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5/3/2017 -- Board Meeting Minutes

posted Nov 18, 2017, 2:05 PM by River Oaks Neighborhood Association   [ updated Nov 18, 2017, 2:05 PM ]
River Oaks Neighborhood Association
Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Elan Meeting Room, 7:00pm-8:00pm

Attending
From RONA: President Jean Marlowe, VP Mike Bertram, Secretary Laura Carns
From City of San Jose, District 4 Office: Councilmember Lan Diep, staffers Chris Rork,
From County of Santa Clara, District 3 Office: Mike Donohoe
and 10 other community members.

MINUTES
  1. Vlad Rankin gives an update on Agnews School. 
    1. Schools open delay to 2020. Construction logistics issues, avoid mixing students and construction site, safety issue. They have not started demolition, still working on state requirements for waste removal. 
    2. Water tower — if it costs more tham $1M to keep it, will have to get allowance to remove it.
  2. Q&A with Lan Diep. 
    (Please note both questions and answers are paraphrased to the best of our note-taker's abilty to keep up with the fast conversation. Lan's answers are italicized.)
    1. Newby Island Landfill Expansion. Expansion 32k residents to petition to stop expansion. City approved expansion anyways. Do you approve of this dump nearby? 
      1. It’s a height permit allowance. Planning commission then maybe council approval. It needed more room to have space until it’s permit expires in 2021-ish.
      2. This used to be industrial land. These landfill and recycling center & wastewater plant all were there before housing was built.
      3. What can you to stop this expansion? The permit has been issued, there’s nothing city council can really do at this point.
      4. Milpitas stopped sending trash to Newby. Can’t we do something similar? Carbon footprint of shipping trash is not nice.
      5. Newby Island is needed to keep rates low, but my rates keep rising. Why can’t we keep cost low? San Jose residential goes to Zanker facility, which is a one-of-a-kind facility, amazing 95% recycling is recycled, 75% of waste is reused somehow. Only a small amount goes to landfill. They break even, not making a profit. 
      6. Complaints about recycling center having horrible customer service. Not cleaning up after trash escapes when moving it to truck. Breaking bins, missing bins. Why did they get 5% raise???
      7. … Lots more complaints… Discussion cut off after 20 minutes….
      8. Odor could be from wastewater, recycling, landfill. Study by city points finger at the Zanker recycling plant that opened 2013. 
    2. NSJ community planning. What’s the status about community center, library, retail, health care? When is NSJ a community? What is planning commission doing?
      1. City can’t do central planning, we just do zoning and incentives. The issue is lack of density. Not enough people for retail to be profitable; business campus mentality doesn’t help. When we did the plan in 2005, the neighboring cities sued us because of traffic. Settlement via redevelopment agencies. So now the traffic impact fee is only on the San Jose lots, not in the neighboring community land. 
      2. What about the sense of community? Especially parks, why is Essex taking so long?
        1. It requires the private investment. But it’s a struggle because if we lower fees we can’t pay for lawsuit and everything else.
        2. Trying to renegotiate the terms of the lawsuit settlement.
        3. Rule is we can only build 10% retail on a plot. We want this as an economic engine — jobs! We’re working on changing the rules to increase the %age and to allow them to detach the retail into a separate building. (Not like the hidden Specialty’s at Trimble & First.)
        4. Trying to get a “Bridge Library” — aka mini-library + school library — at Agnews School.
        5. School district has assured that they’re looking at doing a community center.
      3. Disappointed in the city’s actions. 
      4. Reworking NSJ EIR for more housing? That effort died as far as CM Diep knows.
    3. Getting the impression that NSJ is a totally disadvantaged area. “Nothing can be done.” Property values are 25% lower than similar property that don’t have landfills. What is the plan to increase property values? Can’t we close the landfill? The landfill didn’t stink 10 years ago, now it’s every week. 
      1. Lots of things go into property value. We haven’t done enough previously. A lot of that has to do with not attracting business & investment. A council member has to both attract business and also handle constituent services. The brunt of NSJ has fallen on mayor’s shoulders in the past. CM Diep will try to step up and see it succeed. 
      2. Wastewater plant is undergoing a giant capitol improvement. Drying beds will be going inside.
    4. What is policy on city reporting crimes to residents? We’re worried about the strong-arm robbery in Villagio? What’s happening with police, we’re not seeing the additional drive-bys?
      1. I don’t know there’s a policy either. We don’t micromanage policing. There are plenty of online ways to notification. 
      2. Pension battles are slowly being settled. Now starting to rebuild police force. 20% raise to offset the recession pay-cuts and pension cuts. Police unions are happier now. We’re now attracting more applicants. Negotiated with unions to give Community Service Officers more responsibilities so we can fill the gaps. Please report crimes, because that’s based on heat map of crime reports. Our resources are limited.