CGF Action Alert: Protect Open Space and Stop Bad Planning in San Jose’s Evergreen District!

(This may also be published on our Action Alert page, but in the interest of time, I’m putting it here on the blog as well. -Brian)
At their meeting on Tuesday, May 15, the San Jose City Council will decide whether to approve an updated Specific Plan for the Evergreen District that relies on an outdated City General Plan, has numerous environmental impacts, and could harm efforts to slow the developers’ land rush in CoyoteValley.

Please join us in asking the City Council to defer a major update of the Evergreen Specific Plan until after the City General Plan has been revised.

What’s Happening:

Developers in east San Jose are proposing conversion of 500 acres of land to housing that is now mostly designated for industrial and commercial purposes. Currently, housing makes more money for developers, but less money for the City’s coffers. The City is considering going along with this proposal, despite the fact that San Jose uses the lack of space for commercial and industrial uses in the city as an excuse to sprawl into CoyoteValley, destroying farmland forever.

Although on a smaller scale than CoyoteValley, the Evergreen proposal will have similar impacts on traffic and air quality. Of particular concern is the 50-acres of prime farmland and a smaller amount of burrowing owl habitat that will be lost. Developers have opposed doing environmental mitigation to compensate for the lost farmland and owl habitat. They did not want to meet the standard that the City proposes for CoyoteValley, a standard that is itself insufficient.

San Jose has not revised its General Plan since 1994, and is now starting a revision that will take two to three years to complete. As is the case with CoyoteValley, an immediate, drastic change to the Evergreen Specific Plan that relies on an outdated General Plan is putting the cart before the horse. It would be far better for the City to revise the General Plan and then analyze the proposals it has received for Evergreen to decide its policy there.

Committee for Green Foothills strongly supports deferral of this project.

Why this is important:

It is likely that some change in zoning and the Specific Plan for Evergreen will be needed, but such changes should be done under the right circumstances and not at the expense of the environment. Making these changes under an updated General Plan that corresponds to the San Jose of today makes better decision-making far more likely. Constant maneuvering and pressure by developers also give a reason to put a brake on this project.

Handling Evergreen development correctly increases the chance of doing the same with the even-bigger CoyoteValley decision, so the decision on Tuesday is important.

For more information on these proposals, read the Mercury News editorial, and the Draft EIR summary.

What You Can Do:

Please ask the City Council to defer a decision on the Evergreen Specific Plan until the General Plan has been revised, and to ensure that loss of farmland and burrowing owl habitat be mitigated, if and when a decision on Evergreen ever happens.

San Jose City Council:

Email the Mayor,

Email the City Council,

or fax (408) 277-3868

As always, please send a copy to us so we can track the efficiency of our work:
Fax (650) 968-8431 or [email protected].

Thank you for speaking up for environmental protection!

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