Big Wave story poles up; Next hearing Weds, Oct 27

Lisa Ketcham
Big Wave project viewed from intersection of Stanford and Airport in Princeton.
Lisa Ketcham
Four of the eight proposed office buidlings viewed from Airport Street toward Pillar Ridge mobile home community. Note the relative size of single-story mobile homes in the distance.
Lisa Ketcham
Wellness center viewed from West Point Ave. auxilliary parking lot.
Lisa Ketcham

Posted by on Fri, October 22, 2010

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story had in incorrect date for the meeting.

The story poles for some of the Big Wave buildings have gone up in advance of next Wednesday’s hearing on the Final Environmental Impact report.  Lisa Ketcham photographed the the structures and enhanced them to make the more visible in these photos. Lisa says, "The middle 4 office buildings are represented by tape laid out on the ground.  There’s no indication of the other sections of Wellness Center."

FEIR hearing on Big Wave: Oct 27, 6 p.m. at El Granada School.

Lennie Roberts of the Committee for Green Foothills sent us the following update on Wednesday’s hearing:

The hearing on October 27 is not just on the FEIR but also the Planning Commission will be considering approval of the entire project - other necessary actions to approve include:

  • Use Permit for the developmentally disabled adult housing that they have to call a "sanitarium" because housing is not an allowable use in the Waterfront Zoning District
  • Major Subdivision for the Office Park (into 10 parcels)
  • Coastal Development Permit for 8 Office Park buildings with 640 parking spaces,  2 Wellness Center buildings with 50 parking spaces, a mutual water service company, and a community wastewater treatment and recycling system
  • Design Review Permit for the structures and grading
  • Off-Street Parking Exception to allow 640 parking spaces where 737 are required
  • Grading Permit for 26,000 cubic yards
  • Development Agreement that allows the applicants 20 years to complete the project


The developer says the front row of office buildings is 2-story, 36 ft tall, and the back 4 buildings will be 3-story, 46 ft. tall.  Note that the 2-story warehouse to the north of Pillar Ridge Community is just 23 ft tall.

The proposed 20-yr Development Agreement states the application to develop was submitted to the County in October 2005.  At two introductory public meetings the project was presented as 2-story office buildings, 156,000 sq.ft.  Building permit application dated 11/24/08 states 156,000 sq.ft. office park.  It wasn’t until Jan 2009 that the office park jumped to 3-stories, 225,000 sq.ft.  Now when we ask why the previous alternative isn’t being considered as the environmentally preferred alternative, they say it’s too small, not economically feasible!

No matter how big a project is, in my 3 decades of experience with these things (13 years in Southern California and 16 years here), every developer says that making their project smaller isn’t economically feasible.

I understand why Lisa enhanced the photos, but one of the issues with consideration of this project is inadequate story poles.  In the actual scene, at least on our typical overcast days, the story poles and particularly the horizontal top wires are nearly invisible.  That’s why orange netting is required for story poles.  Why wasn’t it required for these?  Staff’s decision.  I understand from a very knowledgeable source that the story pole requirements such as orange netting is a staff-level policy, and they could have required the applicant to put up the orange netting.  But that would make it more easily apparent how huge this project is.

I’d also like to see side-by-side photos of what it looks like without the buildings (just use the original photos since the story poles are so invisible) alongside a copy of the photo with the space between story poles where the buildings would be completely filled in with a solid color.

Comment 4
Fri, October 22, 2010 9:46pm
KL Cooke
All my comments

Anyone familiar with the Princeton area can see that the roads cannot handle the level of traffic estimated for the office park.  The the Final EIR “papers over” this with future traffic studies to be conducted after the buildings are occupied, and a vague plan to reduce the number of cars as a last resort.  How the latter will be mandated or accomplished is not stated.

A civil engineering study should be required to determine the access upgrade needed to accommodate the traffic, with the construction cost, including eminent domain, to be carried by the developer as part of the project.

Not doing so would be irresponsible, considering the likely bottleneck in the event of a tsunami evacuation, with disastrous results that could include the residents of the wellness center.