By Yvette Brooks, Mayor, City of Capitola
I love spring. It is a time of new beginnings and growth. It is a time that reminds me about the importance of unity and togetherness.
Our City has worked tirelessly in sharing up-to-date information to you directly. As we enter the warmer months, I want to ensure we continue to do so safely.
As we all learn to live together again, remember it will take time to adjust and to feel safe as regulations change daily.
New Covid Guidelines and What That Means
The City of Capitola continues to monitor the health guidance on Covid-19 daily. California will move Beyond the Blueprint on June 15, which will eliminate the tier system of economic restrictions and allow normal operations to resume in nearly all sectors.
While vaccinated persons no longer are required to wear masks in most outdoor settings, all residents are required to continue wearing face coverings in indoor settings until June 15.
Capitola Library Ribbon Cutting June 12
After nearly a generation of planning, our new library is getting set to open. Thank you to all of the volunteers, Santa Cruz Public Library, City of Capitola and generous donors who made all of this happen.
Please join us June 12 for our virtual grand opening from 10-12, or in person tours that same afternoon (subject to reservation). For more information, or to register for a tour on June 12, please do so online.
Zoning Code—10 Years in the Making
Thank you Community Development Director Katie Herlihy
The City’s zoning code update kicked off in 2014, initiated with stakeholder outreach meetings, a public online survey, and an Issues and Options white paper to guide decision making on key issues raised during public outreach. Following 25 public hearings, the City Council adopted the new Zoning Code by ordinance on Jan. 25, 2018.
To implement the new legislation inside the coastal zone, the new ordinance had to be certified by the California Coastal Commission as part of Capitola’s certified Local Coastal Program. Capitola staff worked very closely with Coastal Commission staff on the update for nearly three years.
In 2018, Coastal Commission staff reviewed the adopted zoning code and proposed extensive modifications. Following 13 additional public hearings, the City Council adopted an updated version of the zoning code on Nov. 12, 2020, which included most of the Coastal Commission-requested modifications.
In December 2020, the City submitted the updated zoning code to the Coastal Commission for certification.
In April, the Coastal Commission considered the City’s proposed zoning code update and several edits requested by their staff. The City submitted comments to the Commission asking they adopt the City’s proposed zoning code in its original format.
The Commission considered the City’s request, and public testimony from a number of our residents, and ultimately approved the City’s proposed zoning code with their staff recommended edits, with the exception of changes to the Monarch Cove Inn property on Depot Hill. The Commission left the zoning on that property unchanged, and asked their staff to work with the property owners to develop new regulations for the site.
At the May 13, Capitola City Council meeting, the City Council accepted the Coastal Commission’s approved language and adopted the Zoning Code.
With great pride, I recognize Community Development Director Katie Herlihy and team for their outstanding work in getting this done for our community.
Congressman Jimmy Panetta visited Capitola and toured our historic wharf. Staff updated the congressman and shared that an official funding request was going to be submitted.
Afterward, we learned we have officially been included in Congressman Panetta’s funding request as one of the 10 community projects.
Here’s the public project list: https://panetta.house.gov/services/community-project-funding-requests
Now we wait.
Thank you Congressman for taking the time to learn more about our community.
Family & Kid Camps
Camp Capitola will provide 2-week long sessions, full-day and falf-day, beginning June 14. The program operates from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is offered to youth age 6 to age 12.
Participants will be placed in stable groups per COVID protocols. Participants will be provided a diverse set of activities that take advantage of resources at the community center and within walking distance of the community center.
Camp Capitola is partnering with Soquel Union Elementary School District to provide a half-day program at Soquel Elementary, Santa Cruz Gardens, and New Brighton Middle School. This Camp Capitola expansion will operate Monday through Friday, from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. with an option of additional care until 5 p.m. beginning June 7. SUESD summer school students will have priority in registering, with registration then opened to the public for any remaining enrollment spaces.
For this summer, a new COVID-safe City of Capitola Family Camp. Family Camp will operate Aug 6–9 at a retreat-center about three hours from Capitola in the foothills of the Sierra. Families will be able to book a room or cabin, with beds to accommodate up to 10 people per room to serve a variety of family sizes. Food is provided by the retreat center, which operates under its own COVID-19 guidance. Safe social and community building recreation activities would be provided by Staff in accordance with COVID guidance.
Junior Guards will provide a 2-week long session, with AM and PM options and will provide four sessions throughout the summer beginning on June 14. The program will be offered to youth age 6 to age 15.
Participants will enroll in groups of 14 with potential for group size to expand to 20, given the County is not in Purple Tier. Participants age 16 to 17 will have the option of volunteering to support instructors or enrolling in a “Captain’s Corps with Central Fire” program, a one-week program that teaches open water lifeguarding skills.
Capitola Recreation hopes to offer Food Truck events later in the summer.
These summer programs are essential to our community and I am so proud of our Parks and Recreation department and staff.
A Balanced 2021-2022 Budget
City staff have proposed a balanced budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The City Council is considering the budget through a series of meetings in May and June.
Council will be discussing how best to allocate funding leftover from prior years, weighing projects like the Capitola wharf, the park at the Rispin mansion site, roadway improvements, community grants and the Dedicated Children’s fund.
Museum Now Open
The Capitola Historical Museum is once again open to the public. Come visit the museum to learn something new about our beloved City! The museum currently features the Capitol Then & Now exhibition, which highlights what has changed and what has stayed the same in apitola over the years.
Admission is free and there is something to see for all-ages. For fun facts and photos, follow the Museum on Facebook @CapitolaHistoricalMuseum
In an effort to engage with our community and provide up-to-date information to the public, staff is piloting a new biweekly e-newsletter called Capitola Waves. Our hope is that the newsletter increases communication with the public. The newsletter will be distributed by email and posted on the website the Friday after City Council meetings. If you would like to have each edition of Capitola Waves delivered to your inbox, please contact the City Clerk’s Office at 475-7300 or sign up on the City website CityOfCapitola.org
Mayor’s Town Hall Series
At my last town hall event, I welcomed Kaiser Permanente who shared updates on the pandemic and the status of their work in our County. We had a great conversation around their proposed project and its impact on our community. You can watch the recording on our city’s Facebook page.
Next, the four local mayors, Watsonville Mayor Jimmy Dutra, Scotts Valley Mayor Derek Timm and Santa Cruz Mayor Donna Meyers will come together to talk about moving forward post-pandemic and uniting as a community in a safe and healthy way.
The 4 Mayors Town Hall meeting, Stronger Together, will take place June 17 at 6 p.m. on Zoom and Facebook Live. To Watch on FaceBook Live: www.facebook.com/cityofcapitola (you do not need a Facebook account for this option)
To Join Zoom: https://tinyurl.com/SC-mayors-town-hall
As always if you have any questions or concerns feel free to contact me directly at [email protected]