Open Space at Risk in San Jose: Please Act Now

Pleasant Hills Golf Course. Photo credit: Juan Estrada, Green Foothills

Update: For the result of this City Council vote, please see Update: San Jose Private Recreation and Open Space Vote.

The San Jose City Council will be considering a proposal that would facilitate development on Private Recreation and Open Space zoned areas. The Planning Commission already rejected this proposal on November 16, thanks to the hundreds of community members who responded to our action alert and submitted emails opposing it. Now the proposal goes to the City Council for the final decision.

Please use the form below to tell the City Council to join the Planning Commission and city staff in rejecting this last-minute proposal.

What’s Happening

In 2018, the City Council passed a policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by focusing the city’s growth in the city center. Now, Planning Department staff is recommending an update to the policy to facilitate housing in areas already zoned for residential development. Green Foothills doesn’t object to that policy change. However, an “Alternative Recommendation” has been proposed by the City’s Transportation and Environment Committee to also facilitate housing in areas zoned for Private Recreation and Open Space.

After Green Foothills alerted the community, hundreds of community members emailed the San Jose Planning Commission, which then voted overwhelmingly to explicitly reject the Alternative Recommendation. However, the decision ultimately rests with the City Council 29 as to whether to adopt the staff recommendation or to follow the Transportation and Environment Committee’s Alternative Recommendation.

Why It Matters

The Alternative Recommendation is inconsistent with the city’s General Plan and would facilitate development of huge parcels of open space without a community visioning process, such as is currently being provided for multiple other large parcels in San Jose.

The most immediate and obvious beneficiary of this harmful policy would be the owners of the former Pleasant Hills Golf Course site. This site, which is close to Reid-Hillview Airport, comprises 114 acres of currently undeveloped open space land. It presents an unparalleled opportunity to gain publicly accessible open space for local communities as part of a community-centered visioning process for future development of the site.

Planning Department staff also oppose the Alternative Recommendation, noting in the staff report: “One developer’s interest in one potential redevelopment project should not drive the direction of Citywide policy.” We agree that if the Council would like to consider allowing the Pleasant Hills Golf Course to redevelop, the city should lead a transparent community engagement process to determine how the development of the site could meet the needs of its future residents, the larger community, and the city.

What You Can Do

Please email the City Council to ask them to follow the Planning Department staff recommendation and reject the Alternative Recommendation that would facilitate development on Private Recreation and Open Space land. To receive future alerts from Green Foothills, subscribe to our e-newsletter.

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