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Development, Housing, and Sustainable Communities and the Environment

San Jose is the third-largest city in California and the 10th largest in the United States. It is also the largest city in Northern California. The population of San Jose just passed the 1 million mark in 2014. We are the largest city in Santa Clara County, which was recently identified as the fastest growing county in California.  It is estimated that San Jose, California surpassed the one million mark in 2014, reaching an estimated population of 1,000,536, according to the California Department of Finance. The larger urban area has an estimated population of 1.89 million, with a metropolitan population of 1.97 million.

Affordable Housing, City Funds, Resources, and Taxation. Affordable Housing must take into consideration Traffic Congestion and other Infrastructure. We must consider fair and calculated Impact Fees on Developers of Commercial and large Residential Development Projects, similar to the trend of the other major cities in our Country. We need to also implement a program that requires a withholding 5% of the sales price from the seller when the seller is not a resident of San Jose. This is 5% of the sales price, not 5% of the gains realized. This would provide an advantage to local residents, resulting in more money for San Jose, without raising taxes on residents. We must protect our local Builders, Developers, Investors, and Brothers and Sisters working in the Trades. We can no longer tolerate non-resident builders/developers bringing in outside crews, making huge profits on our City, without contributing to our local community. We must also make a distinction between a private landlord of local “Family-owned” properties, and businesses - non-resident and commercial corporations of residential properties. The rights of our San Jose residents must be protected against non-resident and corporate landlords, responsible for inflating rental markets, taking the profits to be enjoyed by another community. This will benefit all San Jose residents, private local landlords and tenants. Rent Control would be one consideration to be applied to these businesses, the non-resident and corporate landlords. Allowing homeowners to build “granny units” requires a Zoning Variance for good cause. Single family homes and neighborhoods should not be changed into higher density housing without due process. This would ONLY benefit some current landowners, doing nothing for the community!

Further development must consider issues previous generations were not concerned with. There is a supreme importance of conserving natural resources, preserve and expand open spaces, use smart land-use planning, and high on the list of considerations… improve transit, with more of an influence on incorporating bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. Further development must require implementing healthy, livable, and sustainable communities, reducing our carbon footprint, improving air quality, providing lower household costs to families. We must mandate Graywater Systems. 

I am providing a link to the Pacific Institute’s: 

Overview of Greywater Reuse: The Potential of Greywater Systems to Aid Sustainable Water Management

This is a local example of how our precious resource, WATER must be respected and preserved.

We must consider transit-oriented development. This entails increased intensity/density along transit corridors and station, affordable housing in transit corridors, mixed-used development, and subsidies to encourage transit use, bicycle use, and other alternative transportation sources.

We must incorporate fair and calculated impact fees on commercial, as well as large scale (greater than 4-homes) residential developments. No longer should the necessary increase in related infrastructure be the burden of the taxpayer alone.

Of immediate concern is a local proposed development, The Evergreen Senior Homes Initiative.

This Private Developer is asking San Jose voters to rezone 200 acres of land in Evergreen from industrial to residential. The ballot measure would approve 900 new, mostly single family, $1 million-plus homes for "seniors,” defined as 55 years or older. The 376-page Initiative is presented as a way to increase housing supply. However, the ballot initiative would undo the General Plan and current zoning, which accounted for the isolated location of the site furthest east of 101 in the hillsides. The initiative threatens to further exacerbate existing traffic problems by adding more low-density and sprawled-out housing to the Evergreen hillsides that lack access to transit and job centers. The Initiative exempts the Evergreen project from traffic mitigation requirements and is contrary to transit-oriented, more compact development that is crucial to smart growth.

“The devil is in the details”, has never been more appropriately applied. I oppose this project, and I urge you to research, and join me in this opposition. The language of this initiative clearly indicates that the title is misleading. The proponents have presented well-crafted, misleading language. Only a small percentage of the project will benefit the Senior Community, allowing for the Developers and promoters of this project to enjoy incredible profits, on the shoulders of San Jose Citizens. The required zoning variances and change in the San Jose General Plan will also weaken the City to future abuse of misleading profiteers, disguising themselves altruistic providers.