Santa Cruz rail trail, housing updates

Segment 7 of the rail trail from California to Beach streets in Santa Cruz is expected to finish in May or June, authorities said. New retaining walls near the wastewater treatment plant are pictured March 21. (Stephen Baxter — Santa Cruz Local) 

Rail trail updates:

  • Segment 7, California to Beach streets: A paved path is expected to open in late May or early June, said Shannon Munz, a spokeswoman for the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission. Rain helped delay the project from its anticipated completion in February, Munz said. 
  • North Coast rail trail projects: Construction bids are due March 24 and work could start in late spring, Munz said.

Santa Cruz Local’s Housing and Construction page contains several updates:

  • 831 Almar Ave., Santa Cruz: At a vacant industrial building near the Parish pub, two six-story buildings and a four-story building are proposed with 120 homes and shops.
  • 110 Mission St., Santa Cruz: Seven two-bedroom, two-story townhomes are proposed near Mission Street and North Pacific Avenue in Downtown Santa Cruz. 

—Stephen Baxter

Read the Housing and Construction page

At 831 Almar Ave., a property owner wants to redevelop a vacant industrial building into 120 homes, shops and industrial space. (Workbench)

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Downtown hotel decision on tap

A rendering of the proposed Front Street hotel in Downtown Santa Cruz.

A proposed hotel at Front and Laurel streets would include 232 rooms, ground-floor shops, a restaurant, a bar and a cafe. (BCV Architecture + Interiors)

1:15 p.m. Tuesday, March 26 / Online and at 809 Center St., Santa Cruz 

The Santa Cruz City Council on March 26 is expected to consider approval of a six-story hotel at 324 Front St. The Santa Cruz Planning Commission recommended the hotel for approval Feb. 15.

The 232-room hotel would include:

  • Shops, a cafe and a restaurant on the ground floor.
  • A publicly accessible rooftop bar with three pools.
  • Three floors of underground parking.

The hotel site includes a former Santa Cruz Community Credit Union building and two city-owned lots. The city council is set to consider permits for the hotel and the sale of the lots to developer SCFS Venture LLC. 

To comply with state laws that require coastal hotels to support low-cost accommodations, the developer has offered to give the city about $5.17 million, according to a city staff report. The city could use the money to establish or improve low-cost hotels or campgrounds, the report stated.

—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 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. The meeting will be streamed on Community TV.


County supervisors to weigh rail-trail environmental report

Segment 11 of the rail-trail project includes Capitola and its trestle bridge over Soquel Creek. (Stephen Baxter — Santa Cruz Local file) 

9 a.m. Tuesday, March 26 / Online and 701 Ocean St., Room 525, Santa Cruz

County supervisors on March 26 are set to review a final environmental report for Segments 10 and 11 of the Santa Cruz Rail Trail. The segments stretch from 17th Avenue in Live Oak to State Park Drive in Seacliff. 

The report includes options for:

The “ultimate” trail would require the removal of about 800 trees. An interim trail on the tracks would remove 290 trees. If the interim trail were later replaced by a trail next to the tracks, 670 more trees would be removed.

Tree removals would have unavoidable impacts on Monarch butterflies, according to a county staff report.

The county and the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission have secured $85 million to construct the two segments, the report stated. The project could require $30 million more, it stated.

Homeless shelter plan to be considered

At 1:30 p.m. March 26, the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors is expected to consider a potential agreement with Monterey County to develop a 34-bed low-barrier shelter in Watsonville

The shelter would initially serve people camping along the Pajaro River. Last June, a state fund to clear homeless camps granted $8 million towards the new shelter. Santa Cruz County also has received $10.2 million for a 34-bed transitional housing shelter in Live Oak.

To fund shelter efforts, supervisors are set to consider an annual allocation of:

  • $1 million of Measure K sales tax revenue. Measure K, a half-cent sales tax hike, was approved by voters in unofficial March 5 election results. Results are expected to be certified in early April. 
  • Part of the county’s Collective of Results and Evidence-based Investments. The county allocates CORE grants each year to nonprofits that provide community services.

—Jesse Kathan

To participate: Join on Zoom or call 669-900-6833 , meeting ID 817 3220 2363. To comment ahead of the meeting, email [email protected] by 5 p.m. Monday. The meeting will be streamed on Facebook.


Watsonville hospital bond approved

The Watsonville Community Hospital with a blue sky and a flag pole in front with the U.S. and California state flags.

Measure N would allow Pajaro Valley Health Care District to issue $116 million in bonds to buy and improve Watsonville Community Hospital. (Pajaro Valley Health Care District)

With about 125 ballots remaining to be processed in Santa Cruz County on March 22, unofficial winners have emerged in several local races. Final results are expected to be certified in early April.

According to unofficial election results:

—Nik Altenberg

View all Santa Cruz County election results

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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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. Kathan holds a master's degree in science communications from UC Santa Cruz.

Website | + posts

Nik is a copy editor and fact checker for Santa Cruz Local.