San Jose Starts a Border War with Another City Not Named Santa Clara

San Jose Starts a Border War with Another City Not Named Santa Clara

By Robert Haugh

The City of San Jose may be attacking another city — not just Santa Clara — in another border war. According to Mercury News columnist Scott Herhold, it looks like San Jose has fired a shot at Cupertino.

The controversial project is a 85-foot-tall Marriott Hotel that San Jose wants to build on Stevens Creek Boulevard. It’s near Cupertino neighborhoods of one-story homes. Some neighbors think it’ll be their Dark Tower (Note to friends: the movie trailer looks really good – after all, it is based on Stephen King novels).

The-Dark-Tower-Poster-2

Mayor Savita Vaidhyanathan wrote to Mayor Sam Liccardo that Cupertino’s height limit for commercial buildings in that area is 45 feet. According to a Cupertino activist, Liccardo has completely ignored their Mayor. But he did take time to publicly chastise Cupertino (and Santa Clara) residents who showed at a June San Jose City Council meeting to complain about Stevens Creek Boulevard traffic.

San Jose plans to ram the plan through at their August 8 City Council meeting.  But will Cupertino stand up to San Jose like Santa Clara has?

Maybe they should. As we’ve reported, the Mission City sued the Garden City over San Jose’s Santana West development. Santa Clara won the first battle in that war.

San Jose filed an anti-SLAPP motion on that case. Most lawyers think that was a dumb move and they’ll lose the second legal battle, too. I personally have learned a lot about anti-SLAPP cases having just won one. I agree that it’s really an odd legal move by San Jose.

There may be a simple explanation for San Jose’s legal loss and odd legal move on Santana West. San Jose’s City Attorney’s office is not considered to be very good, according to informed local attorneys.

On the other hand, Santa Clara hired a well-respected land use attorney, Tina Thomas.

According to our sources, she’s looking closely at the traffic impact of San Jose’s plans on Stevens Creek Boulevard and how San Jose gave developers a pass on traffic impact fees. Hurray to that. The last dozens times I’ve been driven on Stevens Creek, especially near Winchester, it was total gridlock.

How about building light rail on Stevens Creek Boulevard? Don’t laugh. The Valley Transportation Agency promised it in a sales measure. Another link shows a lot of promises. Is it now a false promise?

Let’s hope either Cupertino or Santa Clara steps up to force San Jose to build smarter developments with real traffic plans and solutions. Residents of all three cities would be grateful.

 

19 comments

  1. I think it’s great that Mayor Lisa is taking a leadership role, partnering with Cupertino, and telling San Jose they are rushing into things too fast.

    I’d like to respond to Kirk Vartan’s July 31st post, because he is misleading people. Quite shocking for someone who claims to be a community activist! What “community” is he serving?

    1) Re: the Stern Hotel at Cupertino’s doorstep – Kirk claims it is next to 2 to 3 story homes. No, Stern Ave is all 1 and 2 story homes. Doesn’t matter. The REAL issue is that San Jose lobbyist Erik Schoennauer (Mayor Liccardo confidant, Councilman Chappie Jones campaign contributor) talked staff into changing the building standards into GUIDELINES, specifically to enable this 6 – 7 story tall hotel, with the justification that San Jose should be tripping over itself to approve these kind of projects on its neighbors borders. How many other deals will be made and what kind of precedent does this set? Read more here: http:/www.uc4sd.com/hotel-at-stern-and-stevens-creek-blvd

    2) “Look across the street at the IHOP”. This, again, is a Schoennauer talking point. Kirk didn’t mention that (a) there were many residents that opposed that “cruise ship” and had it somewhat modified, some who showed up to your meeting to try and remind you of that fact – you make it sound like people welcomed that thing, (b) you say that it will “soon” have a second building – right now the permit department in Santa Clara shows the permits have expired. Do you have other information from your developer friends you’d like to share?, (c) you also forgot to mention that the Apple building is right up against Hwy 280, and not next to a residential neighborhood, and (d) this is exactly why neighborhoods need to speak up NOW, because people will say “we’ve done it before, so it’s ok to do it again”.

