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Sanborn County Park Master Plan

Published on: 2/20/2018 3:50 PM
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The Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation Department (County Parks Department) is in the process of preparing the Sanborn County Park Master Plan. Sanborn County Park (Park) is nestled in the Santa Cruz Mountains between the city of Saratoga and Skyline Boulevard. This 3,453-acre mountainous park of redwoods and tan bark oaks offers hiking and biking on multi-use trails as well as tent and RV camping, and year-round picnicking opportunities.
 
 
 

Project Update on the Sanborn Master Plan

 
February 16, 2018
A traffic study and infrastructure study for Sanborn County Park, including the former Christmas tree farm site, are now underway.  The traffic study was started the week of January 29th and the infrastructure study the week of Feb 5th. (There was a delay in finalizing the contracts for both studies.)  These studies are expected to be complete in 3-8 weeks. The traffic study will generally assess roadway capacity around Sanborn County Park, including the former Christmas tree farm site.
 
The Santa Clara County Parks Department has heard and documented the concerns from neighbors and other mountain residents and is aware that many people are strongly opposed to any bike park being developed at the former Christmas tree farm site.  No final recommendations or decisions have been made about the future of the site. The County Parks Department is actively evaluating a proposal for a Native Wildlife Refuge at the site and is also studying the Christensen property and other sites within Sanborn, including the hillside above the existing RV campground, as other potential locations for mountain bike-specific trails.
 
The County Parks Department is still committed to fully analyzing the final plan recommendations for Sanborn County Park, including traffic and other impacts under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
 
The process steps going forward is generally [not necessarily in exact order] as follows: 
 
  1. Consider results of traffic study, infrastructure study, alternative use proposals, and various potential locations for mountain bike-specific trails at Sanborn Park
  2. Meet with or otherwise communicate with key stakeholders including neighbors prior to additional Public Meetings
  3. Identify preferred recommendations for the Master Plan and hold a Public Meeting 
  4. Using input from the public meeting, modify draft preferred recommendations
  5. Develop final draft recommendations and Project Description under CEQA, being CEQA review
  6. Present to Parks and Recreation Commission (PRC)
  7. Possible revisions and additional PRC review
  8. Ongoing CEQA review and public process under CEQA
  9. If PRC forwards a favorable recommendation, present to Housing, Land Use Environment and Transportation (HLUET) Committee. If HLUET forwards a favorable recommendation, present to Board of Supervisors (BOS). Both Master Plan and CEQA to be adopted by BOS.

January 12, 2018
The County Parks Department is continuing our analysis and preliminary design development phase of the Master Plan for Sanborn County Park. We are also currently reviewing and analyzing a new concept of a Wildlife Park at the former Christmas Tree Farm site. We have secured two contracts this month to study additional information regarding the existing conditions in and around the entire study area of the Master Plan: one contract is a Traffic and Access Study and the other is an Infrastructure Study. We expect this analysis phase of work to be completed within 1 to 3 months, starting mid-January. After we receive the findings from the two studies, we will analyze the information and begin to draft preliminary design recommendations for the Park. After we draft the preliminary design recommendations we will hold a second public meeting to gather feedback.
 
Once preferred recommendations are selected, a Project Description under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) will be developed and the environmental review phase of the project can begin, including public review and comment. With feedback from the public and the information obtained through our analysis, we will then finalize the Plan recommendations and prepare the Draft Master Plan. The Draft Plan will then be routed for consideration through public meetings to the various decision-making bodies including the Parks and Recreation Commission (PRC), the Housing, Land Use, Environment and Transportation committee (HLUET) and the Board of Supervisors (BOS). The Master Plan is not finalized and adopted until the Board of Supervisors adopts the Master Plan and the CEQA findings. We anticipate the routing of the Master Plan to begin later this summer or fall. 

It is difficult to provide a specific timeline as the planning process is somewhat variable and many of the phases overlap. However, we would like to provide the following tentative schedule, which is organized chronologically.

The following is a tentative timeline for Sanborn Master Plan*:

  1. Continue analysis / design development (ongoing and could take several months) 
  2. Preferred ideas / recommended design development  (ongoing and could take several months)
  3. Environmental review (CEQA) (begins once a full Project Description is ready)
  4. Public meeting (includes environmental review process)
  5. Draft Master Plan development (several months)
  6. Draft CEQA document development (anywhere from 4 – 24 months depending on type of CEQA document)
  7. Parks and Recreation Commission (PRC) public meeting - review of draft plan (at least one month for agenda scheduling, staff report preparation and routing)
  8. HLUET public meeting - review of draft plan (at least one month for agenda scheduling, staff report preparation and routing)
  9. Board of Supervisors public meeting - review and approval of Master Plan and CEQA document (at least one month for agenda scheduling, staff report preparation and routing)
  10. Plan implementation (ongoing)

* Note this is an approximation of time and may change due to a variety of circumstances.


