Milpitas Rotary's July 15 featured speaker, Steve McHarris, new Director of Planning & Neighborhood Services Department, updated Rotarians on the role of planning that "promotes and facilitates high quality of life through community partnerships, innovation, vision, and exemplary customer service to ensure a vibrant Milpitas" from their Mission Statement.
Steve came from Solidad to Milpitas in October last year and has worked in Fremont.
His department in addition to planning and zoning provides services forHousing, Housing Rehab loans, Code Enforcement, Graffiti Hotline, Noise, plus Abandoned and Junk Vehicles.
Planning & Neighborhood Services currently has 9 employees down from 16. There are 566 actual residential permits issued so far for Fiscal Year 2012-13. 736 are forecasted for next year.
Two major high density development plans are bringing additional housing to Milpitas; The Mid-Town Specific Plan runs along Main and Abel Streets and the Transit Area Specific Plan is near the new BART extension, Milpitas BART Station, and VTA Light Rail Line.
The Mid-Town Specific Plan is programmed to add 2,328 new homes. The Transit Area Specific Plan adds 7,109 planned units. Currently only a total of 668 building permits have been issued for both development areas.
Steve also provided an informative color brochure with pictures and map describing 17 approved projects some of which are already underway.
Two proposed projects would impact industrial zoned land. Preston Properties is seeking to build 213 single family homes east of Main Street near the Union Pacific rail yard. Truemark Homes' Waterstone Project would add 84 single family units along California Circle in North Milpitas near Dixon Landing Road.
Both developments require General Plan Amendments by the Milpitas City Council affecting Milpitas' inventory of industrial zoning and jobs. A 6-month moratorium on industrial rezoning was enacted in 2012 to study these issues.
Rotarians expressed their concerns over the large increases in local housing.
Red Badge Rotarian Police Officer Eric Emmanuele was recognized by President Mark Tiernan for completing the requirements to earn his Rotary Blue Badge.
The Milpitas Rotary Club meets on Mondays at noon in Brandon's Restaurant at the Beverly Heritage Hotel.