Open Space at Risk in San Jose: Act by 11/16

Killdeer in the grass near Pleasant Hills Golf Course. Photo credit: Don DeBold, flickr

On Wednesday, November 16, the San Jose Planning Commission will consider a proposal that would facilitate development on Private Recreation and Open Space zoned areas. Please tell the Planning Commission to reject 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 this 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.

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 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 with city staff 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 Planning Commission and ask them to follow the Planning Department staff recommendation and explicitly reject the alternative recommendation that would facilitate development on Private Recreation and Open Space land.

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