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* 1. Do you live (or own a business) in the North San Rafael Commercial Center Neighborhood?

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* 2. Are you submitting this survey on behalf of a neighborhood association or organized group?

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* 3. What do you like most about the North San Rafael Commercial Center?

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* 4. Whar are your biggest concerns about the North San Rafael Commercial Center?

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* 5. As you visualize the North San Rafael Commercial Center in 20 years, what major changes or improvements would you like to see?

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* 6. Please review the text below, which was drafted in 2001-2003 by the City of San Rafael to describe the North San Rafael Commercial Center:

The North San Rafael Commercial Center includes the Northgate “Town Center” area, the Northgate Business Park, and the offices and YMCA located on Los Gamos Road. The Town Center area includes the Northgate One shopping center, the Northgate Mall, and the Northgate Three Shopping Center. This area is developed predominantly with retail and office uses. The Northgate Business Park, located east of Highway 101, is developed with a mix of office and industrial uses, providing spaces suited to small businesses and startup companies that comprise an important part of San Rafael’s economy.

This area also includes a variety of housing including “starter” condominiums, apartments, medical facilities and senior residential care facilities. The largest vacant property in this neighborhood is the former Fairchild Semiconductor site, approved for an industrial/office project. The Merrydale Overcrossing and Freitas Parkway provide pedestrian, vehicle, and bike connections between the two sections of the neighborhood. The north fork of Gallinas Creek flows through this area from along Freitas Parkway to the wetlands bordering McInnis Park.

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* 7. Please review the “Vision for 2020,” which was adopted in 2004 for the North San Rafael Commercial Center.

One of the key concepts in Vision North San Rafael is the development of a “town center” in the heart of the Northgate commercial area. As described in the Vision:  A “town center” is a focal point where the values and history of the community are expressed and supported, where community identity is strengthened and neighborhood cohesion is fostered. It is a place where residents and workers can gather—formally and informally—to share community life. The Town Center will have public art, a wide variety of unique shops, many places to eat, and a number of entertainment options. Our town center will be a major destination point on the promenade, a place where everyone feels welcome, something is always happening, and strolling is a pleasure. It will also include one of North San Rafael’s principal gathering places—in the form of a town square! Over time, the Town Center would change, expand and evolve to become the heart of the North San Rafael community.  The priority actions for the Town Center are to create a sense of enclosure, pedestrian-scale and easy accessibility and to provide high quality retail stores for local residents as well as the broader community.

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* 8. Please review the General Plan Policy below, which was adopted in 2004 for the North San Rafael Commercial Center:

Policy: Create an attractive, thriving heart for the North San Rafael community: a centerpiece of commerce and activity with a diversity and synergy of activities for all ages.

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* 9. Please review the General Plan Policy below, which was adopted in 2004 for the North San Rafael Commercial Center:

Policy: Create a Town Center with high quality retail stores for local residents as well as the broader community. Broaden the appeal of the Town Center area by improving pedestrian traffic, increasing the number of local shoppers, and attracting a mix of high quality stores, entertainment, and services.
a.  Encourage a distinctive commercial niche for the Town Center consistent with the area’s characteristics.
b.  Encourage a variety of stores and services to foster local patronage. Examples include a library; restaurants; a produce market; and music, book, family clothing, housewares, and variety stores.
c.  Encourage upgrading of anchor stores and specialty stores.
d.  Support an additional high quality retail anchor store if necessary for economic vitality, consistent with traffic circulation.
e.  Support nightlife activities, such as a late-night restaurant, diner or coffee shops that harmonize with existing theaters and cultural activities.

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* 10. Please review the General Plan Policy below, which was adopted in 2004 for the North San Rafael Commercial Center:

Policy: Revitalize the economic health of the Northgate Mall and surrounding business areas. Encourage efforts to revitalize and expand Northgate Mall, including improving the mix of activities and the quality of shops, and upgrading the appearance of the buildings and landscaping, while maintaining a scale consistent with the surrounding community and not exceeding infrastructure capacity. Allow the addition of residences, maximize the potential for affordable housing, and incorporate promenade improvements as described in the North San Rafael Promenade Conceptual Plan in any substantial rehabilitation or expansion of the mall.

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* 11. Please review the General Plan Policy below, which was adopted in 2004 for the North San Rafael Commercial Center:

Policy: Encourage outdoor public places that support activities and facilities that will encourage people to gather (such as outdoor cafes with music, entertainment for children as families dine and shop, and periodic cultural and arts events), promote a public plaza, a small music venue, and/or a children’s feature, and provide outdoor cafes, sidewalk restaurants, or other uses that provide outdoor seating.

