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October 29, 2020

Soledad City Council approves housing subdivision and plans for traffic control

SOLEDAD — Soledad City Council members unanimously approved an amendment to a 27-lot subdivision of single-family houses to be developed by Nino Homes.

The Sept. 16 public hearing item also concluded with the council directing staff to plan for a speed reduction item on the Oct. 7 meeting agenda, which would consider speed reduction items, such as speed bumps, for Granada Street.

The planned development is for 27 homes on a 4.2-acre parcel east of Granada Street. The area has been up for discussion in the past, from changes in street width, number of houses, size of houses, and inclusion of low-income lots.

A majority of the discussion in the past has been about the affordable housing to be included in the development, as stated by Interim City Manager Brent Slama.

Mike Nino from Nino Homes gave a presentation on the history of the development and the changes in the ongoing process. In past city council meetings, he has said while affordable housing is a goal, developers cannot profitably build houses without making shortcuts, such as canyon effect by having tall buildings close to the streets, which are shortcuts he would not pursue.

Public comment was focused on the increasing population in Soledad because of the housing developments and the effect on traffic and speeds on nearby roads. Council members discussed those safety concerns and possible solutions, from stop signs to speed bumps to enforcement.

“Stop signs aren’t going to work,” Mayor Fred Ledesma said.

While signs weren’t an effective option, community feedback was against speed bumps for their potential to damage cars.

Oscar Antillon spoke on behalf of the city’s public works department and said plans were in development for speed bumps along Granada Street, but staff is waiting on a final decision for the right location. Such speeds bumps would be like the ones in front of the community center, which can be taken out if traffic speeds cease to be a concern.

“Our goal ultimately is to drive people to the collector streets,” Slama said. “We want people to be traveling north-south on West Van Vicente and Orchard. Those are the streets that are designed to accommodate large amounts of traffic. Now that Orchard is punched through, we want to encourage people to use Orchard as a north-south and not Granada.”

In other business at the meeting, Council Member Carla Strobridge Stewart said the SNIP Bus would return to South Monterey County twice in September, for one visit in Greenfield and one in Soledad.

“It’s a great service to our residents in South County,” Stewart said.

Chief of Police Damon Wasson also reported on the law enforcement visits to the homeless encampments in the nearby Salinas River. He said police have gone out regularly to make contact and see if people need help.

“None have accepted help so far,” Wasson said. “We’re still checking on folks down there and if we can help them we’ll help them.”

Sean Roney
Sean Roney
Sean Roney is the reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers education, government and general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.

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