On Tuesday, April 19, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors will decide whether to continue making progress on protecting Coyote Valley’s farmland and open space. Please ask the Supervisors to keep moving the process forward and to keep all options on the table that will help preserve farmland and open space.
On December 14, the Board of Supervisors voted to designate Coyote Valley as a Climate Resilience District. This new designation ensured that farmland in Mid and South Coyote Valley will not be taken over by luxury villas and estate homes.
While the worst dangers were avoided, a risk remains that piecemeal development could still destroy farmland and wildlife habitat. Realizing this, the County Supervisors directed staff to come back with options on how to incentivize landowners to protect farmland and open space and avoid development.
Staff have returned with several options for financial incentives to stop development. The most important is to buy the development rights to properties through “agricultural conservation easements” that still allow farming and habitat uses. Other options include grants for landowners to do things like plant habitat for pollinators and beneficial insects, install bat boxes or raptor poles, or restore riparian corridors. In addition, the County is working with outside experts to develop a “Climate Resilience Program” where landowners preserve the environment on their property and get paid for it to balance impacts elsewhere, measured under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
Why It’s Important
All the reasons for fighting large-scale urbanization of Coyote Valley also apply to protecting it from smaller developments. These financial incentives will let wildlife continue to travel through and live in the Valley, protect local agriculture, and protect our climate from more greenhouse gas emissions.
Buying development rights on private land can be significantly cheaper than buying the property outright, allowing more property to be protected. Innovative ideas like using climate resilience credits can also help protect Coyote Valley and make better, more efficient use of environmental mitigation under CEQA.
What You Can Do
Please email the Supervisors and ask them to keep this process moving forward, support buying agricultural conservation easements, and work with the climate experts on a Climate Resilience Program!