    3) Glad Kirk clarified that he is speaking for yourself, and not the Stevens Creek Advisory Group, because the only member from Santa Clara, Steve Kelly (who fits nicely into the pro-developer camp), failed to make that disclaimer to SJ Council previously when he spoke and introduced himself as a “Santa Clara Planning Commissioner”. Made it look like he was speaking on behalf Santa Clara. Michael Brillot (SJ Planning staff) even likes to bring up that SCAG includes “a Santa Clara planning commissioner”, as if that counts as including Santa Clara. BTW, Kirk, did you call Steve out about that, or just ignore that because it suited your narrative so well?

    4) I find it pretty arrogant for Kirk to criticize community members that take the time to attend some of the SCAG meetings when they can, even if it is the last 2 or 3. I have also heard/read him say that on several occasions. He talks about building bridges, then criticizes people who tried their best to attend and voice their opinions, because they disagree with what he and the pro-developers promoted, such as NO building height limits. The reality is, some of us “younger folks” have kids to take care of and can’t attend every meeting, and there are some of us who actually THOUGHT the community was being represented, until we went to some of these meetings and saw how the developers were being allowed to dictate things, and community concerns were either dismissed or a footnote. BTW, I attended some of the meetings, and saw Santa Clara people there expressing concerns.

    5) The reality is that groups representing residents are needed. Kirk claims they want to stop discussion, when in reality they showed up to the meetings to express concerns in what I saw as a respectful manner, even staying within his arbitrary 2 minute speaking limit. Yet later he appears to complain to others of residents taking over the meetings. Without groups representing residents, groups like Catalyze SV, South Bay YIMBY, and other developer-friendly groups are going to run the show. Pro-resident groups help keep balance in the discussion.

    6) Re: the urban village plans… what was the hurry to approve them if they are such long term plans? Why did Chappie Jones, Dev Davis, and Mayor Liccardo decide to ignore over 900 petitioners? (http://tiny.cc/NoHighRise-Petition) Even Kirk and the co-chair admitted that the Stevens Creek plan was rushed. Is there a developer waiting in the wings to take advantage of what the urban village enables, like the Stern hotel?

    Kirks talks about not wanting people to be negative. One way he could have enabled that was to actually advocate that San Jose Planning and SJ Councilman Jones’ staff prioritize and integrate the community input into the plan. SCAG even paid consultants to conduct a survey and it clearly said that building heights were the biggest concern, yet 150 ft, which is beyond what is normally allowed in an urban village, is still in the plan, for no apparent reason (other than to perhaps give those particular property owners like Prometheus a nice max building height gift).

    Another thing that could have gone a long way is transparency in the process. That includes meeting minutes and notes, yet after the third meeting, there are no notes posted. There was a subcommittee that met, but no agenda or notes posted for those meetings either, as far as I can see.

    • Hello “Santa Clara Resident”

      You have me at a bit of a disadvantage as I don’t know who I am talking to.

      I am happy to sit down with you and anyone in the community that wants to figure out *solutions* to our problems, not just denying ideas. I really appreciate your energy in responding to my comments, and that tells me you want to make a difference. I don’t think a blog is the right place for a dialog. I have invited anyone on this thread to come to the next WNAC meeting on Wed, Aug 16th – 6:30pm – Cypress Community Center, Room 5 (please let me know so I can plan the quantities of food). That to me is a much better place for discussion like this. Vehicle Miles Traveled will be the main topic of discussion, a Statewide mandate taking us a way from Level of Service (LOS). After that, I’d be happy to open up discussion to talk about any of the issues you would like to talk about.

      To your comment about who I “represent”…I believe I am representing the needs of the area and the voices present and not present. If it happens that my words are in your eyes “friendly” to developers, I can’t help that. I’ve been on both sides of the battle field. I am not picking any one over another. I am advocating for what I believe will help the most people, provide leadership for the area, and suggest solutions to our challenges. I understand you and others may not agree with some (or all) of my comments or approaches, but I am committed and willing to work with anyone willing to donate their time to solving problems.

