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* 1. Do you live in the Montecito/ Happy Valley 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 Montecito/ Happy Valley neighborhood?

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* 4. What are your biggest concerns about the Montecito/ Happy Valley neighborhood?

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* 5. As you visualize the neighborhood 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 Montecito/ Happy Valley neighborhood:

The area known as Montecito/Happy Valley is one of San Rafael’s oldest neighborhoods. Today, most of the area is built out. There have been numerous upgrades, including a late 1980s remodel of the Montecito Shopping Center with a new front facade and a walkway along the San Rafael Canal.

The area offers a wide variety of housing, business opportunities and community services. The residential area contains many large historic homes (several of architectural significance), cottages, duplexes and diverse apartments, as well as being home to San Rafael High School. The neighborhood’s commercial anchor is Montecito Shopping Center, one of San Rafael’s larger centers, complete with a canalfront walkway. There are two community supermarkets on Third Street. Along Irwin Street, a gateway to San Rafael, several large office buildings offer businesses a high profile to commuters on Highway 101. Fourth Street provides a commercial link to Downtown with a wide range of office, service and retail uses. In addition, many social service agencies make their home in Montecito because of the easy accessibility to the rest of San Rafael.

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* 7. Please review the "Vision for 2020," which was adopted in 2004 for the Montecito/ Happy Valley neighborhood:

In the year 2020, our distinct neighborhood is a beautiful and desirable place with a diversity of architecture and a variety of uses within easy walking distance. There are central gathering places where people meet each other to visit and hold events. Our pleasant, tree shaded, narrow streets are safe to walk and drive along and we see fewer cars. We are a community which works together to keep our neighborhood secure, clean and attractive, and to celebrate our diversity (From Montecito/ Happy Valley Neighborhood Plan)

Future land uses should be stabilized to keep the existing mix of uses, with zoning to protect the existing uses and to minimize additional development. There is satisfaction with the mix of retail, service, office and other uses in the commercial areas. The High School's bus and maintenance yard site on Union Street may become housing, also meeting the neighborhood's goals for a new outdoor gathering place and improving the appearance of Union Street while minimizing adverse impacts to the neighborhood. There are several opportunities for adding and improving gathering places and for better recreational opportunities, particularly at the High School.

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* 8. Please review the General Plan policy below, which was adopted in 2004 for the Montecito/ Happy Valley neighborhood:

Policy:  Preserve the current mix of single family, duplex, medium and high density housing in the residential areas. 

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* 9. Please review the General Plan policy below, which was adopted in 2004 for the Montecito/ Happy Valley neighborhood:

Policy: Encourage the redevelopment of the School District's bus/maintenance yard on Union Street with attractive multifamily housing for seniors and/or school district staff. Neighborhood childcare should be retained on the site. The project should also include a children’s playground designed for use by the residents and the neighborhood. Development of this site should improve and retain views from the end of Fourth Street to the façade of the San Rafael High School building.

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* 10. Please review the General Plan policy below, which was adopted in 2004 for the Montecito / Happy Valley neighborhood:

Policy:  Retain existing mixed-use land categories and zoning districts in the commercial areas. Consistent with these districts, encourage active ground floor and retail uses on Fourth Street.

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* 11. Please review the General Plan policy below, which was adopted in 2004 for the Montecito / Happy Valley neighborhood:

Policy:  Create and improve neighborhood recreational opportunities and facilities.

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* 12. Please review the General Plan policy below, which was adopted in 2004 for the Montecito/ Happy Valley neighborhood:

Policy: Provide a neighborhood park with appropriate play structures and activities for young children. Potential park site locations include the School District’s corporation yard and the San Rafael High School site, possibly at the south end of the football field along Third Street or by the tennis courts along Mission Avenue. Consistent with City recreation policies, should San Rafael High School ever be closed or sold, attempt to secure the continued public use of existing high school recreation facilities, and provide neighborhood park facilities.

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* 13. Please review the General Plan policy below, which was adopted in 2004 for the Montecito / Happy Valley neighborhood:

Policy: Continue to provide a blend of architecture styles in the Montecito/ Happy Valley Neighborhood compatible with and retaining the character of attractive older buildings. Newer buildings should be well designed, blend well with the existing homes and provide a “pedestrian friendly” street front.

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* 14. Please review the General Plan policy below, which was adopted in 2004 for the Montecito / Happy Valley neighborhood:

Policy: Enhance and design streets to provide for appropriate traffic control.

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* 15. Please review the General Plan program below, which was adopted in 2004 to implement the Policy shown in Question 14:

Program:  Work with the school district to improve safety and effectiveness of drop-off areas at San Rafael High School. Encourage continued communication and cooperation to address improvements to access.

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* 16. Please review the General Plan policy below, which was adopted in 2004 for the Montecito/ Happy Valley neighborhood:

Ensure that Fourth Street provides a “pedestrian-oriented” walking street connection to Downtown. The Fourth Street view of the High School should be reestablished and improved with landscaping and fencing.

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* 17. Please review the General Plan program below, which was adopted in 2004 to implement the policy shown in Question 16:

Program: Through the development review process, encourage improvements that extend Fourth Street concrete benches/trash can/ landscape/ elegant sign treatment to east end of Fourth Street.

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* 18. Please review the General Plan policy below, which was adopted in 2004 for the Montecito/ Happy Valley neighborhood:

Policy:  Provide sidewalks that are safe and attractive to walk along.

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

Program: Prepare a Pedestrian Plan, identifying pedestrian right-of-ways. Using information from the neighborhood, further develop a list of sidewalks and paths for parts of Park, Jewell, Belle, one side of Union, and along the perimeter of the High School. Add safe crosswalks and striping where needed for pedestrian safety, and posting of speed limits on streets such as Grand, Park and Union.

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* 20. Please review the General Plan policy below, which was adopted in 2004 for the Montecito/ Happy Valley neighborhood:

Policy: Provide street parking that is convenient and does not dominate the neighborhood. Require that all new residential developments provide for attractive and adequate off- street parking.

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

Program: To improve parking in the neighborhood, conduct a parking survey to further evaluate specific parking problems and identify possible solutions that allow for street parking that does not dominate the neighborhood, such as:  (a) Working with apartment owners to restore parking spaces being used for storage; (b)  Working with property owners to add on-site parking where feasible; (c) Adding “no parking” signs where street clearance is too narrow for emergency vehicles to get through; (d)  Evaluating the benefits and drawbacks of a Permit Parking Program, i.e., to limit cars per unit or to limit nonresident cars; (e) Considering time-limited parking areas.

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* 22. Please review the General Plan policy below, which was adopted in 2004 for the Montecito/ Happy Valley neighborhood:

Policy: Require well-landscaped commercial parking lots that are safe and convenient for pedestrians.

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* 23. Please review the General Plan program below, which was adopted in 2004 to implement the policy shown in Question 22:

Program:  If funding sources can be obtained, use the development review process to implement this policy. For example, encourage better use of the easternmost Montecito parking lot by designing better access from the lot to the shopping center, or requiring employees to park in this lot.

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* 24. Please use the space below to list any new long-range planning policies or action programs you would like to see considered for the Montecito/ Happy Valley neighborhood.

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* 25. (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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