Tuesday, November 30, 2010

An easy (and resounding) Stanford trails victory for the environment in San Mateo County

This morning, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors unanimously reaffirmed their 2008 decision to reject Stanford's environmentally-destructive proposal to widen the Alpine Road sidewalk.  Stanford made the proposal in order to avoid constructing a trail on its property that it had promised in the 2000 General Use Permit that Stanford received from Santa Clara County.  The sidewalk expansion would have had significant impacts on the creeks and the local community, with almost none of it on Stanford land.  Committee for Green Foothills even litigated against the project, although the litigation was dismissed over a technical issue.

San Mateo County also reaffirmed their prior proposal that the money for this very expensive proposal instead be spent in a grant program that could actually succeed in mitigating the impacts from Stanford's new development.

The decision helps in two important respects.  First, the original decision by San Mateo County Supervisors in 2008 resulted from the leadership of two supervisors, Jerry Hill and Rich Gordon, neither of whom will still be at the County after this year and able to provide institutional memory.  This new decision reiterates the resolve of the supervisors who will still be around in 2011 and onwards.

Second, the agreement between Stanford and Santa Clara County states that Stanford has through the year 2011 to persuade San Mateo County to accept the sidewalk expansion.  Afterwards, Stanford must give the money to Santa Clara County Parks Department to mitigate Stanford's impacts - unless Santa Clara County agrees to give Stanford yet another two years to change San Mateo County's decision.  By taking this decision, San Mateo County has clearly indicated it will not change its mind, and that Santa Clara County should not cause more needless delay of the environmental mitigation that Stanford promised a decade ago.

Great work by the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.  The ball is now in the court of Santa Clara County and Stanford to do the right thing.


UPDATE:  Here's the letter that CGF prepared, but turned out to not even be necessary (the Board of Supervisors thought the issue was so uncontroversial that they passed it as a "consent" item without need for discussion):

November 29, 2010
President Rich Gordon and
Members of the Board of Supervisors
400 County Center
Redwood City, CA 94063
Re:  Item #10 on the November 30, 2010 Board of Supervisors Agenda: Resolution Reaffirming the Decision of the Board of Supervisors to Reject an offer from Stanford University for a Trail on Alpine Road
Dear President Gordon and Members of the Board,
Committee for Green Foothills (CGF) strongly supports the Board’s reaffirmation of your February 12. 2008 decision to reject Stanford University’s offer of $8.4 million to widen the Alpine Road sidewalk, and instead request that Santa Clara County establish a regional grants program to mitigate the impacts caused by Stanford’s General Use Permit, issued in 2000. 
The expansion of the existing sidewalk along heavily travelled Alpine Road would disproportionately impact the Stanford Weekend Acres community and would not provide true recreational opportunities.  There are many potential trail connections and/or improvements in the communities surrounding Stanford that a regional grants program could facilitate.
Lennie Roberts, San Mateo County Legislative Advocate

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

CGF comments on small-scale commercial solar facilities in Santa Clara County

(We submitted the following comments on small scale solar facilities and zoning for them in Santa Clara County.  -Brian)

Dear President Yeager and Board of Supervisors:
I regret that I will not be able to attend today's Board Meeting.  I would like to note that in addition to the written input described by staff transmittal memo, the Committee for Green Foothills testified at the Planning Commission meeting on this item.  We identified the difficulty with this issue is that it is difficult to tell at the present time whether small scale commercial solar will be only a minor addition to our rural landscape over time, in which case it is a useful if minor benefit, or whether it has potential to transform hundreds of acres to a new developed use, and should be scrutinized much more carefully.
We were glad to suggest a major review in three years to consider how solar is proceeding, and we appreciate the support from the Planning Commission for this and the other changes that we suggested.  I would suggest the Board direct staff to ensure the review in three years is put on the calendar.
The other issue where CGF expressed admittedly-vague concerns is regarding decommissioning.  Solar panels after their life span could be unsightly and interfere with other rural land uses.  They also contain toxins, and decommissioning could be expensive, raising the concern that it might not occur.  The review in three years should consider whether to require bonding for decommisioning purposes. 
The one additional suggestion CGF makes today is that the permits for commercial solar be given an expiration point after 20 years.  Staff expects that many panels would be replaced with upgrades, and a landowner in that case would likely want to renew their permit.  At that time it would be very easy to make decommissioning a condition of renewal.  As this change is just an additional mitigation, no additional environmental review would be required to add it to the proposed ordinance.
Please contact us with any questions.

Brian Schmidt
Legislative Advocate, Committee for Green Foothills

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Comments on Water District concerns about riparian protection

(We submitted the comments below on attempts to fight poor implementation of riparian protection policies in Santa Clara County.  -Brian) 

October 25, 2010

Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors

            Re:  Agenda Item 12, BMR-10-0064 regarding exceptions to riparian ordinances

Dear Chair Santos and District Board Members;

The Committee for Green Foothills agrees with the Staff recommendation that the two options that Staff identified for performance evaluations of riparian protections would likely be unproductive for the cost involved.  However, it may be productive to broaden the BMR to consider more generally whether land use agencies have provided the adequate riparian protection that was the necessary counterpart to revoking Water District Ordinance 83-2 as well as the decision to desis from expanding the District's permit authority to a 150-foot buffer.  The BMR might also consider whether the District could do more to assist in the application of adequate riparian protection policies.

I would encourage consideration of specific examples to see whether the protection the District sought through expanding Ordinance 83-2 has been achieved under present conditions.  Several examples that immediately spring to mind include:

·         Los Altos Hills, with a 25-foot riparian buffer policy.

·         Los Gatos and the development recently proposed along Ross Creek.

·         San Jose and the relatively recent development projects on Duckett Way and Guadalupe Mines Road.

In each case the District might analyze whether it could help with riparian protection under current policies.  For example, in the case of the Guadalupe Mines Road project, the District submitted a useful comment letter prior to the initiation of CEQA review for the project, but the District did not comment on the CEQA document itself and did not provide comments when the project approval was appealed by environmental groups and another governmental agency, the Guadalupe Coyote Resource Conservation District.

