Action Alert! Uphold Good Land Use Policy

Update (1/23/14): The Board of Supervisors have decided to hold off on making a decision on the General Plan amendment application for the Uvas Road property. The application will be discussed at a future meeting, date TBD. We will keep everyone posted as we get more information.

From an action alert sent December 6, 2013:

Tell the Board of Supervisors to uphold good land use policy

On Tuesday, December 10, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors will decide whether to overturn decades of settled County land use policy and allow a rural landowner to subdivide his property into more than the allowed number of lots. Please ask the Board of Supervisors to uphold good land use policy and deny this application.

What’s Happening

For the past several decades, the County of Santa Clara has had policies in place restricting development in rural areas. With the specter of suburban sprawl always in sight, the County has determined to keep the rural areas rural, believing that scenic views, woodland and creek habitat for plants and wildlife, plenty of farmland to grow local crops, and low traffic, noise and air pollution are an important part of what makes this area beautiful and ensures the quality of life for our residents. Without these strict rules, our hillsides might well be covered in houses and buildings, with no views of natural areas or habitat for wildlife anywhere in the Santa Clara Valley.

The application before the Board of Supervisors asks for an amendment to the General Plan to allow up to 12 houses to be built on a 60-acre parcel on the corner of Uvas Road and Watsonville Road in the rural area west of San Martin, rather than the 3 houses that are currently allowed there. However, the County General Plan clearly requires that this greater level of housing density be allowed only as “infill” in areas where the housing is already at that level. If the Board of Supervisors approves this application, it will be an unprecedented reversal of decades of established County policy as well as a clear contradiction of unambiguous General Plan requirements.

Why This Is Important

This issue is important not so much for the fate of this individual site, but for the principle it embodies. As the economy begins to recover, development pressures, which have been reduced for several years, will begin to increase. If the Board of Supervisors approves the General Plan amendment on Tuesday, that will have an effect on land speculation and land values. The rolling hills of Santa Clara County, which provide beautiful views, hiking and camping opportunities, and habitat for wildlife, will be in increased jeopardy of sprawling development.

What You Can Do

Let your voice be heard! Send an email before Tuesday, December 10, to the Board of Supervisors. Let the Supervisors know that you do not want them to abandon good land use policy in order to benefit one landowner.

You can send an email to the Clerk of the Board at [email protected], or  send emails directly to each  Supervisor:

Supervisor Mike Wasserman:  [email protected]

Supervisor Cindy Chavez: [email protected]

Supervisor Dave Cortese: [email protected]

Supervisor Ken Yeager: [email protected]

Supervisor Joe Simitian: [email protected]

Here is a sample email you can use:

Dear Members of the Board of Supervisors:

Please uphold good land use policy and deny the application for a General Plan Amendment for the property at 12970 Uvas Road. This property does not meet the General Plan’s clear requirements for such an amendment, and to grant the application would be to overturn decades of established County policy. We cannot afford the threat of sprawl on our rural hillsides. Please protect our scenic views, woodland and creek habitat for plants and wildlife, farmland for local crops, and the rural character of our hillsides by denying this application.

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