(I think our press release speaks for itself. -Brian)
Committee for Green Foothills
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 18, 2008
Brian Schmidt, Legislative Advocate
phone (650) 968-7243, (415) 994-7403 cell
Committee for Green Foothills Welcomes Withdrawal of Coyote Valley Development Proposal, Calls for New Steps to Protect Against Sprawl
The Committee for Green Foothills (CGF) welcomed the decision today by the Coyote Housing Group to withdraw its proposal to develop three thousand acres of working farmland and vital wildlife habitat in Coyote Valley, and CGF called on San Jose to act now to stop new sprawl proposals. "The misguided proposal to get rid of prime working farmland and a vital wildlife corridor sank from its own weight, and from the work of all the organizations like Committee for Green Foothills that argued for San Jose's growth to be directed within the City instead of expanding it," said Brian Schmidt, Legislative Advocate for CGF. "The Committee for Green Foothills has worked for years to fight this proposal and the many proposals that preceded it, dating back to the 1970s. We're very glad that our work, along with the vital work of other groups like the Sierra Club, Greenbelt Alliance, and the Audubon Society, has helped to reach this point."
Schmidt called on San Jose to take new steps to protect this vital area.
"The Mayor has said there should be stronger 'triggers' in the General Plan to prevent developing Coyote Valley until it's really necessary. Other City Council members have called for prioritizing development in downtown and North San Jose before development comes to Coyote Valley. It's time to examine those priorities in the ongoing General Plan review."
Unanswered questions remain regarding other potential developments in Coyote Valley. "The Coyote Valley Research Park proposal received permits it never should have been granted," said Schmidt, "but economic conditions have stopped its development. In several years, those permits will start expiring, and it's time to examine whether that project should happen.
Gavilan College also has started planning a massive campus in Coyote Valley that makes little sense without urban development, and that process needs reassessment. The Habitat Conservation Plan had exempted much of Coyote Valley from its jurisdiction, and that also needs reassessment."
"We hope that the withdrawal decision creates a new opportunity for long-term agricultural survival and a vibrant ecology in Santa Clara County, and we salute the decision of the Coyote Valley developers to end the process," Schmidt continued.
Environmental organizations including the Committee for Green Foothills have closely followed proposed developments in Coyote Valley. Their extensive comments on a Draft Environmental Impact Report showed significant deficiencies in the report that failed to recognize the impacts of the proposed project. Committee for Green Foothills participated extensively in that process, and took the lead in showing how the fiscal analysis that purported to show a tax surplus for city government was based on unrealistic expectations of a continued housing boom. CGF also took the lead in showing that consultants used by the city to draft environmental and fiscal documents had first been hand-picked by the developers, and then hired by the city in a no-bid process.
# # #
About the Committee for Green Foothills
Committee for Green Foothills is a regional grassroots organization working to establish and maintain land-use policies that protect the environment throughout San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. Committee for Green Foothills, established in 1962, is a Bay Area leader in the continuing effort to protect open space and the natural environment of our Peninsula.
For more information about the Committee for Green Foothills or about our work on this issue, visit www.GreenFoothills.org.