Some good news in San Jose

I spoke at the San Jose Planning Commission last night to ask them to consider our recommendations for reducing the cumulative impact from impervious surfaces on San Jose watersheds. They were very receptive, and asked me to do a joint presentation with City staff at a study session.

I also asked them to start overhauling the environmental review process and match what Santa Clara County did. In an important way, San Jose has a worse system than Santa Clara County did – in San Jose, the developers hire the consultants that prepare preliminary versions of environmental documents, giving all the initial control and knowledge to the developers, and raising the prospect that no truly independent review is done by the City. While the County had a legal problem in how they handled the process, San Jose simply has a bad and archaic process.

The reaction to this was a little confused, with the City Attorney saying the decision on changes belonged to the Planning Director, not the Commission. Regardless, the Commission can give recommendations, and I hope that will happen before too long.

All in all, then, some good news and some decent news from San Jose.


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