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September 25, 2021

Scotts Valley Approves 16-Condo Project in Heart of City

Across the street from a strip mall and the Scotts Valley Middle School, and right next to brand-new townhouses, another development is set to rise.

That’s because Scotts Valley City Council recently approved its latest housing project, “The Encore at 4104,” in the beating heart of the community.

“We received a lot of positive feedback about it,” Mayor Derek Timm said. “It’s not something we really have in our inventory now.”

Located on the southeast side of Scotts Valley Drive, just up the hill from Mt. Hermon Road, the 16 condominiums, from Apple Homes Development, Inc., will stand 35 feet and three stories tall.

The Planning Commission approved the project unanimously at its Aug. 12 meeting.

square feet. Council took up the issue Sept. 1.

Eight of the units are to be 1,134 square feet. The other eight units are to be 1,080 square feet.

All of the condos are to have either private balconies or patios.

Two of them are to be sold at an affordable price point for people in the “low-income” category.

Apple Homes is also the developer behind The Terrace at Scotts Valley townhomes next door.

It has promised to use recycled water and spray a biodegradable chemical to reduce dust and protect the surrounding ecosystem during construction.

According to a W-Trans, Inc. traffic analysis, conducted April 5, the development will likely add six morning trips during the peak 7-9am period, and seven during the evening peak 4-6pm period, but “will not cause nearby intersections or street segments to operate below their current level of service.”

Taylor Bateman, the City’s community development director, said this was one of several projects contract planner Kim Tschantz had worked on for Scotts Valley over the years.

“Kim came back out of retirement to help us with this one,” he said. “So, thank you, Kim.”

Tschantz said the project required approval of a tentative subdivision map, a use permit, and the design review, but noted it’s located in a wooded area designated as “medium residential” in the General Plan, zoned RM-6, meaning it’s meant for multi-family housing.

“Normally, on a project site of this size—1.49 acres—the residential density would be 13 dwelling units,” he said. “But the project also includes two affordable dwellings, and therefore, under both state law and Chapter 17.42 of the Municipal Code, a density bonus is allowed.”

Encore is clearly an “urban infill” project because it’s surrounded by prior developments, Tschantz said.

Chris Perri, the applicant with Apple Homes, said this year marks his third decade of property development, 23 of which have been exclusively in Scotts Valley.

“They’ve been the best years, in my mind,” he said. “We’ve done over 60 homes in Scotts Valley.”

One of the things that was important to keep in mind when dreaming up Encore was to try to distinguish it aesthetically from The Terrace, he said.

“We’ve been able to do that by doing a very different product than we’ve ever done before, which is this smaller, two-bedroom kind of product that is accessible, and that Scotts Valley has very little of,” he said. “It’s going to be very exciting.”

The idea was to create something that’s both “sensitive” and “sensible” for the growth of the city, Perri said.

“Since this will be, probably, our last development, I think that we’re going to hopefully do that one more time,” he said. “I look forward to driving by in my retirement to see how everything fills in.”

Vice Mayor Jim Reed was surprised to hear this might just be Perri’s swan song.

“I didn’t realize we were getting bad news with this presentation, that is going to be the last Apple Homes project we have planned in Scotts Valley—I certainly hope that’s not the case,” he said. “I can’t think of another developer who has put so much effort in every one of their projects into two things that developers don’t do often enough: One talking to the neighbors—really engaging with them … And the other part is you put such an emphasis on the natural landscape, on preserving trees, on making your projects recharge more water into the ground than was happening naturally.”

Encore is exactly what Scotts Valley needs since birth rates have been declining and the population continues to age, Reed said.

During the public hearing, the comment of one resident, who lives nearby and is in favor of the development, was read out into the Zoom meeting by Mayor Timm.

A man, who said he recently purchased a unit with his wife at a neighboring project, spoke highly of the Encore plan.

A representative of Affordable Housing Now also chimed in to support the project.

Another neighbor spoke of Perri’s “excellent” approach to community outreach.

One resident said he felt lucky to move into a home next door, thanks to an affordable housing unit Perri built.

The developer will also contribute about $150,000 to the city’s affordable housing fund.

Only Randy Johnson voted against the project because he wished the units had been planned as apartments.

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