Coyote Valley advice

COYOTE
– Representatives of more than 60 stakeholders interested in
Coyote Valley’s future will meet in San Jose Friday to discuss
their vision for the development of the area less than 10 miles
north of Morgan Hill.
COYOTE – Representatives of more than 60 stakeholders interested in Coyote Valley’s future will meet in San Jose Friday to discuss their vision for the development of the area less than 10 miles north of Morgan Hill.

Before development is complete, the northern two-thirds of the agricultural valley is intended by San Jose’s General Plan to hold 50,000 jobs – including large technology campuses – and more than 25,000 housing units. The southern third will be designated the “Coyote Valley Greenbelt,” and is planned to provide a permanent separation between San Jose and Morgan Hill with several bike trials and protected nature preserves.

“The idea of this meeting is that this will be a less politically-charged environment where dialogue on some controversial issues can take place between stakeholders,” said Francesca Tierney, the project coordinator for the meeting organized by the Greenbelt Alliance, a Bay Area organization dedicated to protecting open space. “We hope this will be a resource tool for the foundation of a smart growth vision.”

Representatives from affordable housing, labor, employment, environmental and governmental agencies have all been invited to take part in the dialogue, along with several area elected officials. This will be the second of three meetings sponsored by the Greenbelt Alliance dealing with the future of the agricultural valley.

The Greenbelt Alliance will eventually report its ideas from the three meetings to a 20-member task force selected by San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales to help develop the City of San Jose’s specific plan for the valley.

The specific plan for the area is expected to be complete by 2005.

“The future development of this area will definitely impact the entire region,” said Tierney. “Traffic, air, water – they will all be affected by the development of this valley. This is why we want everyone to have a say in its future.”

Gilroy Mayor Tom Springer attended the Greenbelt Alliance’s first meeting on Coyote Valley in August, but he will not be able to attend Friday’s meeting because he will be out of town, Tierney said. No other Gilroy representatives are expected to attend the meeting.

Representatives who will be at Friday’s meeting in full force are several environmental advocacy groups. Agencies representing habitat conservation, open space, and air and water quality are all going to attend the meeting.

“There are a lot of concerns about the big picture of this valley,” Tierney said. “If we take care of the details on how to develop this land correctly now, it should make the city’s future work a lot easier … We are just hoping to give (the City of San Jose) some feedback and a shared vision.”

District 1 County Supervisor Don Gage will not be at the meeting Friday – he said was not invited – but he is not concerned about the lack of a Gilroy presence.

Gage is part of the Coyote Valley Specific Plan Task Force appointed by Gonzales which will oversee the development of land-use plans for the valley.

Other members recommended for the panel would represent developers, property owners, San Jose’s chamber of commerce, San Jose parks and planning commissioners, labor unions, a councilwoman representing Almaden Valley, a Morgan Gill Unified School District trustee and the county’s Open Space Authority.

“The Mayor’s task force is the one that has the say,” Gage said. “So it really doesn’t make much difference if (Gilroy) is represented or not (on Friday). (The Greenbelt Alliance) will make their recommendation for the development of the valley, and we will consider what they have to say – but in the end we will make the decision.”

The Coyote Valley Vision Project Committee meeting will take place from 2 to 5 p.m. on Friday in room 105 of the United Way Building in San Jose, 1922 The Alameda.

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