Friday, March 28, 2008
The developers have suspended their application to develop 3,000 acres, so that project is dead (except for some details) until someone wants to pay to continue the planning process. We need to pressure San Jose to place stronger preconditions ("triggers") on development.
A prior-approved project, the Coyote Valley Research Park, could still happen if economic conditions allow it. They might not. We need to pressure San Jose not to extend deadlines for this project (its approvals will disappear if it doesn't start building by the deadlines, first of which is in 2013).
Gavilan College wants to build a massive 80-acre campus out on farmland in Coyote Valley instead of where people live and can commute to by public transit, so we need to fight that too.
A lot still needs to be done!
Saturday, March 22, 2008
To see it, click here (scroll down to the video stories shown on the bottom left, and look for “Coyote Valley Project Halts”).
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
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.
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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 www.GreenFoothills.org.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Dear Planning Commission members,
The Committee for Green Foothills agrees with City Staff recommending denial of a developer's proposal to rezone hillside land in the Evergreen District from a quasi-public designated use to residential development. Any one of the many reasons staff have provided for why this proposal is a bad idea. Intensified development that would push into the 15% slope is a bad precedent, which may actually be the reason for the proposal.
We would only add to the staff comments that the proposal, if not rejected at this point, would definitely require an EIR. The conflict with existing land use policies constitute one reason for an EIR, but the loss of valuable open space, much of which could be conserved with the current use designation, and the visual impact on the neighborhood and on thousands of people driving by on Highway 101, also would be significant environmental impacts.
We urge the Commission to reject this project.
Please contact us with any questions.
Legislative Advocate, Committee for Green Foothills
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
The District Board commented on the letters they received from the public, and said they appreciated and read the comments, all of them favoring our position.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Regardless, though, I'm very glad we don't have foolish people pulling these stunts in our area. They are so counterproductive that they would only make the job of sprawl-fighting organizations like CGF much tougher.
Civil disobedience, by contrast, is more of a mixed outcome. I could see it being counterproductive in many circumstances, but not always, and doesn't involve destroying property or even a slight risk to human life. Of course, civil disobedience is not a technique that CGF has used.
Monday, March 3, 2008
January 4, 2007
Planning Services Division
I am writing this letter on behalf of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band (AMTB). The AMTB is comprised of the descendents of Missions San Juan Bautista and
Our first concern pertains to the recognition that numerous Ohlone communities historically lived along the waterways of
Our second concern is that the
Our third concern is that there do not appear to be adequate protections built into the Plan to preserve the Native American village site we visited with County staff. It has been our experience that when the boundries of a cultural site are delineated only by the presence or absence of “hard” artifacts (i.e. stone, bone, and shell), the elements of the cultural landscape that were required to sustain the focal site are ignored, and most often developed. The Amah Mutsun would like the City of
We would also like to work with the City of
Our final point concerns other village sites that exist in the
In closing, we would very much like to work with City staff on protocols between the Tribe(s) and the City of
Sincerely, Valentin J. Lopez, Chairman
Amah Mutsun Tribal Band
Valentin J. Lopez, Chairman