> Stopping Sprawl into Coyote Valley



>Craig has been with the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society (SCVAS) since

>January 1994, originally as Environmental Advocate, and currently as its

>first Executive Director. Ernest Goitein, a retired project engineer who

>used to design nuclear power plants at Bechtel Corporation and was active

>in the fight against the Ward Valley dump site, is a member of People for

>Livable and Affordable Neighborhoods (PLAN), a coalition of environmental,

>housing and transportation advocacy groups that has launched a referendum

>to reverse the City's decision on Cisco System's proposed Coyote Valley




>SCVAS is one of a number of organizations and government entities that

>have filed suit under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA),

>challenging aspects of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for this



Ernest Goitein began the talk by showing us where Coyote Valley is on the map, just south of where highways 101 and 85 meet. Then he showed us pictures of the area now, prime agricultural land that is being used to grow crops. After that, he went quickly through the laundry list of problems with the development, including sprawl exacerbation, air pollution, infrastructure expense, and many others.

Then Craig Breon took over and talked some about the more strategic aspects of the development. He explained that this would really be the first time that the urban world would expand beyond the South end of San Jose. He explained that putting 20,000 jobs that far away from everything else would have the effect of making developers think of all of the farming communities further south as potential development zones, which they currently aren't. This could end up having a tremendous impact on California's agricultural output, considering the area puts out something like half of the salad the country grows.

Breon pointed out that probably a much more sustainable choice would be to develop along the future BART corridor between Fremont and San Jose, where there is a lot of aging suburban sprawl that is the perfect target for redevelopment. He pointed out that the city has had good luck replacing a lot of it already, and this would have the added benefit of increasing the density along BART to the point where it would have a ridership quotient big enough to make the rail service pay for itself.

Breon concluded that we are at a crossroads. There is not enough growth likely to support both major infill and major expansion, so San Jose must pick one or the other. He called on everybody to participate in the grassroots campaign to get the city to want infill. Letters to the Editor are needed, as are occasional plugs for the idea in conversation with coworkers and neighbors.

Tian Harter