We believe that more can be done to improve riparian protection.  Because we are aware of interest in different cities for improving policies (for example, San Jose's proposed Draft General Plan revision to reduce exceptions to its 100-foot buffer policy), we think this could be advanced in a way that shows the District's concern but is still productive and cooperative.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

Brian A. Schmidt
Legislative Advocate, Santa Clara County

Friday, October 22, 2010

CGF Letter requestion adequate time to comment on massive proposal on the Coast

(CGF Legislative Advocate Lennie Roberts sent the letter below requesting adequate time to comment on the newly-released document for the Big Wave project on the Coast.  -Brian)

October 10, 2010

David Bomberger, Chair and
Members of the Planning Commission
455 County Center, 2nd Floor
Redwood City, CA 94063

Re:  Request for Extension of Time to 60 days for Public Review for Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR), Big Wave Project

Dear Chair Bomberger and Members of the Planning Commission

On behalf of Committee for Green Foothills (CGF), I am requesting a 60-day public review period in order to give the public and responsible agencies sufficient time to review the FEIR for the Big Wave Project.

As you know, the Big Wave Project, as proposed and described in the DEIR, is enormously complex, and includes residential, office, manufacturing and warehousing uses, as well as an onsite wastewater treatment plant, onsite wastewater recycling, conversion of an onsite agricultural well to domestic and industrial use, and solar, wind, and natural gas power generation.

The DEIR, along with its Technical Appendices and Facilities Plan, was over 2,000 pages long.  It was a daunting task to digest and comment on the DEIR.  The public is keenly interested in the project as evidenced by the 245 written comments on the DEIR.

CGF believes that given the complexity of the proposed project and the high level of interest/controversy it has raised, it is vitally important for the County to allow sufficient time for thoughtful review of the responses to comments.

Therefore, CGF respectfully requests that the review period for the FEIR be extended to 60 days.

Thank you for consideration of this request.


Lennie Roberts, Legislative Advocate
Committee for Green Foothills

cc:        Jim Eggemeyer, Director, Planning and Building Department
            Camille Leung, Project Planner

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Comments on Water District Ends Policy Workshop

(Yesterday I attended the Water District Board workshop on changing its overall guidance policies. In addition to attending, I spoke at the meeting and submitted the letter below.  It might help to read the Board materials for October 20, 2010 and Agenda Item 4 to understand the letter I submitted. We did get some action on one item, but the others will have to wait another day. -Brian)

October 20, 2010

Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors

            Re:  Agenda Item 4, Ends Policy Workshop and Recommendations of the Environmental Advisory Committee

Dear Chair Santos and Board Members;

I submit the following comments on behalf of the Committee for Green Foothills regarding the Ends Policies recommendations of the Environmental Advisory Committee.  We thank District Staff for their work with the EAC and other committees, and for Staff's support of the large majority of Ends Policy changes that the EAC has recommended in recent years.  In some cases discussed below we disagree with staff on certain recommendations, and in others we believe that staff misunderstood the purpose of the recommendations.

My comments refer to Attachment 2, Advisory Committee Recommendations:

Policy 1 E-2, language regarding change in winter storms from a mix of rain and snow to mostly rain.  The staff response misunderstands this recommendation to deal with water supply, possibly considering it a reference to Sierra snowpack changes.  It actually concerned our local hydrology, where winter storms that currently deliver snow at high elevations will increasingly switch to rain throughout, with a possible increase to flood risk.  While Executive Limitation EL7.7 on understanding climate change impacts might apply here, the EAC hasn't been informed that flooding forecasts have actually been analyzed to consider this issue.

Policy 2 E-2, language on policies for geographic areas outside of the District.  Staff misunderstands this recommendation to refer to adequate supplies of imported water.  It actually referred to the environmental impacts the District doubtless has on geographic areas through our imported water use and other potential effects (examples may include downstream flooding on the Pajaro and operation of the San Luis Reservoir).  The idea is that the District's interest in minimizing its environmental impact extends beyond District boundaries.

Policy 7 E-4, language regarding habitat conservation plans.  We may need more specifics on this recommendation from the EAC's July 2010 meeting.

Policy 10 E-4.1.3, recommending a new Objective to "Protect, enhance, and restore the natural physical stability/dynamic equilibrium of streams."   Staff disagree with this recommendation for two reasons.  First they say (correctly) that the concepts are considered at Staff level.  While true, the question is whether Objectives set by the Board provide sufficient direction for Staff to execute the Board Policies.  The existing Objective most closely related to this issue is E-4.1.2, "Improve watersheds, streams, and natural resources."  (See Attachment 6, page 1.)  The opinion that EAC members and subcommittee members have expressed is that Objective 4.1.2 does not provide adequate direction.  While details done at Staff level are helpful, they do not make up for inadequate direction given at the Board level in the Objectives.

The second objection raised by staff is that many factors need to be balanced for District projects.  The EAC concurs and raises no objection to existing Objective 4.1.1, "Balance water supply, flood protection, and environmental stewardship functions."  The proposed Objective no more conflicts with this balancing provision than does existing Objective 4.1.2 to improve watersheds, streams, and natural resources.

Policy 11 E-4.1.4, a new Objective to "Protect, enhance and restore thriving populations of key species indicative watershed health." The same issue arises here as above, that Staff interpretation does not remove the need for adequate Board direction, and Objective 4.1.2 is too general to provide adequate direction.

Staff also state that restoring habitat is better wording than restoring species.  If the Board agrees with Staff, then the solution here would be to reword this Objective rather than reject it outright.

Policy 12 E-4.1.5, a new Objective to "Protect, enhance, and restore riparian and in-stream and tidal habitat conditions conducive to watershed health, including diked historical bay land wetlands and former salt ponds."  Same issues as with the previous two Objectives, that existing Objective 4.1.2, "Improve watersheds, streams, and natural resources," does not provide real direction to Staff.

We appreciate Staff's support for Policies 14 and 15, as well as Staff support for many EAC policy recommendations that have already been incorporated into Board policies.


