Measure B: Measure B on San Jose’s June 2018 ballot, also called the “Evergreen Senior Homes Initiative,” purports to be about affordable housing for seniors and veterans — but in fact it would facilitate residential sprawl out on the farthest edges of San Jose, including North Coyote Valley.
Measure B would do two things: first, it would approve a gated development of more than 900 homes on 200 acres of open space on San Jose’s eastern border. Although touted by its proponents as providing affordable housing and creating open space, this initiative would actually weaken existing affordable housing requirements, and the only open space left once the development is built would be the 100-foot buffer zone along Fowler Creek, which runs through the development site.
Second, Measure B would create a “Senior Housing Overlay” that would apply to all “underutilized employment lands” in San Jose. This term is not defined in the initiative, but North Coyote Valley could be one of the areas these developers intend to target for future suburban sprawl – which, it should be noted, would have the same weakened requirements for affordable housing as on the Evergreen site. Other areas where this initiative creates exemptions or weakened requirements for these developers include traffic impact fees, walkability requirements, and pedestrian/bike connections.
Beyond the impacts to Coyote Valley, we are opposed in principle to all ballot measures that, like this one, result in “development by initiative.” Developments or projects approved via voter initiative bypass the environmental review process of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), as well as the usual planning process that allows for public participation and review. The fact that the full text of this initiative is 367 pages long underscores the fact that such complex planning documents need more substantive review than the average voter has time to achieve.
The precedential effect of Measure B is huge, especially if more and more developers attempt to use this shortcut in the future to get approval for their projects. Billionaire developers should not be able to use slick media campaigns with attractive illustrations to sell their projects to voters, rather than going through the normal approval process where tough questions can be asked.
Measure C: Measure C, also on San Jose’s June ballot, will protect residents from the costly and harmful effects of Measure B. Measure C limits urban sprawl by requiring that residential projects in outlying areas meet high standards for affordable housing, environmental protections, road improvements, and services for elderly and disabled residents. This will particularly benefit the open spaces of North Coyote Valley and the Evergreen foothills, which are threatened by Measure B.
Measure C applies to the following lands:
- 5 acres or larger
- Within 1 mile of the Urban Growth Boundary (the “Greenline”)
- In one of the following planning areas: Almaden, Calero, Coyote, San Felipe, Evergreen (basically, the southern and southeastern parts of the city)
- Designated for employment uses in the General Plan
In the event that a request is made to convert any of the above-described lands from employment uses to residential, the following requirements would apply:
- An analysis of the fiscal impacts to the city must be performed, at the landowner’s expense
- The proposed residential development must provide 50% of its units as affordable housing (rather than 20% as currently required)
- The developer must pay for road improvements, follow energy-efficiency standards, use recycled water for landscaping, and provide support services for elderly and disabled residents.
Measure C prevents sprawl by setting high standards for residential projects near the urban edge. These high standards will benefit San Jose residents by providing increased affordable housing and environmental and traffic requirements. In addition, the requirement for a fiscal impact study will provide transparency and enable the City Council to understand the full financial impacts of sprawl development before approving it.
- Sign our petition opposing Measure B and supporting Measure C
- Spread the word – tell anyone you know who is a registered voter in San Jose to vote NO on Measure B, and YES on Measure C
- Go to the “No on B/Yes on C” webpage and pledge your support, sign up to volunteer, or sign up for a lawn sign
- Follow the “No on B/Yes on C” campaign on Facebook and share on your Facebook page
- Send a letter to the editor to the Mercury news or your local neighborhood newspaper explaining why you oppose Measure B and support Measure C
For more information or to get involved: please contact Legislative Advocacy Director Alice Kaufman at: [email protected].
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