HOUSING

Watsonville housing project due in 2024

A rendering of the under-construction development on Miles Lane shows a person jogging on a sidewalk and greenery between multiple apartment buildings.

A rendering shows designs for 72 homes under construction on Miles Lane in Watsonville. (MidPen Housing)

Several updates have been made to Santa Cruz Local’s housing and construction page

  • 141 Miles Lane, Watsonville: Construction of 72 homes is expected to finish in 2024, a MidPen Housing representative said. Prospective tenants can sign up to be contacted when applications open.
  • 314 Jessie St., Santa Cruz: A four-story, 50-unit supportive housing project is under construction and expected to finish in early 2025.
  • Highway 1 construction: Three phases of Highway 1 work will add auxiliary lanes, bus-on-shoulder areas, new bridges for cyclists and walkers and Segment 12 of the Coastal Rail Trail.

Read Santa Cruz Local’s housing and construction page

—Stephen Baxter

Fifty units of affordable housing are under construction at 314 Jessie St. in Santa Cruz. (Nik Altenberg — Santa Cruz Local)

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SANTA CRUZ CITY COUNCIL

City could require options to tip delivery drivers

A FedEx truck is parked on an uphill street in front of a wall covered in ivy

Potential city rules could require some delivery companies to give customers the option to tip drivers. (Jesse Kathan — Santa Cruz Local)

1:25 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 10 / Online and and at 809 Center St., Santa Cruz

The Santa Cruz City Council on Tuesday is expected to consider new rules that would require some delivery companies to provide a way to tip drivers. 

Companies that deliver food or packages would give customers the option to tip during checkout, in text or email delivery notifications, or with instructions on or inside the package. 

The rule would not apply to:

  • The U.S. Postal Service.
  • Companies with six or fewer employees.
  • Independent contractors, including drivers for some app-based services such as Uber Eats.
  • Business-to-business delivery drivers.
  • Unionized drivers whose contracts already address tipping.

The city would not enforce the ordinance, according to a city staff report. Instead, delivery drivers whose employers do not follow the rule could sue the company.

—Jesse Kathan

Santa Cruz transportation plan to be updated

An updated active transportation plan would include city trails, sidewalks, and bike lanes. (Stephen Baxter — Santa Cruz Local)

The Santa Cruz City Council on Tuesday is expected to accept a $384,973 grant from the California Department of Transportation to update its Active Transportation Plan.

The city’s 2017 Active Transportation Plan tried to increase safety for walkers and cyclists. The updated plan would draw on the Vision Zero framework, an effort aimed at eliminating traffic deaths. It would include a prioritized list of potential future projects to improve city walkways and bikeways.

—Jesse Kathan

To participate: Join on Zoom or call 833-548-0276, meeting ID  946 8440 1344. To comment ahead of the meeting, email [email protected] by 5:00 p.m. Monday. The meeting will be streamed on Community TV.

WATSONVILLE CITY COUNCIL

Watsonville leaders to consider Downtown plan

Watsonville’s Downtown Specific Plan aims to promote new housing and businesses. (Stephen Baxter — Santa Cruz Local file)

4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 10 / Online and at 275 Main St., Watsonville

The Watsonville City Council on Tuesday is set to consider new long-term plans for Downtown. An October draft of the Downtown Specific Plan aims to:

  • Encourage more multifamily housing, including mixed-use developments. The highest densities are planned for the center of the city, with smaller-scale developments near single-family neighborhoods.
  • Encourage new businesses including retail, restaurants and entertainment. 
  • Attract office workers to support Downtown businesses.
  • Partner with nonprofit groups and affordable-housing developers to preserve existing affordable housing.
  • Improve walkability on Downtown streets.  

To participate: Join on Zoom or call 669-254-5252, meeting ID 160 466 1504. To comment ahead of the meeting, email [email protected] by 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

HOUSING

Panel discussions on affordable housing

Panel discussions on affordable housing will take place Oct. 14 at London Nelson Community Center in Santa Cruz. (Stephen Baxter — Santa Cruz Local file)

9:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14 / London Nelson Community Center, 301 Center St., Room 3, Santa Cruz

Three panel discussions about affordable housing in Santa Cruz County will take place at an Oct. 14 event at London Nelson Community Center in Santa Cruz.

The event is hosted by Our Downtown, Our Future, the group behind the Measure O campaign in 2022 that tried to halt the Downtown library plan. The event is geared toward residents and policymakers to learn about housing and open a dialogue on the issue. Santa Cruz Mayor Fred Keeley is expected to make opening remarks.

Panel One, How did we get here? 9:50-11:10 a.m.:  

  • Gabriel Sanders, director of housing and community development policy for the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership.
  • Gary Patton, former Santa Cruz County supervisor.
  • Miriam Greenberg, UC Santa Cruz sociology professor.
  • Elena Losada, UCSC sociology doctoral candidate. 
  • Julian Crown, UCSC undergraduate and researcher.

Panel Two, Where are we at? 11:15 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.

  • Elaine Johnson, executive director of the advocacy group Housing Santa Cruz County.
  • Emerald Waters, president of the UCSC Student Housing Coalition.
  • Lira Filippini, lead of Catalysts for Local Control and co-chair of Our Downtown, Our Future.

Panel Three, Where do we go from here? 1:30-2:40 p.m.

  • Tom Stagg, chief initiatives officer for Housing Matters.
  • Diana Alfaro, lead of Santa Cruz YIMBY Action.
  • Bruce Van Allen, former Santa Cruz mayor.

—Stephen Baxter

To participate: Tickets are online for $0-$25 on a sliding scale. The event takes place at London Nelson Community Center, 301 Center St., Room 3, Santa Cruz.

HOMELESSNESS

County leaders launch homeless-services online dashboard

Santa Cruz County has launched a dashboard for housing and homelessness data. It aims to draw connections between the county’s lack of housing production and homelessness, as well as highlight county efforts to provide services and links to affordable housing.

The dashboard includes:

  • Housing production and population growth figures in Santa Cruz County. Since 1980, the county has added nearly 80,000 people and about 26,000 homes, according to the dashboard.
  • A map of completed and anticipated affordable housing developments in unincorporated Santa Cruz County.
  • Homelessness point-in-time counts since 2011.
  • Demographics of unhoused people in the county. Twenty-four percent of unhoused residents are younger than 18 and 24% are veterans, according to the dashboard.

For more information on homeless services spending in Santa Cruz County, read Santa Cruz Local’s series on how homeless services money is spent, problems with transparency and whether money is spent effectively. Santa Cruz Local also produced a podcast on homeless services spending in August.

—Jesse Kathan

Santa Cruz Local journalists wrote these briefs and previews for our weekly newsletter. Want to receive these local updates, a preview of recent articles and more in your inbox each Sunday? Sign up for our free newsletter.

Questions or comments? Email [email protected]. Santa Cruz Local is supported by members, major donors, sponsors and grants for the general support of our newsroom. Our news judgments are made independently and not on the basis of donor support. Learn more about Santa Cruz Local and how we are funded.

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Website | + posts

Stephen Baxter is a co-founder and editor of Santa Cruz Local. He covers Santa Cruz County government.

Reporter / California Local News Fellow | + posts

Jesse Kathan is a staff reporter for Santa Cruz Local through the California Local News Fellowship. They hold a master's degree in science communications from UC Santa Cruz.