SCUV - Santa Clara Response
On August 10, 2017, The Santa Clara city council held a study session, and voted to form a task force and invite surrounding cities and San Jose to see what can be done to address concerns.
We are thankful that councilmembers expressed many of the same concerns that residents have expressed, including traffic, building heights, and lack of community engagement that actually integrated community input.
Mayor Lisa Gillmor stated she knows it is important to preserve Santa Clara’s rights, including legal options. Many residents from Santa Clara, San Jose, and Cupertino attended; some spoke during public comments and others submitted written comments. Furthermore, our PETITION of nearly 1000 signatures was submitted as well.
It will be important for the public to stay engaged and continue to discuss with your councilmembers.
Links to videos are provided below:
- Video from the August 10, 2017 study session.
- Jump to beginning of comments from councilmembers.
- Councilmember Debi Davis had some honest words, stating that she met with San Jose Councilmember Jones to express her concerns, and was told there was nothing stopping the plans.
- Mayor Gillmor’s questions and comments to city staff, first and second.
- Several members of the San Jose Stevens Creek Urban Village Advisory group and San Jose Planning director Michael Brillot were there to "promote" San Jose plans.
- One of the co-chairs, San Jose resident Bob Levy, claimed that Santa Clara was "well represented" - WE DISAGREE!
- San Jose resident/Santa Clara pizza shop owner Kirk Vartan continued to say that he had notified residents to say that there was sufficient engagement, because he posted events notices on NextDoor - ignoring the fact that the lead agency, the City of San Jose, only notified residents within a 500 ft radius, not 1000 ft, and that when residents did voice opinions, they were disregarded and dismissed.
- Steve Kelly, Santa Clara Planning Commissioner, was also there to defend San Jose and say that "we must build up" after Councilmembers expressed concern that San Jose was allowing very tall, 150 ft buildings (or higher if Signature projects such as Volar at Winchester/Stevens Creek Blvd which will be 200 ft) out of character with what Santa Clara is planning on the other side of SCB.
On August 8, 2017, the Thomas Law Group submitted comments on behalf of the residents of the City of Santa Clara regarding deficiencies in San Jose's urban village plans for Stevens Creek, Winchester, and Santana Row.
On June 27, 2017, the City of Santa Clara submitted additional comments to the city of San Jose regarding the Stevens Creek Urban Village plan. Concerns included:
- Lack of addressing the previously identified deficiencies in the urban village plans submitted on May 24 (see below for the previously submitted letter).
- Maximum building heights of 150 and 120 feet, out of character for the area.
- Insufficient environmental impact review, and the impact on the transportation system and traffic.
- Concerns over the “Signature Project” policy, that would allow development without conforming to the urban village plan, including the Fortbay and Garden City projects.
On May 24, 2017, the City of Santa Clara sent a letter to the City of San Jose, expressing many of the same concerns about the Stevens Creek Urban Village plans that residents had voiced. We applaud the city for acknowledging and expressing the concerns of residents. These included:
- Tripling the number of residences in the area while also increasing office space by 48%, thereby increasing congestion on the transportation systems in the area.
- Lack of compatibility of land uses due to the proposed 150 foot building heights in comparison to the one and two story buildings on the other side of Stevens Creek Blvd.
- Lack of parkland and negative effect on surrounding communities.
- Concern over the "Signature" project policy and ability to bypass requirements of the urban village plan.
- A call for enhanced coordination between the cities, which has not occurred to date.