An overflow crowd attended the City Council meeting to speak both for, and against, the proposed Alameda Plaza gas station/commercial center project and about the appeal of the Leal Vineyards of the mitigations of the project.
Dan De Vries, attorney for Leal Vineyards, spoke of his concern that there was no traffic study done along with several other mitigations which he felt did not amount to a negative declaration. City Manager and City Planner, Roger Grimsley, replied to Mr. De Vries, that there had been a traffic study which he could find included in the city files.
John McCormack, real estate broker for the Alameda Plaza project, gave his presentation to the City Council and noted the careful planning, the incorporation of the community's ideas and his belief that the two projects could work together. To download Alameda Plaza Powerpoint click here.
Several residents of the area spoke passionately about their beliefs that the project was not a good choice for the location at the corner of Highway 156 and The Alameda in San Juan Bautista, due to traffic concerns and the impact of the proposed gas station on their quality of life. Several said that they had not been notified of the project.
San Juan resident Richard Ponce spoke in support of the Alameda Plaza on behalf of the San Juan Committee of the San Benito County Chamber of Commerce and expressed his concern of stagnation in San Juan. Mr. Ponce read an extensive list of local businesses which have closed in the past few years.
Trish Paetz, the Deputy City Clerk, read an email from the San Benito County Chamber of Commerce in support of both projects and a letter from resident/local business operator Larry Gerbrandt, in support of the the proposed gas station project.
Several people spoke about their concern of children crossing the intersection, and the speed of approaching traffic coming down the hill. There was also concern about the flooding in the area which happens periodlically in heavy runoff coming down from the lower San Juan Canyon area.
The City Council listened to the public's concerns and expressed their own perspectives on the project and expressed the need for increased income for the City to do repairs and pay expenses.
Councilmembers expressed that both projects were worthy projects and expressed the hope that both projects could work together to the benefit of San Juan Bautista.