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LandWatch Letter on Coyote Valley EIR


July 7, 2000

RE: Proposed Coyote Development in the City of San Jose

Dear City and County Officials:

This letter is to ask you to take some follow up action with respect to proposed development in the Coyote Valley, in the City of San Jose.

The San Jose City Planning Commission and the San Jose City Council will soon consider a development project proposed by CISCO Systems. The CISCO proposal would result in the construction of a business park for almost 20,000 workers, to be located in the Coyote Valley, in the southern part of the City of San Jose. No new housing is proposed to accompany the new jobs that would be created by the project.

The effect of the proposed Coyote Valley development, if it proceeds in its current form, would be to place increasing pressure on Monterey County, where housing costs are less than in the Silicon Valley. This would not only cause a number of growth-related problems for Monterey County local governments, but would also exacerbate an already inflamed Monterey County housing market.

AMBAG, the City of Salinas, and other Monterey County jurisdictions have made very forceful comments on the Draft EIR that was circulated earlier this year. Responses to these comments (and the many other comments received on the Draft EIR) are anticipated momentarily. If the City responds appropriately, it will of necessity have to add significant new information to the Draft EIR, and this should mean that the City will recirculate the revised document for further review. The extent and significance of the earlier comments really does require a complete reanalysis of the potential environmental impacts of the CISCO proposal, and a new chance for the public and affected agencies to make any further comment required.

However, it is quite possible that the City of San Jose will want to move to a decision without taking the step of recirculating a new Draft EIR. Putting the CISCO proposal on a "fast track" basis will be attractive both to CISCO and the City of San Jose. Elected officials in San Jose will of course have the interests of their city primarily in mind&emdash;and not the impacts that their decisions may have on other communities.

The City of San Jose is much more likely to do the right thing with respect to recirculation of the EIR if it knows that other local governments are closely scrutinizing its actions, and closely following its compliance with the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). CEQA does require a full and substantive environmental review process, including recirculation of a draft EIR and responsive comments, when the revised document incorporates significant new information. CEQA also requires that mitigation measures be incorporated into the project if such measures are feasible.

This letter is our request that your agency officially communicate with the City of San Jose at this time--either directly, or through AMBAG--telling the City of San Jose that you believe that state law requires them to recirculate a new Draft EIR, incorporating their responses to the comments earlier received.

LandWatch believes that the City of San Jose will take such comments seriously, if they come from other local government jurisdictions, and that the best chance of having the potential impacts of the proposed CISCO project properly addressed and mitigated is making certain that local governments from throughout the affected region play a strong and active role in the process, to ensure that state law requirements are actually met.

LandWatch believes that your constituents will value your active involvement on their behalf--and that it is critically important that the City of San Jose hear--at this time--that affected local jurisdictions expect them to do the right thing, and to recirculate a new Draft EIR.

Thank you for considering this important request.


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LandWatch's mission is to protect Monterey County's future by addressing climate change, community health, and social inequities in housing and infrastructure. By encouraging greater public participation in planning, we connect people to government, address human needs and inspire conservation of natural resources.



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