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* 12. Please review the General Plan Policy below, which was adopted in 2004 for the North San Rafael Commercial Center:

Policy:  Provide planning incentives for uses that will enhance the Town Center, including retail, office, housing, and community services. Allow a height bonus of two stories for affordable housing.

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* 13. Please review the General Plan Program below, which was adopted in 2004 to implement the policy in Question 12:

Program: Through the development review process, encourage improvements consistent with this policy. For example, encourage flexibility in design of retail to incorporate features, such as plazas, pedestrian walkways, entertainment, cultural events, and other community services. Foster partnership among property owners, business owners, community residents, and government agencies to plan and implement future development and changes.

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* 14. Please review the General Plan Policy below, which was adopted in 2004 for the North San Rafael Commercial Center:

Policy: Assure quality of design by supporting policies that encourage harmonious and aesthetically pleasing design for new and existing development. Upgrade and coordinate landscaping, signage, and building design in the Town Center area, as well as improving building and landscaping maintenance.

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* 15. Please review the General Plan Policy below, which was adopted in 2004 for the North San Rafael Commercial Center:

Policy: Protect and maintain existing industrial uses and industrial sites (in Northgate Business Park) that are important to San Rafael’s economy and needed for the convenience of its residents and businesses. Allow uses such as delis and copy shops that serve businesses and employees in the area.

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* 16. Please review the General Plan Policy below, which was adopted in 2004 for the North San Rafael Commercial Center:

Policy: Upgrade building design and landscaping with new construction and remodeling projects, particularly along Redwood Highway. Evaluate the design of projects considering the views from Highway 101, with particular attention paid to rooftop equipment and screening of mechanical equipment.

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* 17. Please review the General Plan Policy below, which was adopted in 2004 for the North San Rafael Commercial Center:

Policy: Improve access and bicycle/pedestrian connections between Northgate One, the Mall at Northgate and Northgate Three.

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* 18. Please review the General Plan Program below, which was adopted in 2004 to implement the policy in Question 17:

Program: Through the development review process, encourage improvements consistent with this policy (see Question 17).  Considerations include:
1.  Support routing of the North San Rafael Promenade in the Town Center area to include safer and more convenient pedestrian and bike crossings from the Civic Center to Northgate Three, Northgate Mall, Northgate One, and along Freitas Parkway.
2.  Support routing of Marin County north-south bicycle route along Northgate Drive, and increased availability of bicycle racks at the Town Center.
3.  Support increased public transit to and from the Town Center.
4.  Align crosswalks with bus stops.
5. Encourage shuttle service within the Town Center area during holiday season.
6.  Implement traffic calming as needed on roadways in parking lots and redesign traffic flow to minimize conflict between vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians.
7.   Encourage design for additional stores and parking structures to maximize pedestrian access and minimize traffic conflicts.
8.  Improve pedestrian safety along Redwood Highway with improved sidewalks and parking lot landscaping.

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* 19. Please review the General Plan Policy below, which was adopted in 2004 for the North Rafael Commercial Center:

Policy: Create a sense of enclosure, pedestrian-scale and easy accessibility by improving the pedestrian “feel” of the Town Center area. Examples include welcoming, pedestrian-friendly entrances to the shopping areas; pleasant, landscaped walkways between the shopping areas as part of the North San Rafael Promenade; and a focal point at a public plaza.

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* 20. Please review the General Plan Policy below, which was adopted in 2004 for the North San Rafael Commercial Center:

Policy: Consider ways to improve the entrance into the mall.

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* 21. Please review the General Plan Program below, which was adopted in 2004 to implement the policy in Question 20:

Program: Support redesign of traffic flow and intersection improvements along Las Gallinas, Northgate Drive, Del Presidio, and Merrydale to expedite traffic to and from the shopping areas and to improve safety for pedestrians and bicycles. Support realignment of driveways along Las Gallinas to form safer intersections and pedestrian crossing.

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* 22. Please review the General Plan Policy below, which was adopted in 2004 for the North San Rafael Commercial Center:

Policy: Upgrade and unify the architecture, signage and landscaping along Redwood Highway on the east side of Highway 101.

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* 23. Please use the space below to list any new long-range planning policies or action programs you would like to see considered for the North San Rafael Commercial District.

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* 24. (Optional) Please provide your name and contact information below, in the event we need to contact you to discuss your responses:

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