I have received a number of calls from people in Boulder Creek regarding the proposal for the relocation and expansion of the Boulder Creek Park and Recreation District facility that is currently located in a fire district building. Most of the calls were from residents in the neighborhood that has been identified as a possible site. They were very concerned about the impact of a public facility on their quiet residential community off Highway 9.
A couple of weeks ago, Eric Hammer, one of the directors of the BCPRD board, and fire Chief Kevin McClish met with me to inform me of the proposed plans for the new facility. Both the BCPRD and the fire district feel they need to grow and that their shared accommodations are too restrictive. Although the BCPRD is a separately elected board and the county board of supervisors has no authority over its operations, I appreciated being informed about the plans.
At that time, I urged them to be sure to include the community, and especially the neighbors who would be immediately impacted, in the discussions and planning. Hammer promised me the community would be fully engaged in the process and that a full environmental impact report would be completed. An EIR would ensure a thorough public process and would allow the consideration of alternative sites that might be preferable to a residential neighborhood.
Although I have limited authority over the proposed project, I recognize the concerns at this early stage. The initial proposal will have an enormous impact on a neighborhood zoned only for residential use. Apparently, there has been little notice or discussion with the residents who will be immediately affected, and that is not an acceptable public process.
If the proposal moves forward on this site, the property probably would need to be rezoned by the county. I will look to the community and especially the neighborhood to provide guidance on any such action.
I encourage the residents of Boulder Creek to demand and participate in an open public process that would consider all possible alternatives. Hopefully, the BCPRD will find a new home that will be welcomed by the entire community.