Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Morgan Hill's version of Coyote Valley?

I (Brian) just came back from a meeting in Morgan Hill to discuss the City's proposed "Greenbelt", which is unfortunately linked to a proposal to establish a new and expanded Urban Line Limit for the City. While a protected greenbelt could be a good idea, the proposal to create a 50-year, Urban Line Limit beyond the current Urban Growth Line could be a recipe for sprawl.

The issue we were discussing is the unincorporated, southeast area of the City. While most of the discussion was about a greenbelt, another concept under consideration is a 200-acre industrial campus, plus vaguely-defined residential development. We at CGF have heard this before - it sounds like Coyote Valley, complete with a sales pitch for a greenbelt, but vague on how to finance environmental protection. What's ironic is that Morgan Hill, unlike San Jose, is alarmed about the impacts of Coyote Valley development, but then may be poised to make the same mistake.

We can't completely rule out the idea that something beneficial will result from this process, but we will have to follow this issue carefully.

(Morgan Hill staff claimed some information is on their website, but I couldn't find it. I'll put up a link when I do.)

Metro Weekly corrects the Mercury News

A good article about Coyote Valley was in last week's Metro Weekly: "Coyote Ugly -
Why is the 'Mercury News' calling the city's vision for Coyote Valley sustainable when it isn't?

The Metro points out that 25,000 homes will not satisfy the demand created by the massive industrial development in Coyote Valley. Neither the City of San Jose nor the Mercury News has publicly admitted this flaw, although the City comes a lot closer. Like the Metro Weekly, we have contacted the Mercury News, but have yet to hear back from them.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Otters recovering, but still in danger

Some good news about California sea otters: "After a long, frightening decline, a new survey shows that the number of California sea otters living along the coast has increased sharply for the second straight year." (Mercury News, registration required for viewing.)

Before that long, frightening decline, the otters had been steadily progressing towards recovery, and were set to be removed from the endangered species list when the numbers remained above 3,000 for three years in a row. The current number is just short of that - 2,825.

While 3,000 may have seemed a safe figure back when the trend line went nowhere but up, we are now aware that the numbers don't always go up. Next year, the number could top 3,000. The federal government will have to think carefully about whether that figure still represents safety, and CGF may want to weigh in on that decision.