(The following News Alert went out today to our Action Alert subscribers. -Brian)
We want to let CGF supporters know about recent advances in local environmental protection: protecting Palo Alto foothills from sprawl, the takeout bag ban in San Jose, and increasing Water District support for environmental protection. We thank all of you for your generous help with your time and your donations, and we’ll be sure to keep you informed about next steps where we can use your help.
In Palo Alto, the City Council reviewed extensive revisions to zoning which controls development in the foothills that extend from Page Mill Rd. all the way up to Skyline Drive. CGF Advocate Brian Schmidt was the only environmental group representative on the advisory committee and while city staff made certain improvements over an outdated ordinance, Brian encouraged them to go further. By decisive votes, the City Council rejected the proposal for inappropriate second residences on these parcels, directed planners to develop maximum house size limits, and even started considering the issues of giant basement developments that are the latest aspects of monster mansions. CGF will continue to work on these improvements that have been suggested.
In San Jose, the City Council took the first definitive step for the strongest take-out bag ban for any major city in the US, banning plastic and requiring paper bags be made from 40% recycled content. Contrary to media reports, a fee on paper bags isn’t required but will be considered in the future. They will consider other options in an EIR, which actually gives us a chance to push for a few improvements. Councilmember Liccardo, one of the two leaders on the issue along with Kansen Chu, thanked CGF and other groups from the dais for our work on the issue.
Finally Santa Clara Valley Water District considered recommendations for environmental enhancements and erosion control from the District’s Environmental Advisory Committee, where CGF Advocate Brian Schmidt is the chair of the committee. While they didn’t take final action on the recommendations, the Board of Directors were very receptive and appreciative of the recommendations and will return to consider them further at a later date.
Thanks again for all your help and support of our work. Each of these advances requires that CGF be present for follow-up work, so we’ll keep active and keep you informed.
Thanks for speaking up for environmental protections! Your voice does make a difference!
– The folks at Committee for Green Foothills