CGF has submitted many comments to San Jose about preserving nearby farmland. Below is one of our comments submitted in relation to Coyote Valley on June 1.
I hope the City of San Jose can accept these somewhat-belated comments on potential Agriculture Mitigation in Coyote Valley. The Committee for Green Foothills stands by the joint letter previously submitted by environmental groups on the subject, as well as all oral comments we have submitted to date.
We would like to add two more items for consideration. First, an appropriate, additional use of fees exacted from developers who convert farmland to other uses is to provide a price preference for local agricultural products. This would make up the damage done to local agriculture due to the decreased size of the local farming market, so it would be an appropriate mitigation, not an unfair exaction. More information is available here:
Second, Committee for Green Foothills suggests that an idea that might facilitate acceptance of farmland conservation easements in the Coyote Valley Greenbelt would be to make the easements transferable in the event of annexation of the Greenbelt by an adjoining city. This might get rid of the disincentive for Greenbelt landowners who believe annexation is possible, and therefore believe that accepting an easement on their land would them prevent them from having more intense development allowed under annexation. The easement could be transferred to another appropriate farm in Santa Clara County that is as close as possible to the Greenbelt. The landowner would have to pay to get another landowner to accept the transferred easement.
Details of this second idea would have to be worked out. It may not even be feasible at all, but it is at least worth investigating. We suggest the City consult with the group FROG during the process of developing its policy, given that FROG has spent the most effort working out a viable Greenbelt strategy of its own.
Please contact us if you have any questions.