The County Parks Department held a public meeting for the Sanborn County Park Master Plan on November 7, 2017. The meeting provided an overview of the draft Park Master Plan and gathered input from the public. The November 7th public meeting was preceded by public comment at the November 1st Parks and Recreation Commission meeting. The Department appreciates all the concerns and suggestions that were received at the public and Commission meetings, and the additional comments received since those two meetings. The Department has heard all the concerns and suggestions and staff is continuing our evaluation and analysis of the draft Park Master Plan, including assessment of the Christmas Tree Farm site, based on the comments and plan findings.  We will continue to keep you informed and any new information be posted on our website and sent out to those on our email list.   If you would like to be added to the Sanborn Master Plan Project email list contact the project manager listed below.
 
The meeting summary from the November 7th Public Meeting on the Sanborn County Park Master Plan is available here.
 
Why is the County Parks Department preparing the Master Plan?
 
The County Parks Department initially undertook a feasibility study for an aging building in the north end of the park; the Welch Hurst house; with the intent of identifying how to best protect and/or restore the building and to make better use of the property. Realizing that the building could not be studied in isolation of other Park features, the determination was made to expand the scope to include the Dyer House and the Christensen Nursery site. Around this same time, the Silicon Valley Mountain Bikers (SVMB) presented a proposal to the County’s Parks and Recreation Commission (PRC) to convert the former Christmas tree farm site into a family mountain bike park. In recent months, the County Parks Department decided to take a holistic master planning approach for the entire Park, with the intent of formulating a long-term vision for the whole of Sanborn, rather than looking at each area in isolation.
 
What is a Master Plan?
 
The Master Plan will be a guiding document that will present a series of development, management and design recommendations for the Park, including specific features like the Welch Hurst House, the Christensen Nursery site, the Dyer House, and the former Christmas tree farm. The Master Plan will consider the long-term feasibility of a variety of potential uses and design solutions, including their market viability and future partnership opportunities, environmental benefits or impacts, contribution to visitor services, and revenue generating potential. The ultimate recommendations of the plan will ensure that all uses fit appropriately into the natural setting and character of the Park.
 
 
As part of the Master Plan process, the County Parks Department will:
 
  • Consider biological and cultural resources that are present in the Park;
  • Analyze the existing utility infrastructure (water, wastewater, electricity) relative to potential park improvements;
  • Meet with various stakeholders, agency staff, and the County Parks and Recreation Commission; and
  • Conduct public meetings.
A possible component of the Master Plan, currently being evaluated by the County Parks Department, is a potential family mountain bike park proposed at the former Christmas tree farm site. As mountain biking is a recreational activity that has been increasing in popularity for many years, it the responsibility of the Department to consider and appropriately address the diverse recreational needs of the community, while simultaneously protecting and preserving our natural and cultural resources.
 
What about trails?
 
A Trails Master Plan for Sanborn County Park was approved in 2008. More information on the Trails Master Plan can be found under Plans & Projects (https://www.sccgov.org/sites/parks/PlansProjects/Pages/Sanborn-County-Park-Trails-Master-Plan.aspx)
 
Compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)
 
In addition to the Master Plan, the County Parks Department will be reviewing the project for compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Once preferred recommendations are selected, a Project Description will be developed and the environmental review phase of the project can begin, including public review and comment.

 
Public Meetings
 
As part of the Master Plan development process, the County Parks Department held a public meeting on Tuesday, November 7, 2017 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Joan Pisani Community Center in Saratoga.
 
Public Meeting Details
 
Date:         Tuesday, November 7, 2017
Time:         6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Location:   Joan Pisani Community Center
                 19655 Allendale Avenue
                 Saratoga, CA 95070
 
 
Sanborn Workshop Agenda​

PowerPoint Presentation​


To provide comments or for more information, please contact:

Kimberly Brosseau, Senior Planner
Santa Clara County Parks
298 Garden Hill Drive
Los Gatos, CA 95032-7669
Phone: (408) 355-2230
Email: kimberly.brosseau@prk.sccgov.org

Comments should be provided in writing via U.S. Mail, email, or by hand delivery.

* Draft documents will be posted on the website once available. Please check website regularly for additional information.


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