      I hope you will come to the WNAC meeting. It is not city run (like SCAG and WAG were), and we are all 100% community based and supported.

      -Kirk

      P.S. Wether SCAG made the Garden City site 150 feet or 30 feet, the Prometheus project is immune to the plan. It was submitted (as was the Fortbay project) as a Signature Project. They are not subject to any future plans of the Urban Village. NONE. So, you want to talk facts, talk facts. Don’t make stuff up. I stand by what I write and will be happy to debate with you and anyone else. Debates are healthy. Hope to see you on Aug 16th.

      • Kirk, hope you aren’t denying that the 150 ft building heights were approved at areas beyond the Garden City project, because I’m certainly not “making stuff up”. In case you need a reminder, here’s the map that was proposed (and pretty much approved, minus some minor adjustments on the west)
        https://sites.google.com/view/uc4sd/stevens-creek-urban-village

        1) Garden City is only a portion of the dark blue 150 ft area, the SE corner of Stevens Creek/Saratoga. So it DOES matter because there are areas that aren’t Garden City as well.
        2) Garden City is by no means a done deal… and you know that it’s on the rocks right now. So it DOES matter because if it doesn’t become a signature project, then the height rules apply.
        3) Hypothetically, why would a developer, who has previously contemplated 90 – 100 ft, now move forward if it is entitled to 150 ft by-right, when they could either (a) flip the property because it is worth more now, and make a tidy profit since they’ve entitled to higher than what they were previously, (b) wait for a few years and build even higher when it makes financial sense (assuming it is San Jose’s goal to build ASAP)? And why would a developer offer anything in terms of BMR, or community amenities if they don’t have to? San Jose can’t seem to negotiate worth a hill of beans, and just gives away a valuable bargaining chip!

        You of course are exaggerating (again) about “150ft or 30ft” to make residents who question things look unreasonable. Tell me, who was asking for 30 ft? At the community meetings I heard people ask for lower heights that are still 3- 4x higher than the existing area.

        But really the issue is that the surrounding communities answered surveys, showed up at meetings, and voiced concerns but were ignored in the end, or just window dressing to say there was “community involvement”.

        And glad you brought up Fortbay. They are using bait and switch tactics as reported in SJ Inside. Oh but surely developer Tom deRegt has San Jose’s best interests in mind, bringing a “Signature” project to town. He is such a nice guy. How convenient he was on SCAG and his parcel got entitled to 120 ft! Remember the meeting where you asked him if 85 ft was going to negatively impact his project?

        http://www.sanjoseinside.com/2017/08/09/san-jose-mayors-senior-policy-aide-laments-developers-bait-and-switch-over-jobs-housing/

        And don’t forget, the “floating park” that was on his property, has now been moved to a neighboring one! It shows how easily things will get moved around, or not done at all. We in Santa Clara will likely provide park amenities for San Jose’s urban village.

        Kirk, I think Santa Clara has treated you quite well, enabling your vision for Barec, even if not everyone agrees. Please return the favor.

    • Again, I appreciate the feedback and would love to continue the conversation. Blog posts is not the right forum. Hope to see you on Aug 16th.

  2. Kirk,

    I’m sure you’re a nice guy. But you’re the worst type of person to be fronting for this effort. You seem to love density but don’t care about the traffic. I’m guessing you don’t commute much or far. Have some respect or sympathy for the rest of us. San Jose leaders must love the fact that you push these urban villages without asking hard questions about transit. You’re their perfect front person. Not mine.

    Finally I read in the Mercury News today the two mayors and other council people in Santa Clara and Cupertino standing up to San Jose and getting them to fund traffic solutions BEFORE development.

