Office project seeks more time

Technology Drive development approved in 2012

WATSONVILLE — The Watsonville City Council on Tuesday will consider giving more time to a property owner who is looking to construct two medical offices on Technology Drive.

In 2010, Anatol Shliapnikoff filed for a permit to construct two, 20,000-square-foot office buildings at 398 Technology Drive. The project was originally approved by the Watsonville Planning Commission in August 2012.

According to a report by Community Development Director Suzi Merriam, the downturn in the economy forced Shliapnikoff to apply for a two-year extension of the permit in 2014, which was approved.

In 2016, Shliapnikoff applied for a grading permit, but at the same time, sought permits from the Army Corps of Engineers, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Regional Water Quality Control Board, since the project requires the removal of a wetland, according to the report.

Because the project will eliminate a .27-acre pond if it moves forward, it has drawn the opposition of Watsonville Wetlands Watch.

In a Sept. 21 letter addressed to Merriam, Jim Van Houten, vice chair of Wetlands Watch’s Planning and Conservation Committee, urged the planning commission to deny the permit.

“Our objective in asking that the permit be declared null and void is that the proposed plan does so much environmental damage,” he wrote.

Should the extension be approved Tuesday, the permit would expire in August 2018.

Also on Tuesday’s agenda, the council will consider starting a process that would annex a 2.4-acre parcel on Atkinson Lane into city limits.

The property is part of a 3.7-acre affordable housing project that is currently under construction on 56 Atkinson Lane, called Pippin Orchards. It consists of 20 apartment units within city limits and 26 units on unincorporated Santa Cruz County land.

The project has been many years in the making, and in 2014, the City of Watsonville and County of Santa Cruz entered into an agreement where the city provides services such as police and water for the entire project, while the county will process building permits, among other things.

Annexing the entire site into city limits would allow all residents of the development to vote in city elections and avoid potential confusion for calls of service, according to a report by Merriam.

Tuesday’s meeting, which starts at an earlier-than-usual time of 4:30 p.m., has a number of other items on the agenda:

• The council will consider approving increased “user fees” charged by the Community Development, Fire, Police, City Clerk, Utilities and Recreation departments. These fees include building inspections, sign permits and numerous others.

• The Watsonville Police Department is seeking the council’s approval to charge an annual fee of $96 for identification badges for owners, managers and employees of medical cannabis facilities.

• Watsonville is expected to gain a new sister city relationship with Tangancícuaro, a city in Michoacán, Mexico. Arturo Hernández Vázquez, mayor of Tangancícuaro, sent two letters to Watsonville expressing interest in becoming a sister city.


The Watsonville City Council will meet Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, 275 Main St., fourth floor. To view the agenda, visit

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