Brian A. Schmidt
Legislative Advocate, Santa Clara County

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Letter to San Jose on Brookside Estate project

(We wrote the following letter to San Jose City Council saying that we weren't going to litigate over the flawed Brookside Estate project, but that we would follow up on better riparian protection policies and on followup approvals for that project.  -Brian)

October 12, 2010

San Jose City Council

            Re:  Brookside Estate project on Guadalupe Mines Road

Dear Mayor Reed and City Council Members;

The Committee for Green Foothills believes that the Brookside Estate rezoning project on Guadalupe Mines Road suffers from both legal flaws and policy flaws.  The legal flaws stem from the beginning of the project when environmental groups were not notified of the environmental review, and from the dismissive response of a Negative Declaration for a project that uproots hundreds of trees, requiring years and decades before the replacement trees will grow to size (if they actually grow successfully).  Legal flaws also include the vast expansion of the use of the site from the limited intensity of activity only during the work hours for five days a week, to a 24-hour, seven days a week activity of nearly 90 residences.  Policy flaws include the significant job losses to the City from the permanent jobs from the company that is presently on the site, to the decision to ignore the recommendations of both Planning staff and of the City's Planning Commission and exempt this project from the 100-foot riparian buffer policy that the City talks so proudly about in other contexts. Flaws also include a lack of contact or follow through with regulatory agencies, ignoring that that there are special status species in the vicinity, and a faulty method of determination of ‘riparian edge’.

Despite all the above, and while the Committee for Green Foothills has openly considered litigation regarding this project, we are also aware of good faith efforts by staff, the Mayor's Office, and by Council Members Kalra and Pyle to address the issue of stream protection.  While every effort would be made to separate that work from ongoing litigation, some defensiveness is inevitable. 

Given the potential conflict, the potential for progress on overall policy, and the subsequent planning that will still occur on the Brookside Estate project, the Committee for Green Foothills' Board of Director members support a dual path in lieu of litigation at present, where the Committee will stay intensely involved in all subsequent planning for Brookside Estate, and the Committee will be involved with better overall policies.

We hereby request that from this time on, unlike the previous practice, that we and all other environmental organizations be notified of any project, permit, or environmental review related to Brookside Estate.  We appreciate the willingness to improve the present policy, and hope to achieve substantial improvements to protect the environment and surrounding community near the Brookside Estate project.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

Brian A. Schmidt
Legislative Advocate, Santa Clara County

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Letter to Palo Alto City Council on house size limits in Foothills

(We wrote the letter below urging the City to adopt maximum house size limits to control monster mansions in the foothills.  Unfortunately the City declined to do so after some landowners called for time for "present restrictions to work."  We'll have to give it a little time, and then try again.  -Brian)

September 29, 2010

Palo Alto City Council

Dear Mayor Burt and City Council Members;

The Committee for Green Foothills regrets that the Palo Alto Planning Commission, in our opinion, failed to follow City Council direction to provide real options on house size limits.  Instead the Commission returned to the Council a simplified recommendation that provided fewer options than what the Council originally had, when it directed to the Planning Commission to research this issue.  We accordingly recommend that City Council take no final action on this issue at the Monday meeting, and instead direct staff to create a range of house size options and provide them to the City Council at a later date.

Please see the attached letter from Committee for Green Foothills dated February 18, 2010 that explains the appropriate reasons for house size limits and our suggestion of how they could be done.

In its simplest form, the question is whether the Buckingham Palace should be considered a single family residence for an elderly couple.  If you agree that is an inappropriate designation, then we need to work on specifics, and these were not given to the City Council.  The "one size fits all" category of 12,000 square feet with additional loopholes fails to provide a range of real options, as well as being so loose as to be nearly meaningless.

The one idea not mentioned in our February 18 letter is to encourage the City Council to direct staff to provide an open-ended exemption.  Let an applicant demonstrate through the applicant's own creativity and diligence that the proposal exceeds the environmental value of a smaller project, and it could be approved.

Finally, if the City decides not to impose realistic limits, we request that you direct staff to consider development restrictions that encompass the many environmental parameters that are not addressed under current development standards, like the carbon footprint from increased transportation for the staff needed to service monster mansions, the increased habitat loss from the need to construct a defensible fire perimeter around large structures with large perimeters, and changed hydrology from increased impervious surface area relative to smaller structures.

We encourage you to consider the specifics listed in our letters, and ask that you direct staff to return to you with additional ideas.

Please contact us if you have any questions.


Brian A. Schmidt
Legislative Advocate, Santa Clara County

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Good news - Santa Clara County Supervisors reject Planning Commission advice to weaken water conservation standards

Yesterday I attended the County Board of Supervisors meeting, where they were considering a new landscaping water conservation ordinance.  The Planning Commission had recommended several steps to weaken the ordinance proposed by County Planning staff, which was strange because the staff version basically followed the state model ordinance, and state law says the alternatives must be at least as effective in water conservation.

Committee for Green Foothills spoke against the proposed changes, and I'm relieved to announce that the Supervisors voted unanimously for the staff version.  There was a proposed change that would eliminate maintenance requirements, which would be a very bad idea, and it's not totally clear to me whether that flaw has been fixed - we'll have to see when the draft ordinance comes out.

Overall, some good news at yesterday's meeting!

-Brian Schmidt

Monday, September 27, 2010

Letter to Santa Clara County on Parkland Acquisition Plan

(Committee for Green Foothills submitted the letter below to Santa Clara County Supervisors on improving the Parkland Acquisition Plan.  -Brian)

September 27, 2010

Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors

            Re:  Item 20, Study Session on the County Parks Acquisition Plan – comment for the Study Session and response to the Draft Summary of Public Workshops

Dear President Yeager and Board of Supervisors:

CGF submits the following comments on the County Parks Acquisition Plan as well as some disagreement with the Draft Summary of Public Workshops ("Summary") for the Parks Acquisition Plan.  As an initial matter, we thank County Staff for all the extensive outreach work that they did.

On page 8 of the Summary, the document states there was confusion in the public comments relating to "the appropriateness of using the Park Charter Fund monies to acquire lands for [County Habitat Plan] mitigation not related to the mission of the Parks and Recreation Department."  We don't believe this summary captures the point that CGF and others were expressing.

We have two concerns regarding the relationship between the Park Charter Fund and Acquisition Plan on one side, and the County Habitat Plan on the other.  First, to the extent that the Park Charter Fund is used to mitigate impacts created by other County government agencies, an environmental benefit that would otherwise accrue to the taxpaying public has been lost.  This is because to the extent used as mitigation, the benefit of preserving endangered species habitat will be balanced with an equivalent level of harm caused to endangered species habitat by other County agencies.

Second, the criterion in the draft Acquisition Plan that would support acquiring parkland that fulfills the County Road Department mitigation requirements under the County Habitat Plan (phrased as fulfilling "Valley Habitat Plan Priorities" on Page A-4 of Supp. Info. 1a on the agenda), has the exact negative effect that Committee for Green Foothills predicted three years ago when we opposed this use of Park Charter Fund.  We said the effect would be to skew the acquisition process, from the endangered habitat that is most in need of preservation to habitat the Roads Department and other County agencies want purchased.  This appears to be happening.  We also anticipate that removing the obligation of County agencies to pay for habitat mitigation will also remove their incentive to minimize the impact.