    • Hi Roman,

      Thanks for the back handed complement 🙂

      Did you once hear me say I don’t care about traffic? What I feel you are not acknowledging is the simple fact: We (Royal We) have created more jobs in this area than we can support from a living condition. It’s really that simple. The traffic is terrible because the people that need to work around here don’t live around here…either because there is no vacancy or it is too expensive (kind of related).

      Traffic = cars on the road. If people live closer to this area (the area with all the jobs), the cars will be on the road for less amount of time. Or, better yet, less convenient methods of commuting might start to work (e.g., bus, shuttle, rise share).

      I see many of the problems stemming from the lack of regional planning. The development we see today is not done well and causes incredible issues in the community. I agree. I think we all agree. But does that mean you stop? I would suggest it means you approach it differently, but stopping is not an option.

      To your point, traffic is not good today….and it will get worse tomorrow. The question I would ask is: What solutions exist that will help the long term goals for the area?

      Traffic is not going to get better in the short term….sorry, hate to be the one that everyone will hate for saying it, but it’s true. Nothing we do today will make traffic great in 12 months…nothing. If we think that stopping all development will make traffic better, I’d like to sit in a room with you and have an open discussion. What we need to be looking at is how can we make the future of the area better over the long term. And I believe we can do this is we are bold enough in our vision and aggressive enough in our action. Incremental changes are like rounding errors to the area.

      This is not a doom-and-gloom statement. We have some of the most brilliant and innovative minds in the world living right here. There is more wealth flowing through Santa Clara County than most countries. We have the ability to guide and create a world-class region, but it will not happen by itself. It takes time, and even more time when only the cities are trying to muddle through it. And let’s face it, we know cities are not good at long range planning right now.

      We are at a cross-road with where this valley is headed. We can do amazing things if we are willing to get outside of our comfort zones, be willing to accept the premise that we have the power to impact and guide our future, and our goal is to create great places in the region that we need to support our growth. I believe we can do all of this and more, and we can do it quickly (in years), if we come together as a regional community.

      Do I believe density is required to make this happen, you bet I do. Does that mean I don’t respect people dealing with the problems we have today….of course not. I have over 30 employees that are at risk of being unable to stay here. I see this as a real world issue. I know what good transit looks like. I have been very vocal about how poorly VTA is operating and was not in favor of the $0.50 tax increase for the simple reason that I didn’t think VTA deserved to get rewarded with more money since it has basically failed this region. But that doesn’t mean I am giving up. I want to work with VTA that much more to make sure we can test and implement innovative solutions for this area.

      So, maybe you think I am the wrong person to be saying this…OK, I respect that. So why don’t you help me gather the army of community members that want to work on solutions….collaboratively, with neighboring cities, with all options on the table. I’m game for that. I’ll be happy to reserve a hall for a few hours, for days, and we can bring in experts, developers, conservatives, urbanists, etc. until we better understand what is *needed*. As I said, I am open to working with anyone willing to invest time in this.

      But please, don’t think for a second that I don’t respect the situation.

      -Kirk

  3. None the less, the traffic on Stevens Creek and 280, Stevens Creek at Winchester, and Stevens Creek at Saratoga are all getting worse by the day. I believe most of these traffic studies are a joke.
    Kirk and his crowd are working devilishly hard to make this place a living hell to live in. The placemakers tell all these romantic stories about living in high-density living and how friendly and neighborly it is. The bullshit is, there out of there before they even know what the project is like. Liar liar pants on fire. Then they’re on to the next con.

    • Sam,

      I’m not sure what you think my role is. I am not a developer. I do not build projects. I have a small business in Santa Clara (almost 11 years now), I have a home in the area, and I donate my personal time into trying to make our communities/region a place that will thrive over time. Without substantial change in our area, and I mean deliberate and substantial structural changes, I believe this area is at significant risk….and I am defining the area as Santa Clara County. I know most of the current residents/home owners do not want to hear that as it is an affront to our current way of life, but that is exactly where we are: A new way of life. Change can be good if done well, but to deny the change is coming or at what scale it has to be is not productive. We will have upwards of 300,000 people entering Santa Clara County over the next 15 years….most of them are existing residents aging. How are we preparing for that? What new services and infrastructure is needed to support this? What about the workforce necessary to support this aging population?

