throughout the process) with both focused workshops as well as broad community engagement.

Focused workshops may be:

                     Issue-based topics such as community safety, recreation, education, commercial services and circulation to and around Moffett Park.

                     Land-use based to identify desirable amounts or locations of various land uses being considered.

                     A combination of issues and land uses

 

Engagement will include a webpage with study information, online surveys, and staff attendance at business and neighborhood association meetings. Formal outreach will be held in a variety of venues and times of day to reach business and residential community members as well as other governmental agencies and advocacy groups.

 

All City departments delivering services to the public will have input and review during the update process. Internal service departments (e.g., Information Technology, Human Resources) of the City will have minor roles in the update process. Boards and Commission will also be kept up to date and study sessions will be held to solicit feedback throughout the process.

 

Phase 2: Research and Analysis. The second phase will utilize the results of the technical studies and existing conditions while developing potential land use and circulation scenarios. The research and analysis phase will bring together multiple points of data and technical studies so that decision makers can consider all the aspects of potential land use changes.  In addition, the technical studies will inform the development of the land use and circulation alternatives for the environmental review phase as well as the preliminary urban design, streetscape, and open space standards. A land use plan, to be used as the basis of the CEQA documents (sometimes titled the preferred alternatives), will be presented to the Planning Commission and City Council at the end of Phase 2.

 

Phase 3: Plan Update and Environmental Review. This phase will use the analysis and technical research combined with the input from the public and decision makers to develop an update to the specific plan.  The update will cover all elements of the specific plan including land use (e.g., office, light industrial, retail and housing), transportation, parking, public services, public benefits, mobility, design, streetscapes, open space and implementation.  The second task in Phase 3 is the Environmental Impact Report that will assess the potential impacts of the draft, examine alternatives and potential mitigations.

 

Phase 4: Adoption and Implementation. The final phase will include the formal public review and public hearing processes for consideration of adoption of the final plan, the final EIR and the Zoning Code and other implementing documents. Informal or formal feedback will be requested from all Boards and Commissions (except the Personnel Board and the Board of Building Code Appeals).

 

Once consultants have been retained for the work a detailed schedule will be developed and shared.

 

FISCAL IMPACT

There is no fiscal impact to the City. The City Council authorized the commencement of the work on this amendment in February 2018 with the condition that costs were fully paid for by the General Plan Amendment Initiation applicant, Google Inc. and/or additional interested parties. The fee for services includes all aspects of the amendment including in-house staff, related studies, and environmental review.

 

Public Contact

Public contact was made through posting the agenda on the City’s official-notice bulletin board on the City’s website and the agenda and report were made available in the Reference Section of the Public Library.  Notices were sent to all property owners and tenants within Moffett Park and within 2,000 feet of the MPSP boundary (estimated 3,572 notices); email messages with notices were sent to all neighborhood associations, interested parties. Notice was also sent to the Moffett Park Business Group.

 

ALTERNATIVES

Recommend to City Council:

1.                     Approve the Guiding Principles, outlined in the staff report and the Work Plan (Attachment 7 to this report) for the update of the Moffett Park Specific Plan and direct staff to proceed with the understanding that the budget for the plan is funded by the initial applicant and/or other parties interested in the completion of the plan update.

2.                     Approve the Guiding Principles and Work Plan with modifications.

3.                     Do not approve the Guiding Principles and Work Plan as submitted and provide direction to staff on revisions to the Guiding Principles and Work Plan.

 

STAFF RECOMMENDATION

Recommendation

Recommend to City Council Alternative 1: Approve the Guiding Principles, outlined in the staff report and the Work Plan (Attachment 7 to the report) for the update of the Moffett Park Specific Plan and direct staff to proceed with the understanding that the budget for the plan is funded by initial applicant and/or other parties interested in the completion of the plan update.

Staff is recommending the Guiding Principles to help direct the plan update and recommends approving the Work Plan which outlines four major areas for the study. The Work Plan incorporates feedback from the preliminary outreach to Moffett Park stakeholders and a few key agencies (Valley Water, Valley Transportation Agency).

 

In the February 2018 Report to Council, it was contemplated that preliminary land uses would be presented in the Work Plan. Staff is recommending further study before presenting land use options to the City Council and will return to the Planning Commission and City Council with land use scenarios for further study and to select the study alternative for the EIR. At this preliminary phase of the study, staff is recommending that residential uses be included in the Study; however, the actual appropriateness and possible numbers will be based on the market, fiscal, and capacity analyses.

 

Staff

Prepared by: Michelle King, Principal Planner

Reviewed by: Trudi Ryan, Director of Community Development

Reviewed by: Teri Silva, Assistant City Manager

Approved by: Kent Steffens, City Manager

 

ATTACHMENTS  

1.                     Not Used (Reserved for Report to Council)

2.                     Google MPSP GPA letter

3.                     Report to Planning Commission 17-0947, January 22, 2018 (without attachments)

4.                     Excerpt of Planning Commission Minutes, January 22, 2018

5.                     Report to City Council 18-0100, February 6, 2018 (without attachments)

6.                     Excerpt of City Council Minutes, February 6, 2018

7.                     Work Plan for Moffett Park Specific Plan Update