Save Neary Lagoon Wildlife Refuge!

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We oppose the 101 Felix Street proposed development, which would amend and weaken the City's General Plan and the Local Coastal Protection Plan in order to build five, 3-story, large buildings and cut 36 large trees on the banks of beautiful Neary Lagoon Wildlife Refuge and Laurel Creek Watershed.

It will have SIGNIFICANT NEGATIVE IMPACTS for the Environment, for the Wildlife, the rare Wetland habitat, for the People who love to visit Neary Lagoon and live nearby!  

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ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS

This development site is adjacent to beautiful Neary Lagoon Wildlife Refuge, Laurel Creek Watershed and a wetland/riparian habitat. This project would add 160 to 300 plus residents, their cars, and up to 160 more pets to the habitat and to Cypress Point Apartments. Neary Lagoon wetland and riparian habitat is home to 228 species of birds and other endangered wildlife that are sensitive to human activity, light and noise.

"Over 90% of the wetlands in California have been lost forever due to human activity and development.  Wetlands are"biological supermarkets" providing great volumes of food that attract many animal species. Wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems in the world, comparable to rain forests and coral reefs. Protecting wetlands protects our safety and welfare since they provide values that no other ecosystem can, which include:

-Atmospheric maintenance - storing carbon within their plant communities and soil, helping climate disruption 

-Natural water quality improvement -playing an integral role in the ecology of the watershed. 

-Flood protection, -preventing floods during current sea level rise

-Shoreline erosion control

-Opportunities for recreation and aesthetic appreciation."  (www.epa.gov/wetland

Construction of this project will take one and an half years (or more). Ongoing construction, and associated pollution and human activity will disrupt the nesting and breeding of birds, bats and other sensitive wildlife. The parking area in a few yards above the sensitive wetland and creek. Run-off from the construction and the parking area will pollute Neary Lagoon which flows out to Cowell's Beach.  Red-shoulder hawks and owls are frequently observed in the 36 trees that are slated to be cut down.    

MAKES PROTECTION PLANS MEANINGLESS!

We oppose weakening the City’s General Plan and Local Coastal Program, (which guide sustainable development and protect natural beauty, wildlife and our waters) in order to “spot-rezone” this property.  “Spot-rezoning” one property in a neighborhood to give a developer a special deal makes these plans meaningless and disregards years of democratic public process that created these protection plans.  We support housing when it follows these thoughtfully written plans that preserve wildlife habitat and create a livable, affordable city.

MORE UNAFFORDABLE HOUSING TO PROFIT THE WEALTHY

The city requires 20% of new units to be “affordable” but 80% of the units will be incredibly unaffordable to the local working people and students. Affordable is defined in the developer’s plan as up to $1871/mo. for a small studio, and up to $2125/mo. for a one-bedroom apartment. $1900 to $2125 per month is not affordable for most local, working people, whose hourly wage has not increased as rents have!  If new units are built, the 240 existing units are to be remodeled and the current tenants' rent will go up too. High rent forces renters to overcrowd small apartments in order to be able to pay it.  Only 16 units would be deemed “affordable” but 304 units would be at market rate: $3000 or more per month.  Densifying housing in this poorly-maintained apartment complex would profit the developer, who will pocket over 1 million dollars in rent each month!  The developer, Greystar Corporation is based out of state and they manage 622,967 units! , and normally employ out-of-town contractors so money will be sucked out of our town and not benefit our local community.

The developer/owner of Cypress Point does not manage or maintain their 240 expensive apartments now, we cannot trust them to manage more units with 100s more new tenants and 2 cats or dogs per unit!  This business has hundreds of negative reviews in the newspaper and online, evidence that Cypress Point Apartments are poorly managed and have treated tenants unfairly. The developer said he will do much-needed repairs and remodel the existing, run-down Cypress Point Apartments AFTER he builds the new units, so current tenants will be displaced (after enduring more than one year of paying to live in a construction zone!! ). The tenants were surveyed and 95% of tenants did not know about this proposed development and were not informed when they renewed year leases, though they will be the most impacted!

DOES NOT RESPOND TO THE CLIMATE AND COVID EMERGENCIES

Amidst a Climate Emergency, it is unacceptable to cut 36 large, full-grown trees (27 of which are heritage tree size and Redwoods and Monterey Cypress) and impact a wildlife sanctuary!   These 36 mature trees absorb about a ton of climate-changing carbon from the air each year, and provide 144 people with a daily supply of oxygen.  By not providing truly affordable housing, workers who now live in Cypress Point Apartments, will have to move and will need to drive further distances into Santa Cruz to work, which perpetuates the climate crisis.

Especially during the Covid-19 economic crisis and when the city already has plans to build 1129 units in more appropriate parts of Santa Cruz, we do not need to build more expensive, unaffordable housing by a wildlife sanctuary!!   UCSC students will not be returning, so there is much less housing pressure, many units are empty at Cypress Point Apartments now and over 500 multi-room residences are currently for rent in Santa Cruz. Infill is when you build up the city center, not the open spaces or the neighborhoods.

HAZARDOUS OVERCROWDING - EXTREME WEATHER-FIRE TRAP

The development would cram over 2000 tenants on a dead-end street in a high fire hazard, tsunami and flood zoned area- making it difficult to evacuate residents out of this overcrowded area during any emergency. It is a fire trap when you have only one way of egress out of this cul-de-sac and have a very dense apartment complex at the very end of the street.  The lagoon area is only a few feet above sea level and with the increase of extreme weather, the sea level is rising. 

LOWERS QUALITY OF LIFE

Increased traffic from this development means less family & kid-friendly streets. This development would add 160 to 300 more cars on the block with no parking-because the apartments are overcrowded and all the tenants' park on the street. Also, there is an existing problem with cars from Cypress Point Apartments speeding through the neighborhood already!- that will be exacerbated with the addition of hundreds of new tenants' cars!  This is already the densest neighborhood on the Lower Westside. We cannot get denser without serious negative impacts to nature, wildlife and residents.

DO NOT DESTROY NEARY LAGOON WILDLIFE REFUGE & OUR QUALITY OF LIFE FOR SHORT-TERM PROFIT!  

FOR MORE INFO or TO HELP : Text or call 831-854-7247