      I understand you and others do not like this discussion, but not liking it is not an excuse for not having it. We need to engage as a regional community to guide and advance a vision that works. Right now, the community sees the developers as the “greedy enemy.” And conversely, the developers see the community as the cost (delays/stoppages). I would like to suggest that need to put preconceived notions behind us and go into discussions focused on how to create the change that is needed for the area.

      If anyone wants to join in being part of the conversation with me (whether you agree with me or not), I would welcome that.

      -Kirk
      kirk@kvartan.com

  4. Kirk,

    Since you’re a member of this group, could you ask for a report on Aug 16 on the traffic plan? Specifically ask what the cost are traffic improvements and how much SJ has in the bank toward that cost. Have developments been asked to pay to mitigate traffic impact?

    You may not be able to do this. Because quite frankly these meetings are a charade. City staff will share pretty pictures and vague details to get you excited and keep you supportive.

    I attended the Aug 8, 2016 WAG meeting that discussed traffic. There was very general powerpoint presentation that basically said we’re studying it and we’ll get back to you with more info later. They never did.

    If you want to look at a document that demonstrates the lack of traffic mitigation, go online and get the Sept 16, 2016 Santana West memo co-signed by Sam Liccardo and Chappie Jones that says the developer will pay $1 million toward the interchange. Do the math. They’re assuming Santana West generates less than 40 trips impacting the interchange. Give away? Oh yeah.

    • Hi Roman,

      I think it is best if the people (like you and Artee) request the necessary documents since you know what you are requesting. As I said, I am unaware of the references you are making. I am more than willing to review them and discuss. If there are issues, so be it. I’m right there with you. As I have said before, happy to discuss further if/when we have docs.

      -Kirk

  5. Kirk,

    You are an insider in this game and you’re asking others for documents? How about you ask San Jose for the documents and data at your next meeting? If you’re ignoring traffic impact, how responsible a development advocate can you be? Maybe you need to educate yourself about the other half of the development equation. You seem like a smart guy, but it’s not good that you don’t know traffic stuff.

    • Hi Artee,

      I am simply asking for the documents that others have referenced. I don’t know of any, and as far as I know, there are not any that show San Jose waived traffic fees for any of the developments in the Tri-Village area. If there are documents, then I want to see them.

      And I am not sure what your comments about me “ignoring traffic impact” are about. What are you talking about? What’s makes you think I am ignoring traffic impacts?

      Again, it would be great to discuss these things in more detail and in person. So much more can happen in a conversation, rather than this serial dialog. Please consider coming to the next Winchester NAC meeting:

      Winchester Neighborhood Action Coalition (WNAC)
      Date: Wed, August 16th
      Time: 6:30pm
      Location: Cypress Senior Center: 403 Cypress Ave (just south of Stevens Creek)

      Come early (like 6:15pm) for a lite pizza dinner and cannoli

  6. Hello Lee and BB (and others):

    I think it is interesting that when I request *documents* and *evidence* that shows San Jose is giving away traffic impact fees, I get arm-chair comments. If you have the documents or can point to them, please do. As I said, I am not aware of any discounts for this part of San Jose. If they exist, please share. Should be pretty easy as they are all public documents.

    And with regards to Santana West being a commercial site vs. mixed use. That was the original plan. Unfortunately, between neighborhood resistance and the city’s lack of attention, it sat idle for over a year. So, Federal Realty did what they were legally entitled to do: build commercial. They are not asking for any special considerations or amendments. That is what the property is zoned for and what the current General Plan calls for. I think it is a *terrible* idea to have a commercial only project, and I am confident that over time, as the project progresses, it will turn back into a mixed use project. One thing to note: commercial properties have different fees and amenities (no amenities). There are no park fees or affordable housing fees on commercial projects. That is a problem. It’s a good thing that Santa Clara is looking at (and hopefully will) impose a fee on commercial projects for housing and other city services.

