SANTA CRUZ >> The setting for Santa Cruz Planning Commission’s hearing Thursday night to consider permitting Santa Cruz Shakespeare’s relocation was an apt performance space — the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium.
More than 100 people turned out with about 16 speakers weighing in as the commission considered the group’s proposed move to DeLaveaga Park. Santa Cruz Shakespeare’s relocation of its summertime lineup, proposed as a two-year pilot at DeLaveaga, has earned a healthy debate back-and-forth between neighbors concerned about noise, environment and traffic impacts and Shakespeare lovers, causing the night’s venue to move from its typical Santa Cruz City Hall locale.
Thursday’s public comments, much like those of the commissioners themselves, were a mix of unqualified support, opposition and the space in between. The motion ultimately passed, with two commissioners voting against approving the permits.
Commissioner Mark Primack said his “no” vote was only because he wanted Santa Cruz Shakespeare to have a lease longer than two years, while Commissioner Mark Mesiti-Miller said he supported DeLaveaga Park as the performers’ home, but thought the outdoor amphitheater site design should be improved.
Commissioner Mari Tustin, who ultimately made the motion to recommend approval of the project permits, said she was swayed by the evening’s public discussion and that her reservations did not outweigh the project’s positive attributes.
“I really feel mixed about this. I expected a lot more vehemence about traffic on the narrow roads,” said Tustin. “I was fully prepared…