For the above reasons, the Committee for Green Foothills supports an increased emphasis on parkland acquisition that protects endangered habitat, but not one that changes the benefit of increased protection into the neutral value of mitigation that only balances habitat destruction.  We request that acquisition emphasize the protection of endangered species habitat that is not needed by other County agencies to mitigate their habitat impacts.

We also request that the Draft Summary be amended to reflect the concerns listed above, concerns that were presented at one of the Public Workshops.

Please contact me with any questions.


Brian A. Schmidt
Legislative Advocate, Santa Clara County

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

New Advocate, Julie Hutcheson, joins Committee for Green Foothills

(We're extremely happy to have Julie join our team and expand our efforts to help preserve the natural resources, working farmlands, and native habitats of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.  -Brian)



 Environmental group hires new Legislative Advocate
Activist will join Brian Schmidt and Lennie Roberts as County watchdogs

PALO ALTO, CAEnvironmental nonprofit Committee for Green Foothills announced today that the organization has hired local activist Julie Hutcheson to serve as the organization’s third County Legislative Advocate.  Hutcheson will join longtime Legislative Advocates Brian Schmidt and Lennie Roberts, who will also continue to work on open space issues throughout Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.
Hutcheson, a native Canadian and long time Morgan Hill resident, has been involved locally advocating for preservation of farmland, improving and sustaining smart growth and quality of life, and open space protection.  She is the founder of Thrive! Morgan Hill, was active in the 2009 Measure A campaign for the Downtown Morgan Hill, has been an advocate of the Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Business Advocacy Committee and the Environmental Affairs Council.  

 “Julie brings to our team a strong working knowledge of county issues and policies.  Her first-hand experience with local land use issues and grassroots organizing is invaluable to the Committee’s work in the County,” said Cynthia D’Agosta, Executive Director.  “We are excited about adding her expertise and passion to our team of Advocates and increasing our capacity to fight for protection of local lands for future generations.”

About 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 beautiful area.  For more information about the Committee, visit www.GreenFoothills.org.
# # #

Friday, September 10, 2010

Guest Post by CGF Intern Anthony Aerts

(CGF Intern Anthony Aerts gave us this final write-up about his time with us this summer.  Thanks for all the help, Anthony!  -Brian)


My Time at CGF

Today was the final day of my summer internship with CGF. It’s hard to believe that ten weeks can go by so quickly. During my time here, I was fortunate to be given the responsibility and independence to complete three diverse projects. I was also lucky to be able to work and learn from both Brian and Cynthia on a one-on-one basis. For ten weeks, I felt not like a grunt worker, but a part of the CGF team.
Some of my earliest work consisted of researching the current hillside development regulations in place for various jurisdictions in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. I collected data from the each jurisdiction’s zoning code for relevant regulatory measures. These measures included green building standards, house size limits, building height limits, light reflectance values, and transferable development credits. As a final product, I combined these findings into a forward-looking project proposal for future hillside development research to combat urban sprawl in the Bay Area.

Second, I worked closely with Cynthia to develop a write-up on the historical ecology of the San Francisquito Creek watershed. This watershed will face many biologic and jurisdictional challenges in the years to come, and CGF may have a role to play. My summary was used to compliment the more extensive cultural study done on the Creek’s lower watershed by co-intern, Annika Christensen. Hopefully this project can be of use to the debate and planning around one of Santa Clara’s most valuable natural resources.

Finally, the project which required most of my time involved creating, with Brian’s help, a position statement on subsidized water for urban edge farms. While subsidies are normally discouraged by environmentalists when they lead to waste, we had reason to believe that this label may not necessarily be appropriate for urban edge farms who engage in water conservation practices. CGF considers all farms in Santa Clara County to be urban edge. As such, they provide many environmental benefits as buffers to urban sprawl and preservers of cultural/historic values. I was fortunate enough to conduct informational interviews with five farmers in the region, and the testimony I collected formed a supporting document to the position statement. We concluded that water subsidies do play a role in helping these urban edge farms stay economically viability and continue to provide the above mentioned environmental benefits. This project was an important exercise in unifying the visions of the farming and environmental communities; something that will be increasingly important for both sides going forward.

I appreciate all that I have learned here at CGF and all of you who I met this summer. 

Happy trails -- Anthony

Thursday, September 9, 2010

CGF Comments on the draft Stanford HCP and EIS

(We submitted the comments below on the draft Stanford HCP.  -Brian) 

August 30, 2010

Sheila Larsen
Gary Stern
Fish and Wildlife Service and
National Marine Fisheries Service

            Re:  Comments on the Draft EIS and HCP/ITP for Stanford University

Dear Sheila and Gary:

Committee for Green Foothills (CGF) submits the following comments on the Draft EIS (DEIS) and HCP/ITP (HCP) for Stanford University:

I. Relationship to Searsville Dam and operations

The EIS, on pages 3-24 and 3-25, discusses an alternative that covers modifications to Searsville Dam and Reservoir for Flood Control, and concludes that this alternative was rejected from further consideration because no specific modifications have been evaluated for feasibility, and there is a large array of flood control measures that the Army Corps and the JPA will be analyzing and considering in the future.  The EIS does not discuss an alternative that covers modifications to Searsville Dam and Reservoir for the purpose of benefitting steelhead.  The HCP (Section 1.3, page 11) states that future structural changes to the dam could be covered by an addendum to the HCP.

Potential removal or modifications of Searsville dam to allow fish passage, while potentially beneficial for fish, could also have potentially adverse impacts to steelhead downstream of the dam due to increased sedimentation of the main stem of San Francisquito Creek. The large sediment load that originates in the Corte Madera Creek sub-watershed currently accumulates in large part behind the dam.  Searsville Lake and associated marshes and riparian areas provide habitat for species that would be greatly altered if the dam were removed.  These unknown impacts, particularly to aquatic avian species and bats, could outweigh the benefits of increased spawning and rearing habitat for steelhead upstream of the dam.   Downstream sedimentation associated with removal or modification of Searsville and potential increases in flood hazards in East Palo Alto, Palo Alto, and Menlo Park is another complex issue that must be carefully studied and thoroughly evaluated.

