Huge flaws in planning process

The planning for development of the Coyote Valley, which would
spawn a community of 25,000 homes, 80,000 residents and 50,000 jobs
just north of Morgan Hill, continues to proceed at a brisk
pace.
The planning for development of the Coyote Valley, which would spawn a community of 25,000 homes, 80,000 residents and 50,000 jobs just north of Morgan Hill, continues to proceed at a brisk pace. The Coyote Valley Specific Plan Task Force, which held its first meeting less than two years ago, will meet Monday night to review and possibly adopt the infrastructure recommendations of its consultants.

Those infrastructure decisions will have a great deal of influence on the final look and feel of the upcoming new “sub-city” of San Jose. We urge South Valley residents to attend the task force meeting on Monday, Aug. 30, from 5:30 to 9pm at the Martin Luther King Jr. Library, 150 E. San Fernando St., in downtown San Jose.

For a preview, see the Coyote Valley

Specific Plan Task Force’s site at www.sanjoseca.gov/coyotevalley and stories on our Web site (www.gilroydispatch.com).

There are many points of contention with the way the task force has handled its work, but two major-league planning errors demand attention.

First is the composition of the task force. The City of San Jose has stubbornly insisted on an arbitrary cap of 20 members. This means that two key stakeholders, the Morgan Hill School District and Gavilan Community College, have no representation.

MHUSD takes some of the blame for this absurdity. They appointed Russ Danielson, a former trustee, to the task force. When he failed to retain his seat, the district reportedly declined an offer from the task force to replace Danielson with an elected member.

That was a mistake, and one that the school district ought to correct immediately. In a matter of this importance, with such long-range and broad implications, task force duties ought to be handled by an elected trustee who is directly accountable to voters.

As for Gavilan Community College, they’ve asked for a seat at the planning table but have been rebuffed. San Jose’s lack of foresight in shunning the agency responsible for post-secondary education of Coyote Valley’s students is stunningly shortsighted.

The oft-repeated excuse that there are plenty of “other ways” for the MHUSD and Gavilan College officials to participate in the planning process isn’t good enough.

The second egregious error is a repeat of the Cisco planning days: the mistaken assumption that 80 percent of the traffic into Coyote Valley will come from the north and 20 percent will come from the south.

It seems that the City of San Jose is doing everything in its power to exclude and offend South Valley residents who will be most affected by Coyote Valley development.

Rather than choosing an inclusive approach that fosters cooperation and acceptance of a Coyote Valley plan, the City of San Jose has instead chosen confrontation and contention.

Rather than welcoming the input of those responsible for the education of the Coyote Valley’s children, it has shunned them.

Rather than make valid assumptions about the impacts Coyote Valley development will have on its southern neighbors, San Jose planners choose to whitewash them.

Let’s call them on it. If you can, please consider attending the task force meeting Monday night. Let those who did manage to snag places at the planning table know how you feel about their plans and how they will impact South Valley’s environment, economy, traffic and lifestyle. It’s now or never.

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