New housing projects in Aptos, Freedom, Santa Cruz

Workers install materials on a wall at Aptos Village Phase 2 in March 2024. (Stephen Baxter — Santa Cruz Local)

Construction continues on Aptos Village Phase 2 on March 14. (Stephen Baxter — Santa Cruz Local)

Santa Cruz Local’s Housing and Construction page has several updates.

Read Santa Cruz Local’s Housing and Construction page

At left, Santa Cruz County’s Behavioral Health Center at 2250 Soquel Ave. is a locked, acute psychiatric program run by Telecare Corp. Across its parking lot at 2202 Soquel Ave., a referral-based navigation center for unhoused residents is expected. (Stephen Baxter — Santa Cruz Local)

Stay informed on Santa Cruz County’s biggest issues.

Santa Cruz Local’s newsletter breaks down complex local topics and shows residents how to get involved.


County supervisors seek feedback on cannabis laws

5:30-7 p.m. March 18, 19, 20 and 27 / Online and in person

Santa Cruz County supervisors are seeking feedback on rules related to the production, sale and use of cannabis in the county.  

Leaders of the county’s Cannabis Licensing Office plan to hold four meetings in March in person and online. Some discussion topics include retail sales, outdoor and indoor commercial production, on-site consumption and more. 

  • Aptos Village Park, 100 Aptos Creek Rd., Aptos: 5:30–7 p.m. Monday, March 18.
  • Watsonville Civic Plaza Community Room, 275 Main St., Fourth Floor, Watsonville:  5:30–7 p.m. Tuesday, March 19.
  • Highlands County Park, 8500 Highway 9, Ben Lomond: 5:30–7 p.m. Wednesday, March 20.
  • Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office Community Room, 5200 Soquel Ave., Live Oak: 5:30–7 p.m. Wednesday, March 27.

—Nik Altenberg


Updated March 5 election results stand

Christopher Bradford and Monica Martinez are expected to square off in November for the District 5 Santa Cruz County Supervisor seat. (Contributed)

There were about 650 ballots left to process and 77,619 ballots processed in the March 5 election as of Friday, March 15, according to the Santa Cruz County Clerk’s Office. Election outcomes are not expected to change, and official election results are expected to be certified in early April. 

—Stephen Baxter

View all Santa Cruz County election results


Scotts Valley City Council to outline strategic goals

A housing proposal at the Kings Village Shopping Center could be part of this year’s strategic goals for the city. (Stephen Baxter — Santa Cruz Local file)

6 p.m. Wednesday, March 20 / Online and at 1 Civic Center Drive, Scotts Valley

Each year, the Scotts Valley City Council outlines its goals for the next fiscal year. At the council’s March 20 meeting, council members plan to vote on a proposed list of goals for Fiscal Year 2024-2025. 

Many of the proposed goals are similar to the current year’s and include:

  • Complete predevelopment work on the proposed Town Center project.
  • Improve roads.
  • Promote cycling and walking, especially on Scotts Valley Drive and Mount Hermon Road.
  • Advance a plan to upgrade the wastewater treatment facility.
  • Pursue more money sources for city projects.
  • Collaborate with more residents and business leaders and improve civic engagement.

After the city council votes to approve or change the set of goals, the city manager and city staff plan to develop specific strategies and projects to work towards the goals, according to a city staff report.

—Nik Altenberg

To participate: Join on Zoom or call 669-900-9128, meeting ID 832 9573 0901. Attend at 1 Civic Center Drive in Scotts Valley.  The meeting will be broadcast on the city’s YouTube channel. To comment ahead of the meeting, email [email protected] by 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 20.


Sheriff’s sergeant memorial area opens at Soquel park

Leaders of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office and supporters attend a March 13 dedication ceremony for Sheriff’s Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller at Willowbrook County Park. (County of Santa Cruz)

Nearly four years after Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller was killed by a militia extremist in Boulder Creek, county leaders dedicated a renovated area of Willowbrook County Park in his honor.

Gutzwiller frequently visited the park at 2950 Willowbrook Lane in Soquel. The park additions were made “to honor the sacrifice that he and his family have made on behalf of the Santa Cruz County community,” county spokesman Jason Hoppin wrote in a statement.

—Stephen Baxter

A plaque commemorates Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller. (County of Santa Cruz)

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.

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

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Nik Altenberg is a copy editor and fact checker for Santa Cruz Local. Altenberg has a bachelor’s in Latin American and Latinx Studies from UC Santa Cruz.