Thursday, May 8, 2008

News Release: Morgan Hill must hold developers to the Coyote Valley standard for cost recovery, environmentalists say

(CGF issued the following news release last week. -Brian)

Committee for Green Foothills


Brian Schmidt, Legislative Advocate, phone (650) 968-7243,

Morgan Hill must hold developers to the Coyote Valley standard for cost recovery, environmentalists say

IN COYOTE VALLEY, DEVELOPERS PAID ALL PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW COSTS FOR DEVELOPING THE AREA; Committee for Green Foothills states that Morgan Hill taxpayers deserve the same.

Committee for Green Foothills argues that Morgan Hill taxpayers have a right to expect the City-initiated planning for the "Southeast Quadrant" meet the same cost recovery standard imposed on developers by the City of San Jose for the Coyote Valley planning process. "San Jose also had a city-led process for analyzing potential development of Coyote Valley," said CGF Advocate Brian Schmidt, "but no one denied that the motivating force was the developers who owned much of the land. San Jose required developers to pay for every dime of environmental review and planning involving that area, and Morgan Hill taxpayers should not be presented with a bill for proposals that increase the property value in that area."

Last night, the Morgan Hill City Council voted to initiate an Environmental Impact Review (EIR) process to convert the Southeast Quadrant area mainly to non-agricultural use, with a small portion to be retained for agricultural or open space uses. The Council also voted to initiate a study of the feasibility of agricultural mitigation and long-term agricultural viability in the broader Morgan Hill area. "None of the EIR costs should be borne by taxpayers," said Schmidt. "These EIRs will only exist because of the landowner interests in development. As for the costs of studying the feasibility of agricultural mitigation, that's mitigation for the loss of farmland due to proposals like the Southeast Quadrant, and any transfer of developer responsibilities to taxpayers is unacceptable. Only costs for studying agricultural viability and mitigation separate from the rezoning proposals in the Southeast Quadrant should be handled by taxpayers.

Schmidt continued, "the Coyote Valley planning process was riddled with flaws, but at least they claimed to get back all the money they spent from the developers. If these Southeast Quadrant studies don't even meet that standard, we fear the other results may be even worse.

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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

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