CGF supports a comprehensive study of options for Searsville Dam and Lake in collaboration with Stanford and other stakeholders.  Such a study should include analysis of beneficial and adverse impacts to species as well as downstream flood hazards.  CGF does not oppose inclusion of a sufficiently-comprehensive study in this HCP, even recognizing that such a study would necessarily delay the HCP.  CGF further believes, however, that a comprehensive study could also be done as an amendment to the HCP/ITP.

II. The HCP and DEIS fail to address the Stanford Sustainable Development Study

The wholesale failure to include discussion or analysis of the Stanford Sustainable Development Study (Sustainability Study) constitutes a significant oversight in the HCP and environmental review.  Stanford authored both the Sustainability Study and the Draft HCP, making the oversight particularly jarring.  Correcting this oversight will require significant rewriting of the HCP and EIS to reflect the Sustainable Development Study's conclusions about the amount of campus development that will be needed to occur beyond the Academic Growth Boundary (AGB).

The land outside the AGB and subject to the Sustainability Study analysis is likely to contain the majority of habitat potentially affected by the HCP, so conclusions in the Sustainability Study about level of anticipated development should weigh heavily on the assessment of anticipated impacts from the HCP.  Historically, the level of development of Stanford land in San Mateo County has been quite small – most development occurred in Santa Clara County.  The vast majority of habitat in Santa Clara County is outside the AGB.  Important exceptions occur in the vicinity of San Francisquito Creek and Lake Lagunita, but both of those areas will be subject to special restrictions in the HCP. 

The Sustainability Study analysis covers approximately half the time period of the proposed HCP, also making it highly determinative of projections for the second half of the HCP time period.  There is no reason for assuming a sudden explosion of development after the current General Use Permit and Sustainability Study analysis end, so the best practice would be to rely on these existing analyses to project outward for an additional 25 years.

III. The HCP and DEIS overestimate the amount of habitat that Stanford may want to impact

HCP and DEIS should examine actual habitat development rates under the GUP for purposes of projecting future needs.  The DEIS states that under the existing GUP, Stanford "could" develop up to 30 acres of potential habitat.  DEIS at 3-2.  No citation is given for this statement, and the GUP in any event is not the final word on new development at Stanford.  To assess future habitat development rates based on the GUP, the HCP should instead examine what acreage of habitat has been developed in the nearly 10 years that the GUP has been in place.

The 180-acre estimate double-counts the 30 acres for the GUP.  As discussed below, the projection of 50-150 acres of anticipated development overstates the existing trends and contradicts Stanford's own analysis.  Even if the trend of 1-3 acres annually were correct, however, that would cover the time period and geographic area of the GUP.  There is no analysis supporting the conclusion that Stanford would damage habitat at its pre-GUP rate, and then in addition to that impact, would destroy another 30 acres through the GUP.  The already-inflated and incorrect 150 acre estimate of habitat impact forms a ceiling.

The Sustainability Analysis estimates significant constraints on future development that need to be included the HCP analysis.  To our knowledge, the Sustainability Study is left unmentioned in the HCP and DEIS, especially its conclusion that essentially no development need occur beyond the AGB in Santa Clara County.  While it is not binding, the Sustainability Study is Stanford's own analysis of future impacts that it should not ignore simply because it is not currently discussing the sustainability of development patterns.

The Sustainability Study indicates the level of impact on acreage beyond the AGB should be near zero for the 25 years covered by the Study, and the HCP impact levels should be adjusted to the reflect that fact.  The Sustainability Study further indicates a likely constrained level of development in other habitat areas and constrained development in the area beyond the AGB after 2035.  No evidence has been provided for a different trend in the future than the trend anticipated by Stanford itself in its own study.  That trend should be extended forward to cover the period of the HCP.

Simply put, the HCP and DEIS provided an incorrect trend line for anticipating future habitat development that would require a permit.  It has not provided a habitat development rate for recent years under the GUP, nor has it included the constraints on development that Stanford itself acknowledged in the Sustainability Study.  Reduced impact figures should therefore be included as constraints on the terms of the HCP.

IV. Stanford's authority over the land trust significantly reduces the trust's ability to do its job and avoid conflicts of interest.

The land trust that is to be the recipient of conservation easements from Stanford needs to be completely independent of Stanford and ready (if needed) to even bring legal action against Stanford to enforce the easements, yet Stanford is given authority to set up the trust with no details on how that will happen.   Establishment of a trust directed in whole or even in part by persons receiving paychecks from Stanford would create irreconcilable conflicts of interest, as Stanford's ability to exercise control over its employees could influence whether the trust could exercise its legal obligation to protect the conservation easements.  Disclaimers that "Stanford would never do such a thing, even 50 years from now" are wholly irrelevant, whether such disclaimers are accurate or not.  The conflict of interest exists regardless of good intentions.

The trust also needs sufficient resources to monitor and defend the easements that it owns.  This could include litigation both litigation and ability to call on independent scientific expertise.  The land trust needs to be adequately funded by Stanford[1], and run by worthy people nominated by Stanford in advance of approval, who are not Stanford employees, and who appoint their own replacements so that Stanford has no subsequent appointment power.

V. Additional issues

            CGF provides the following short-but-important comments:

The HCP needs to integrate and work with downstream impacts of San Fracisquito Creek on endangered species.  The San Francisquito Creek flood control project in particular should be discussed in the HCP as an opportunity for potential cooperation.

The HCP needs further specificity in describing areas that are to be preserved away from the riparian zones.

            Undevelopable areas placed under conservation easements should not be credited to Stanford as mitigation for development elsewhere.  In particular, streambeds are essentially undevelopable.  Stanford will never have an opportunity to develop those areas and creation of conservation easements therefore does nothing to mitigate impacts elsewhere.  The conservation easements should have to extend an additional distance away beyond streambeds to include areas that have some potential for development in order to act as real mitigation.

            As the red-sided garter snake habitat is unprotected and increasingly likely to be destroyed south of Stanford, it is also likely that intergrade garter snakes at Stanford will increasingly belong to the San Francisco garter snake gene pool and should be treated as a listed species.


            We urge the HCP and DEIS be revised to reflect the comments in this letter.

            Please contact us with any questions.


