By: Alice Kaufman, Legislative Advocacy Director
For years, we’ve been advocating for the Stanford Foothills to be permanently protected. With Stanford’s recent withdrawal of their development application, we must continue the fight to get permanent protections for the Foothills. Please stand with us in our ongoing efforts to protect Stanford’s open space!
In 2016, Stanford University submitted an application to the County of Santa Clara for a General Use Permit (GUP) to allow for 3.5 million square feet of new development, including 2.75 million square feet of academic and academic support facilities, 2,600 new student beds, and 550 new faculty/staff housing units. After exhaustive analysis and review, including an Environmental Impact Report and a Supplement to the existing Stanford Sustainable Development Study, County Staff in 2019 recommended approving all of Stanford’s requested development space upon certain conditions. Among the conditions was a 99-year extension to the supermajority (4/5) vote requirement to move the Academic Growth Boundary that protects the Stanford Foothills from development. While we were supportive of the 99-year extension, we continued to advocate for the supermajority vote requirement to be made permanent.
Now that Stanford has withdrawn its GUP application and has announced that it intends to engage in dialogue with the community, it is unclear what may happen next. One thing is clear: the 4/5 vote requirement to move the Academic Growth Boundary is still slated to expire in 2025. That means we must continue our fight to protect the Stanford Foothills.
Committee for Green Foothills was formed in 1962 to protect these foothills, and we won’t rest until we’ve succeeded. We will continue to vigilantly monitor any new proposals and will update you as we learn more. Stay tuned!