    And one other thing I would ask, do you think a mixed-use project on Santana West would be supported by Santa Clara? Would you support it? It think it is pretty telling that the only time the community seems to be vocal is when there are issues or they want to object to something. To me, that is the heart of the problem. We need to turn that energy into advocating for things we want to see in our cities.

    Lee/BB: What are you advocating for?

    And yes, I am a San Jose resident. Does that matter? I am as informed as many on the goings on of Santa Clara and San Jose. Does my residence matter for a regional discussion? I respect and encourage all members of the community to attend my meetings as they are focused on regional issues, not city issues. City boarders are meaningless to community…only to city officials and staff. In my opinion, we need to rise above that way of thinking we want to solve the regional issues of housing, transportation, mobility, and quality of life.

    I enjoy these kinds of discussions. The Winchester Neighborhood Action Coalition is a regional group made up of Santa Clara, San Jose, and Campbell. The our next meeting will have members of San Jose DOT talking about the new standard of looking a CEQA traffic impacts called VMT – Vehicles Miles Traveled. The current method is call LOS – Level of Service and looks at traffic impacts to traffic lights and intersections. It is a totally new way that the State will be looking at this portion of CEQA and if you want to learn more about it, I hope you and others will join the meeting. We can also talk about the regional issues you brought up here. In person debate is much better than blog postings. I hope you will consider it. Here are the details:

    Winchester Neighborhood Action Coalition (WNAC)
    Date: Wed, August 16th
    Time: 6:30pm
    Location: Cypress Senior Center: 403 Cypress Ave (just south of Stevens Creek)

    Come early (like 6:15pm) for a lite pizza dinner and cannoli

  7. Sounds like Kirk is the one who is bitter and has too much testosterone. Just read the language he uses in his post. Not cool.

    Lee’s facts about traffic and fees are better and way more important than Kirk’s facts about the number of meetings San Jose held.

    Thanks, Lee. Sorry, Kirk.

  8. One more comment than I have to get back to real work before I can leave for the day.

    Robert Haugh wrote a fine description of the situation. But he left out the most important smoking gun which is in the Mercury story. The lobbyist for the hotel, Erik Schoennauer, wrote an email obtained by us through a PRA request that clearly demonstrates that San Jose’s goal is to steal business from Cupertino. Okay maybe that’s smart of San Jose and we can’t fault them for trying to fix their budget and pension problems. Unless they destroy neighborhoods and quality of life in the process.

  9. My last comment and this one was directed at Kirk Vartan and not Robert Haugh.

    San Jose has identified a need of $145 million for the Winchester/280 area. $43 million is suppose to come from traffic impact fees. Guess what. They have a grand total of $1 million in that account with the Santana West contribution. Is this a city that’s serious about traffic or just hungry of commercial development? We as commuters, shoppers, and residents suffer from San Jose’s poor development planning.

    Sorry to hear that you may have been part of the process. But if it’s any consolation, your group wasn’t really suppose to come up with real solutions. You were window dressing. It’s okay for you to be enthusiastic. But you can’t be an objective evaluator. You can only be a cheerleader.

  10. I assume you’re a San Jose person. If you’re not, your arguments are directly from the San Jose city playbook.

    The reality is that San Jose through its urban village plans are intensifying development in neighborhoods all over San Jose including its borders. Yes, the smaller cities need to be concerned.

    Here’s a nice example: Santana West was converted from mixed use to 100 percent commercial. It will be 1 million + square feet of office. The traffic impact fee will be $1 million.

    That may be enough to paint a bike line in San Jose. But it does nothing for the intersection at Winchester and Stevens Creek which is one of the worst in the South Bay. That’s a nice gift to the developer. And an example of what San Jose has been doing for years in other parts of the city.