Brian A. Schmidt                                                                                    Lennie Roberts
Legislative Advocate, Santa Clara County                                                 Legislative Advocate, San Mateo County

[1] One possibility is a funding agreement with Stanford that allows the trust to obtain funding from Stanford for consultants and even to oppose the university, such as in an enforcement action.  This agreement would have to be clear in that there could be no possibility for Stanford to evade its responsibilities, and also requires a truly independent trust to function.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Committee for Green Foothills says "No, NO, a thousand times NO!!!" to Proposition 23

This is just a quick note that the Committee for Green Foothills' Board of Directors voted to oppose Proposition 23, and out-of-state funded proposition that would gut our efforts to fight climate change.  We'll have more about this problem in the near future, but wanted to make a note of it as soon as possible.

-Brian Schmidt

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

CGF/Audubon appeal of the Brookside Estates development approval in San Jose

(CGF and Audubon filed a joint appeal below of a misguided project near Guadalupe Creek.  -Brian)

Joint Appeal by Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society and
Committee for Green Foothills
Supplement Appeal Information
August 20, 2010

The Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society (SCVAS) and Committee for Green Foothills (CGF), together representing more than 2000 residents in the City of San Jose, hereby appeal any certification of the Initial Study (IS) and Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) for the proposed Project PDC10-005, Rezoning real property located on the west side of Guadalupe Mines Road, and file this appeal of the certification for the reasons stated below. 

I. General Comments.

As an initial matter, we note that both for our organizations and for any other appellants, the inadequate notice given for this project means the reasons for appeal cannot be limited to those stated at the hearings at the Planning Commission and City Council.  The inadequate notice is in itself a sufficient reason to set aside the certification, but it also deprived appellants of the opportunity to learn of deficiencies in the MND.  The City cannot deprive the public of the opportunity to investigate deficiencies in its MND, and then claim appellants have failed to investigate deficiencies in a timely manner.[1]

  1. Insufficient notice to our and other organizations mean the MND certification should be set aside or recirculated for additional comment.

San Jose has acknowledged that SCVAS and a total of seven unnamed environmental organizations that are on the notice list for CEQA projects in the City did not in fact receive notice.[2]  SCVAS in particular submitted preliminary comments and then asked to be notified and provided with environmental review documents as they became available.  The failure to notice SCVAS and other organizations means the process for examining the environmental review is itself inadequate.  The appropriate fix to that process is to reopen that review.

Not only has the City failed to provide notice that would allow for adequate review of the MND, it failed to respond adequately when informed of its deficiency.  The response requested by SCVAS was two weeks of additional time to respond to the CEQA documentation.  The City gave no additional time to respond to the CEQA document and instead, only postponed its hearing on the separate subject of project approval.  It is well established that the decision on the adequacy of environmental review and the decision nothing to cure the deficiency in the CEQA process by failing to provide proper notification.

The last piece of this confusion regarding notification is on the specific action taken by the City Council on August 17.  While minutes have not been published, the only motion was to defer consideration of the project until August 31, and there was no specific motion to certify the MND.  While the Mayor said the time for the appeal of the certification ends on Friday, it is not clear what, if any, decision is supposed to be appealed.

  1. Failure to provide notification to other affected agencies:

Because we were not given adequate time to review the environmental documentation, it is not entirely clear whether expert and responsible agencies were adequately notified so they could participate in the CEQA review.  For example, Santa Clara Valley Water District submitted comments on the project prior to the release of the Initial Study in July.  We are not aware if the District was notified when the Initial Study was released.  A specific failure to notify the Water District (if that is the case) after it provided preliminary comments would be comparably fatal a flaw as the failure to provide information to SCVAS.

            Beyond the specific issue of comments submitted by the Water District prior to the Initial Study, the IS itself states regarding the Valley Habitat Plan that "The Interim Project Referral Process requires the local participating agencies to notify the wildlife agencies (CDFG and USFWS) of projects that have the potential to adversely impact covered species or natural communities, or conflict with preliminary conservation objectives of the Habitat Plan."  (IS at 111, emphasis added.)  One of the preliminary conservation objectives of the Habitat Plan is a riparian buffer zone, which includes a 100' buffer on urban streams.  (See Valley Habitat Plan Administrative Draft Figure 6-4.)[3]  The overt conflict with the conservation objectives of the Habitat Plan triggers the notification requirement.  If that was not done as part of the IS/MND process (not just before), then this constitutes an independent reason why the City should find on our appeal that the current IS/MND cannot or should not be used to approve this project.

II. Specific Flaw and Problems with the IS/MND

SCVAS and CGF provide the following additional reason to set aside the IS/MND and to not approve the proposed project:

1. Additional reasons why notice was inadequate. 

The public process leading to the approval of the MND was flawed, and for no fault of our own excluded SCVAS from the environmental review process (References: email correspondence with City planners April 16 2010, letter to city planners April 20th, 2010, see attached). CEQA requires that The Lead Agency must consider the comments it receives during the review period prior to adopting a mitigated Negative Declaration. The information and comments that SCVAS provided in our correspondence with city planners were not included in the project review process, and we did not have the opportunity to provide additional valuable comments and feedback to City staff prior to certification of the IS and MND. Because of that, the project description and the information that was provided and analyzed in the IS and the MND is insufficient and inherently flawed.

2. Description of the tree community

The IS provides an inadequate description and assessment of the tree community and its value in providing habitat for wintering, foraging and breeding birds and other wildlife. The documents clearly underestimate avian species abundance and diversity at the site. The IS and MND ignore breeding populations of special status species in riparian vegetation and in the creek (yellow warbler Dendroica petechia, steelhead trout Oncorhynchus mykiss) despite the fact that SCVAS alerted the SJ planning division to the presence of these species as early as April 16th and again on April 20th, 2010. The inadequacies listed above invalidate the following:

•           The assessment that “No rare, threatened, endangered or special status species of flora or fauna are known to inhabit the site.”
•           The determination of no significant impacts to species identified as a candidate, sensitive, or special status species in local or regional plans, policies, or regulations, or by the California Department of Fish and Game or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
•           Proposed mitigations for identified significant impacts on birds.

