New housing causes concerns

Development would include shopping center, land for FFA

SOLEDAD — With housing in high demand, Soledad City Council met for a special meeting Oct. 23 to discuss adding an additional 1,318 single-family residential lots to the San Vicente West Specific Plan.

According to Community Development Director Brent Slama, the Miramonte Project is about population growth in Soledad over the next 30 years. Due to the fact that the new Miramonte Project is located behind the current South East boundary of the city, traffic has been a concern for the City and the public as drivers would have to travel down San Vicente to get out of town.

“This is the seventh public meeting we’ve had on this project,” Slama said. “It’s certainly a big project and there’s a lot of questions that have to be answered.”

Currently there are nine housing projects in Soledad that, according to Slama, are in some form of construction approval or pending approval. Those projects would close out the Soledad city limits for residential purposes within the next five years.

Along with traffic concerns, Soledad residents have also been concerned about the water situation: How is the City going to have enough water to cover the needs of the new housing development?

According to Public Works Director and City Engineer Donald Wilcox, there is adequate groundwater to serve the new residents. There is no water close to the new housing development, but there is water closer to the Salinas River.

“Our ideal place for our next well would be the Los Coches Adobe site,” Wilcox said. “That’s a long way from Miramonte, but it is the best place to get the best potable water.”

The current level of service traffic rating for Soledad is B, and the construction that is underway on Moranda and North Front Street is considered a E. To improve the traffic conditions present and future, the Miramonte Project has led to discussions about a future Gabilan Extension, widening of San Vicente Road, a Highway 101 interchange and a new connection to Camphora/Gloria Road.

“We’ve thought about this for a long time,” Slama said. “We’re well aware of deficiencies in the existing traffic network and that there are opportunities for improvements.”

The next problem is how to fund the necessary traffic improvements that are each over $1 million. The plans for the Miramonte Project include land designated for the Soledad High School FFA and a shopping center with a grocery store. The project will come before the city council again during its Nov. 7 meeting at 6 p.m.

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