  11. OK…this is just a bitter article that has some loose facts and a little too much testosterone. I’d like to comment on a few things:

    1. It’s near Cupertino neighborhoods of one-story homes.
    >>No, there are 2-3 story houses around there.
    >>Look across the street (in Santa Clara) where there is the Apple sardine can building (probably 85-90 feet) and home of the IHOP…soon to be a second (identical) sardine can Apple building.

    2. Liccardo has completely ignored their Mayor.
    >>Well, I am going to interpret this as San Jose, and not just he Mayor. The Stevens Creek Advisory Group, of which I am the co-chair (I am speaking for myself, not the group), has been meeting about this corridor for over 12 months…often times multiple times a month. You want to know how many meetings Cupertino members attended? About 2-3 of the last ones, the final meeting where 40+ people showed up. Not cool. You want to be part of the solution, then you participate. Crying “foul” at the last meeting or two is not how things get done.
    >>I agree, that San Jose, Santa Clara, and Cupertino could do A LOT better in working together, but let’s look at the reality:
    a. San Jose is suing Santa Clara
    b. Santa Clara is suing San Jose
    c. Cupertino closed Pruneridge, a major public access road
    So, given all that, how motivated is any city engage in a neighboring city’s activities? I am guess not very. So while I am disgusted by how our cities are behaving, I understand it. How can it get fixed? We, the community, needs to stop trying to crush all civic activity. I am all for massive civic engagement and participation, but not when it is destructive and filled with misleading information. If groups like Better X or Smart Growth Y or Responsible Z want to keep stalling and delaying discussions and progress, then we will continue to spin our wheels. If everyone wants to just stop all discussions on what challenges exist today and what solutions might exist, good luck with that.

    3. San Jose plans to ram the plan through at their August 8 City Council meeting. But will Cupertino stand up to San Jose like Santa Clara has?
    >>GIVE ME A BREAK. Ram it through? The Winchester Advisory Group has been meeting for over two years. The Stevens Creek Advisory Group has been meeting for over a year. The General Plan that identified these areas and densities have been in place since 2011. Yes, they are voting on it Aug 8 (should have been June). It is far from ramming anything through.
    >>Now, all that said, there is plenty of improvement opportunities in these plans, I am the first to say this. There are vision opportunities and integration needs. But this is a first pass at something. This was a capacity planning exercise, not a strategic vision for the area. Chappie has suggested, along with Dev and the mayor that a new Tri-Village Strategic group be created that includes neighboring cities and leaders to focus on the necessary changes we must deal with and the vision for the area. THAT is where everyone can join in and make something inspirational happen.

    4. According to our sources, she’s looking closely at the traffic impact of San Jose’s plans on Stevens Creek Boulevard and how San Jose gave developers a pass on traffic impact fees.
    >>If you have sources on that, I would like to see that data. I have not seen ANY information that shows ANY developer has gotten a pass on traffic fees. In the downtown core….yes, and I hate the fact that San Jose has reduced park fees by 50% and waived certain permit fees, but this is not downtown. Million in traffic fees, park fees, and affordable housing fees are being paid by current development projects and so will future one.

    And speaking of future project, the Implementation Chapter of the Tri-Village villages will be starting in the next month or two. I would suggest that people attend to participate, not disrupt. This is where we will all get to decide what fees and community amenities can be put in place via the financing of the projects.

    So, sorry to pick apart this article, but if you want to sit down sometime and have a discussion on the SJ Urban Village strategy and what it is trying to accomplish, I am all for it (I’m not going to write a letter about it). We can open it up to the public and you can moderate it. Bring in community folks from Cupertino, Santa Clara, and San Jose and other cities in the region. I’m happy to participate. I am sure I can get other community leaders to also join.

    Let’s find a way to work together, not continue to find ways to wedge each other further apart. Negative stuff is easy….let’s do what is needed and find ways to create synergies and collaborative efforts.

    Kirk Vartan

  12. San Jose doesn’t give a damn about what other cities think.They’ve screwed Milpitas for years. Good for Santa Clara for fighting back … and winning — so far.

    Let’s hope Cupertino has some balls.

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