3. Compatibility with the Valley Habitat Plan

 The IS and the MND do not analyze compatibility of the project with the Santa Clara Valley HCP/NCCP riparian habitat conservation policies. The documents neglect to consider potential impacts to the federally threatened steelhead in the creek. Without adequate assessment, it is not possible to determine whether or not mitigation is required in order to provide adequate protection to riparian habitat or identify appropriate mitigations. The inadequacies listed above invalidate the following:

•           The determination of no substantial adverse effect on any aquatic, wetland, or riparian habitat or other sensitive natural community identified in local or regional plans, policies, regulations, or by the California Department of Fish and Game or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

In addition to potential notice problems related to the Valley Habitat Plan, the Santa Clara Habitat Planning Agreement, of which San Jose is a signatory, is intended to insure that Interim Projects such as this one "help achieve the preliminary conservation objectives of the [Valley Habitat] Plan."  (IS at 50).  Because one of the preliminary conservation objectives of the Habitat Plan is a 100' buffer (or possibly with a smaller buffer plus mitigation funding equivalent to the lost ecological value from a full 100' buffer), the IS/MND fails to meet a substantive standard for habitat protection.

4. Impact on Recreation Resources.

The determination that the project will not have a significant impact on recreation resources is false. This determination ignores recreation value of the site for our membership. Bird watching is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States, as it allows low impact recreation to young and old. Due to the great variety of avian species onsite, many local birders go to the site. If the bird community is impacted and becomes less diverse, there would be an impact on the ability of our bird-watching community to recreate at the site. Onsite and offsite mitigation measures should be developed to address this potential impact.

The statute provides that mitigated Negative Declarations are used "when the initial study has identified potentially significant effects on the environment, but (1) revisions in the project plans or proposals made by, or agreed to by, the applicant before the proposed negative declaration and initial study are released for public review would avoid the effects or mitigate the effects to a point where clearly no significant effect on the environment would occur, and (2) there is no substantial evidence in light of the whole record before the public agency that the project, as revised, may have a significant effect on the environment" (Section 21064.5).

A mitigated Negative Declaration is based on the premise that the project will not result in a significant effect. We argue that not all potentially significant effects of the project can and will be avoided or mitigated to a level of insignificance by the MND.

Thus, the finding in section XVIII of the MND “MANDATORY FINDINGS OF SIGNIFICANCE” – “The project will not substantially reduce the habitat of a fish or wildlife species, be cumulatively considerable, or have a substantial adverse effect on human beings, therefore no additional mitigation is required” – is false.

There exists substantial evidence that potential environmental effects may occur despite the mitigation measures included in the mitigated Negative Declaration, and that it is unlikely that these impacts can be fully avoided or mitigated in subsequent revisions to the project. We believe we can fairly argue, based on substantial evidence, in light of the whole record, that this project may have significant environmental effects on special status species and on regional plans for watershed and habitat conservation. This rezoning project should not proceed without a comprehensive Environmental Impact Report.

5.  Bird Habitat and Avian Diversity

The site supports a rich community of native and non-native trees that create a rich, three-dimensional habitat for avian species.  Of special interest to SCVAS is the diversity of tree species, the presence of dozens of valley oaks and of coast live oaks as well as other native trees of great habitat value throughout the project site. In addition, tree “health diversity” is an important aspect of wildlife and especially avian habitat, with sick or dead tree limbs and dead trees providing food resources (insects) and nesting cavities.

•           The loss of known and established foraging, wintering and breeding habitat due to the loss of trees and open landscaping, change in development density, intensity and configuration, is not addressed in the IS, and not mitigated in the MND.
•           The habitat loss associated with the loss of tree age structure and “tree health diversity” due to the replacement of old trees with new, healthy trees is not addressed in the IS, and not mitigated in the MND.
•           The planting of trees in alternative site(s) or the donation of funds to Our City Forest does mitigate the impact of the loss of existing tree habitat for the avifauna at the project site.

The diversity of trees in various “health” states supports at least 82 species of birds at the proposed project site, including resident and wintering rare and declining species, and a CA Species of Special Concern (J. Pauser, Audubon Volunteer Survey, 2008 – 2010, attached). In the survey that was used to establish the background information for the project, project consultants identified a total of 12 common species, and proposed that 5 additional species may use the riparian area – a total of only 17 mostly common species.

•           SCVAS provided information to the City of San Jose that clearly indicated the great diversity of birds on site. The preparers of the IS did not contact SCVAS to follow up and request information. The physical, onsite surveys performed by consultants to the project proponents were obviously inadequate.
•           The list of sources and references reveals that the preparers of the IS did not use online bird databases and other readily available resources (such as the Breeding Bird Atlas of Santa Clara Valley) in their assessment.
•           As a result, the IS clearly underestimates the number of avian species that use the proposed project site, missed the yellow warbler as well as many other species of birds that use the site and/or nest there.
•           The value of existing breeding, wintering, and foraging habitat to a diverse community of birds is not assessed by the IS. The assertion that “while the site provides some habitat for regional wildlife populations, it is not of unique or particularly significant value to such populations” (IS, page 62) is thus false.

Therefore, for avian species, the MND does not avoid the effects or mitigate the effects to a point where clearly no significant effect remains on wintering, foraging, and nesting habitat; the MND does not avoid the effects or mitigate the effects to a point where clearly no significant incidental take of occupied nests will take place. This would be a violation of the Migratory Birds Treaty Act.

6. Special Status Bird Species and the Migratory Birds Treaty Act

The IS proposes that only three (3) special status species may potentially occur onsite as foragers, transients, or residents. Of these, only one is an avian species: white-tailed kite. The yellow warbler is not identified as a species that may potentially occur at the site, or nest there.

The Yellow Warbler, a California Species of Special Concern, is in decline in the western United States, where 95% of riparian habitats has been lost, altered, or degraded by human induced change (Ohmart 1994). It is likely that local habitat losses and nest parasitism have severely impacted the Yellow Warbler populations in Santa Clara County (Bousman 2007). Yellow warblers usually breed between April and July (inclusive) in Santa Clara County (Bousman 2007). Incubation lasts 10 to 14 days, and nestling period lasts from 8 to 12 days, and parental feeding may extend to two weeks after the young leave the nest, sometimes longer (Celada et al., 1999).

The IS states, “non-listed raptors, song birds and non-listed bat species the individuals of which are protected under State and Federal Law, may potentially occur onsite”, and stipulates that site development may result in direct mortality of individuals of the special status white-tailed kite, as well as other species of birds that are protected under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

The IS proposes that pre-construction and pre-tree removal surveys can mitigated impacts on avian species to a less-than-significant impact, and the MND stipulates that pre-construction surveys should take place no more than 14 days prior to the initiation of construction activities or tree relocation or removal between January and April (inclusive), and thirty days between May and August (inclusive).

