21025 E. Boronda Road, Salinas, CA 93906
Post Office Box 1876, Salinas, CA 93902
and Council Members, City of Salinas
Chair and Members, Salinas Planning Commission
City of Salinas, Salinas City Hall
200 Lincoln Avenue
Salinas, CA 93901
Traditional Neighborhood Design Principles For Proposed Future Growth
Mayor Caballero and Council Members, and Members of the Planning
are writing to urge the Planning Commission to recommend and the
City Council to adopt the attached policies, which are needed to
establish Traditional Neighborhood Design principles to be followed
within the Future Growth Areas designated in the Salinas General
Plan. The proposed additional policies explain how Traditional
Neighborhood Development (sometimes known as New Urbanism)
will take place within such Future Growth Areas. LandWatch Monterey
County and Creekbridge Homes have jointly developed these policies,
and we jointly recommend them to you as the minimum policies needed
to guide the Citys future growth in the positive, healthy
direction the new General Plan envisions.
recently-released Public Hearing Draft of the Salinas General Plan
states: New Urbanism principles were used to design a land
use plan that is compact and pedestrian-friendly, with a mixture
of higher density uses surrounding activity centers/neighborhood
focal points. Both Creekbridge Homes and LandWatch Monterey
County applaud this statement and the positive endorsement by the
Citizens Advisory Committee, the Planning Commission, and the City
Council of Traditional Neighborhood Design and New Urbanism principles.
We also believe, however, that the best way to translate that endorsement
into real change is to augment the current General Plan language,
by adding specific policy statements that will clarify how the City
expects to achieve the Traditional Neighborhood Development the
Draft General Plan envisions. These additional policies will help
ensure that Future Growth Areas in fact develop according to the
principles of New Urbanism and Traditional Neighborhood Design.
attached policies, supported by Creekbridge Homes and LandWatch
Monterey County, will help achieve all of the following objectives:
efficient land use, minimizing agricultural land lost to urban
and pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods
mixture of higher density uses surrounding activity centers
density residential uses surrounding retail, recreational, and
physical design that will reduce the number of vehicle trips generated
by the new development
mixture of housing types that will result in neighborhoods of
diverse economic background, rather than segregating different
economic groups in isolated neighborhoods
LandWatch and Creekbridge may have additional comments on the most
recent draft of the Salinas General Plan, these recommendations
on Traditional Neighborhood Design are presented jointly by Creekbridge
and LandWatch to highlight the strong diverse support Traditional
Neighborhood Development has, and to emphasize how important it
is to include such specific policy language within the final General
Plan document in order to ensure that the future growth areas achieve
the goals of the City.
the proposed specific policy language within the General Plan, it
is likely that very little of the development within the Future
Growth Areas will result in neighborhoods that truly embody the
principles of New Urbanism and Traditional Neighborhood Design.
we are to move away from the long-established policies and regulations
which have imbedded suburban sprawl into our codes and practices,
the Council must give the City staff, future developers, and all
of the other diverse participants in the growth process, clear guidance
on how to achieve a healthier, more livable, more sustainable method
of creating new neighborhoods.
of the residents of our valley owe the participants involved in
the drafting of this General Plan a debt of gratitude for guiding
the City towards a Traditional Neighborhood Development growth pattern.
With the inclusion of the attached policies in the final General
Plan document we will have a clear vision of our future incorporated
into our General Plan which all of the residents of Salinas can
support. Naturally, both Creekbridge Homes and LandWatch Monterey
County would be happy to respond to your questions and comments.
We will look forward to participating in the public hearing process,
and to supporting the adoption of a strong, effective plan for the
future growth and development of the City of Salinas.
A. Patton, Executive Director
LandWatch Monterey County
DiMaggio, Vice President
Fitz, Deputy Director
LandWatch Monterey County
PROPOSED TO BE INCLUDED IN THE SALINAS GENERAL PLAN, CLARIFYING
HOW TRADITIONAL NEIGHBORHOOD DEVELOPMENT WILL TAKE PLACE WITHIN
FUTURE GROWTH AREAS
The Salinas General Plan Land Use Map indicates future growth areas.
Prior to permitting any development within a future growth area,
the City shall approve a Specific Plan for that area, which shall
identify the most appropriate location for all land uses within
the Specific Plan area. The Specific Plan for each future growth
area shall be consistent with the principles of traditional neighborhood
development set forth in the policies below.
Charrettes are strongly encouraged in the early part of the process
in drafting a Specific Plan to ensure effective public participation
in the planning process and to ensure that traditional neighborhood
development principles are properly employed.
