Councilman Raj Chahal Changes Course and Will Vote on Gateway Crossings Project

By Robert Haugh

The last time the controversial Hunter Storm Gateway Crossings issue was in front of the Council on May 21, Councilman Raj Chahal did not participate.

Here’s what he said before he walked out of the chambers:  “As I voted on this item as Planning Commissioner, so I’ll be recusing myself from double voting on this one.” Here’s the YouTube video of his statement.

Here’s what we wrote about the meeting in May:

Raj Chahal abstained from voting on the project because he said that he previously voted on it as a Planning Commissioner. That’s an interesting reason, especially since the project is in his district.

Because of Chahal, the Council only had six votes and seemed deadlocked about how much retail should be in the project. The issue will be brought back on July 9.

Tonight, the issue is back and Chahal has changed his mind.

Here’s what he wrote to us:

“As you know from time to time city attorney office advises council about when to participate and when to abstain from various agenda items, in the case of Hunter Storm agenda item, the city attorney’s office initially advised me to recuse myself from participating at council level as I had already participated on this agenda item while I was planning commissioner. Later on the attorney’s office reversed their judgment and told me that hat I can participate on this agenda item. Keeping in view their advise I will be participating on this item on 9th.

Chahal is in a tricky situation. Last November, he was part of the Planning Commission. They voted unanimously for the project. That vote was a couple of weeks after Chahal got elected to the City Council.

Now, some people in his district are pressuring him to vote against the project he approved seven months ago.  

He could be the swing vote on this project in more ways than one.

Gateway Crossings

Renderings of Gateway Crossings. Courtesy of City of Santa Clara Planning projects site.


  1. I so wish Monsieur Chahal had recused himself from the entire Council meeting tonight.Please someone mansplain or womansplain him where he lacks knowledge. Merci beaucoup!

  2. As I have said before, and at least once to the council, there is just too much recusing going on here.
    Especially now with districts, if a council member is affected by a project then so are their constituents. So they recuse themselves?
    It is like catch 22. I will be glad to vote on something that my constituents don’t care about, but if they care about it, so do I, and I have to recuse. You could call it circular logic if there were any logic involved. If a person has a direct financial connection I can see it, not some cursory connection that is more theoretical than direct.
    Too much recusing going on.

  3. This entire area is facing Regional Gridlock!

    No matter what you put at the Gateway Crossings site, in a few years the traffic will be several times worse. 1600 units, 1800 units, or zero units, PAL, a grocery store, or a pizzeria, it just doesn’t matter.

    This the beginning and end of the line for many, trains buses, and possibly light rail journeys. When the 101 corridor and Central Expressway is built out with thousands of new jobs, this is not a place you’re going to want to be during commute hours.

    The decision tonight at city council is going to be one of, do you want to shoot yourself in the leg or the arm. Of course the efficiency of this project can affect the gridlock, possibly not enough to lose sleep over.

    My only hopes are that both Santa Clara and Sunnyvale Costco’s increase their business hours or add a helipad.

    • Nice summary Rich. It is a quandary. I like the idea of lots of units away from existing low density neighborhoods. But, yes, the traffic will be an issue and Costco needs to come up with something creative to allow people to transport in and out. Of course delivery is an option but that is true everywhere. And Costco depends on people wandering around the store and buying things not on their ‘list’ while looking for where they hid items that are actually on the list. That means they would lose these sales.

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