Mr. Dave Johnston ((Environmental Scientist, CA Dept. of Fish and Game, personal communication) recommends that in cases where trees are to be removed or relocated, a nesting bird survey should take place no more than two (2) days prior to any scheduled tree work. For the duration of tree work during the nesting period, each tree scheduled to be relocated or removed must be inspected by a qualified biologist no more than two (2) days prior to action. This mitigation should ensure avoidance of incidental “take” of any bird nest that may contain eggs or nestlings. Indeed, PG&E has recently implemented this mitigation successfully for tree removal work in TJ Martin and Fontana parks in San Jose.

Since a bird can build a nest, lay eggs and start raising nestlings within the time interval of 14 days or 30 days, the mitigations proposed to protect birds during tree relocation or removal are inadequate and may result in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, including take of yellow warbler nests. Thus, impacts of tree relocation or removal remain a potentially significant impact that is inadequately addressed by the MND, and a violation of CEQA guidelines.

7. Encroachment on Habitat

In the letter of April 20th, SCVAS specifically requested an analysis of the possibility that the development of an active residential neighborhood, with pets and people in close proximity to the creek corridor, should encroach on wildlife habitat and impose potential impacts to known breeding habitat of listed species. This scoping request was ignored.
Thus, the possibility that intrusion into the known breeding habitat may pose unmitigable impacts to bird species was not adequately analyzed in the MND.  The proximity of residential development to the relatively intact riparian corridor would remain a Significant, Unavoidable Impact due to impacts from proximity to the riparian habitat, loss of native trees and vegetation, and the associated human and pet activity moved so close to the creek.  As a result, a Mitigated Negative Declaration would not be possible, and a clear violation of CEQA would occur.

8. Guadalupe Creek, steelhead, and regional conservation plans

In Santa Clara County, populations of the federally threatened steelhead inhabit San Francisquito, Stevens, Guadalupe, and Coyote Creeks, and their major tributaries. The Three Creek HCP (formerly FAHCE), administered by the Santa Clara Valley Water District, is currently being designed to protect and preserve the habitat that the steelhead need to migrate and spawn. Preliminarily, the stretch of the stream between Almaden Expressway and Masson Dam has been designated as a “cold water management zone” to protect steelhead and salmon habitat and spawning grounds. The IS ignored this designation of the section of the stream adjacent to the project site, and deems steelhead as unlikely to be present at the site. While we do not expect to find fish on land, assessment of the potential impacts of the project to steelhead during construction and after completion should be assessed.

The Mitigated Negative Declaration includes the mitigation "A creek bank setback equivalent to a 2:1 slope projection shall be established from the base of the creek bank." This mitigation contradicts the City recommended riparian setback development standard of 100 feet. It may result in potential impacts to Steelhead in the creek and to vegetation, trees and wildlife, including birds, in the riparian corridor. This lenient mitigation conflicts with other City and County plans, including the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) which requires a setback of 100 – 200 ft for fish bearing streams.

The Santa Clara Valley HCP/NCCP states: “The primary threat to Central California Coast [steelhead] is urbanization, which has resulted in freshwater habitat loss and habitat degradation” and warns, “NOAA Fisheries predicts that Central California Coast Steelhead will become endangered within the foreseeable future.” It is thus necessary for the assessment to evaluate the impacts of the new residential development on the success of the HCP in preserving and enhancing steelhead habitat in Guadalupe creek, especially in the section between Almaden Expressway and Masson Dam. The assessment must include potential impacts from runoff or discharge of sediment and pollutants into the creek, altered stream flow patterns in time and space, and impacts associated with narrowing of the riparian corridor and human access. Not only should the analysis consider changes that may apply to stormwater management, but also any change in zoning that leads to a more conservative flood control requirements must be analyzed, especially since the HCPs predict changes in flow in this section of the creek: “the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Plan will contribute to the conservation and recovery of steelhead by protecting watershed functions that provide habitat for steelhead. Changes in flow releases proposed under the Three Creeks HCP (formerly FAHCE) will improve habitat conditions for steelhead within the Study Area.”

Additionally, City Staff acknowledged a problem with compatibility with the City's Riparian Protection Guidelines.  In the testimony by City staff on August 11, they pointed out that the City's Riparian Guidelines provide a minimum buffer zone of 50 feet except for urban infill, and City staff rightly agreed that this project, on the edge of large amounts of open space and rural development, is not urban infill.  (See http://sanjose.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=35&clip_id=4460 at approximately the 3:25 mark.)  Approval of the project with buffer zones of less that 50', as contemplated here, therefore violates the City's own guidelines.  While the project applicants have misconstrued the exception process to conclude incorrectly that less than 100' buffer should be applied to this project, those exceptions do not apply to the 50' minimum.


            For the reasons stated above, CGF and SCVAS appeal any decision that the IS/MND is adequate, request that the City not approve the underlying project.

            Please contact us with any questions.


Shani Kleinhaus                                                            Brian Schmidt
Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society                             Committee for Green Foothills

Bousman, Bill. 2007. Breeding Birds Atlas of Santa Clara County, California. Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society

Celada, C., P. Lowther, N. Klein, C. Rimmer, D. Spector. 1999. Yellow Warber (Dedroica Petechia). The Birds of North America, No. 454.

Ohmart, R.D. 1994. The effects of human-induced changes on the avifauna of Western Habitats. A century of Avifaunal Change in Western North America, pp. 273-285 (J.R. Jehl and N.K. Johnson, eds.)Studies in Avian Biology, No. 15.

Pauser, J. List of birds on project site 2008-2010. Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society.

SCVAS email correspondence with San Jose City Planner Mike Enderby April 16th 2101
SCVAS letter to San Jose City Planners Mike Enderby and Leslie Xavier April 20th 2101
SCVAS email to San Jose City Council Auaust 16th, 2010

Santa Clara Valley NCCP/HCP

[1] Even persons who were adequately noticed have also been deprived of the right to learn of deficiencies that others could have found, so any appellant should be able to provide additional evidence.
[2] CGF normally receives CEQA notices from San Jose and has no record of receiving notice of this project, so CGF believes it has been deprived notice as well.
[3] As a participant in the Valley Habitat Plan, the City should already possess this document.  It is our understanding that alternatively to a 100' buffer under the Valley Habitat Plan would be a smaller buffer plus payment into a mitigation fund to make up for the equivalent ecological value of the 100' buffer, which was not done here.