New developments within each future growth area shall be made up
of one or more neighborhoods. Each neighborhood shall
follow a transect of land uses from an urban neighborhood center
to a parkway edge.
Each neighborhood center shall be defined by and shall be required
to have the following urban characteristics:
A civic or public open space such as a plaza or green shall be
located in the neighborhood center.
Retail space, office space, and residential uses shall be located
in the neighborhood center, often in multi-use buildings.
Except for schools, Institutional uses should also be located
in the neighborhood center.
Streets in the neighborhood center shall be thoroughly interconnected
with the surrounding street system to provide easy, multiple accesses
for cars, pedestrians, and bicycles.
All buildings in the neighborhood center shall be permitted to
satisfy their parking requirements with spaces located both on-and
off-street within 1/8 mile of the building. All off-street parking
shall be placed behind or under buildings in order to present
a continuous building façade to the public street.
Each neighborhood or group of neighborhoods within each future growth
area shall provide for a mix of housing, workplaces, retail, and
institutional uses including schools, and shall include land designated
for public parks/recreation.
Development within each future growth area shall be consistent with
the following policies:
The outer edge of development in each neighborhood shall not be
more than 15 minutes walk from the neighborhood center.
The average housing densities within blocks shall decrease from
neighborhood center to neighborhood edge (transect).
neighborhood edge shall be bordered either by a natural corridor,
a landscaped buffer adjacent to arterials, or the edge of an adjacent
neighborhood across a pedestrian-friendly boulevard or parkway;
sound walls should not be allowed.
In order to preserve prime agricultural land, and to achieve the
other benefits of compact urban design, new neighborhoods shall
be required to achieve a minimum average density of 9 units per
net residential developable acre, exclusive of open space, parks,
schools, streets and other non-developable areas.
New residential developments shall not achieve the required average
density of 9 units per net residential developable acre through
an exclusive mix of low-density and high-density units. At least
40% of the housing units in new residential developments shall be
of housing types that fall within the range of 7-14 units per net
residential developable acre.
Residential developers shall be encouraged to design new residential
developments with as many discreet lot sizes and housing types as
is feasible, in the interest of offering a greater number of choices
across the broad range of housing prices. Several lot sizes and
housing types within each block shall be encouraged, to provide
variety and texture within the block, as well as throughout each
neighborhood. Clustering a large group of any single housing type
in several large blocks shall be avoided.
The street network within each future growth area shall have the
Traffic shall be channeled from major arterials around groups
of neighborhoods on boulevards which shall have a maximum of two
travel lanes and a bike lane in each direction with a large 20
to 30 landscaped median. The center medians shall allow
access to every neighborhood street. Large lot homes with large
front setbacks and garage access only from rear alleys shall face
onto the boulevards.
Parkways may be used to channel traffic from major arterials and
boulevards to, but not through, neighborhood commercial centers.
Each parkway shall have one narrow travel lane and a bike lane
in each direction, with a large 20 to 30 landscaped
median. The center medians shall allow access to every neighborhood
street. Homes with garage access only from rear alleys shall face
onto the parkways. The front setbacks shall progressively decrease
as residential areas approach the neighborhood center.
Each neighborhood shall be connected in as many locations as possible
to the parkways and boulevards to disburse and calm the traffic
as it leaves and enters the residential neighborhood. Collector
street systems shall not be allowed.
Open spaces, schools, parks and other natural amenities shall
be fronted by streets or public spaces, and shall not be privatized
Gated single-family home communities shall not be
Individual blocks should generally average less than 600 feet
in length and less than 1800 feet in perimeter, measured at the
right of way line.
Cul-de-sacs shall be avoided unless natural terrain conditions
The street network shall be thoroughly interconnected.
Streets in the neighborhood commercial center shall have parking
on both sides. Head in and angle parking is preferred in the commercial
center with a maximum of two 12-foot travel lanes.
In order to slow traffic, standard residential streets shall be
no more than 32 feet wide with parking on both sides in the last
block before the street connects to a parkway or boulevard, and
shall be reduced in stages to 28 feet or less with parking on
both sides once away from the parkways and boulevards. In addition,
the corner curb radius shall be no more then 10 feet where the
neighborhood streets connect to the parkways and boulevards and
shall not exceed 4 feet elsewhere within the neighborhoods.
Rear alleys shall be strongly encouraged. Rear alleys must be
paved and landscaped and must be maintained by a landscape and
lighting district, or comparable, permanent financing mechanism.