Santa Clara City Council justification for massive 900 Kiely Boulevard Project

Their testimony attempting to justify their yes vote on a massive new development that will instantly increase the population of the city by 2% starts at 4:32:39 of the council meeting video for 8/18/2009. In over 25 minutes of talking not a single word was mentioned that this is the type of development the people of Santa Clara are asking for. The City Council works for the people of Santa Clara. They should only be carrying out the "will of the people". And yet they didn't even attempt to claim that that was what they were doing.

04:32:38 1 minute 13 seconds

Jamie L. Matthews

There has not been a project that has come before in nine years of being on the council that's an infill project that's been easy. Uhm They all deal with the same issues uh traffic uh fears about number of people that are gonna (habit)? where are people gonna park I believe this plan has addressed those uhm It's certainly, it's certainly not gonna be ever to the satisfaction I did uh chuckle a little bit when the issue of senior housing came forward because we had such opposition to every senior housing project that's come forward. Uhm, regarding traffic and parking that uh, you know it's There's some universal themes uh this is not a This is a decision that I make to make this motion Which I know is not a popular one. But the fact it is that I represent the city as a whole and the best interests of the long term health, our ability to attract and retain the businesses that make, allow us to have the quality of life that we have and the fact that we have intended this to be a residential uh residential area and we've I think we have an excellent product uh including uh a potential bridge and connection for the first time to San Tomas 52 acres being irrigated by recycled water and all the other uhm attributes that I think in balance it's a great project. So those are my comments on the motion.
04:33:54 3 minutes 23 seconds

Dominic J. Caserta

Thank you madam mayor I want to applaud the neighborhood. uh I know this neighborhood intimately I drive through it every day as I go to work at Santa Clara high school. Uhm It is an eyesore right now, that I've seen for many months and I want to applaud you because a lot of your grass root efforts, some of you in the neighborhood have taken more of a leadership role than others. But generally speaking this neighborhood's been very active. And The reason why this developer has been so responsive to the council which we empower through your comments is because how hard you gathered together to get things done. If you weren't organized, the, I don't believe the developer, not just this developer, any developer would have been as responsive as they were. Now with that said I, I know that many of you that live in the neighborhood are upset, frustrated, feel impotent, maybe even disgusted with this council if this motion passes. But Look from our perspective here If we took the public policy of not in my backyard, uhm, there'd be no development at all. Leaving it as is is unacceptable from my perspective leaving it as is right now. . Uh Fairfield, as our staff can say can walk away and leave this not completely demolished. Which would even be more of an eyesore and which would definitely not be good for the neighborhood So I believe through your empowerment and your activity at a grass roots neighborhood level you have made the developer give away a lot that they didn't want to give away. For example, this staff general plan says this could be 900 units, we're now looking at 766 units. There is more open space. The health of this nation and this community is disgusting. The obesity rate is skyrocketing. This is an opportunity for more bike and pedestrian friendly opportunities. Maybe opportunities of are (sic) students that live in that neighborhood to maybe walk to school, once in a while. Uh This council and especially a few in particular champion in the public that they are green and they are environmental. This project is green and it is environmental. Uh the recycling water issue in regards to Central Park is very exciting from my perspective. As a school teacher, I take very seriously that the school district has endorsed this plan. And as a teacher which (sic) resources have been drastically cut in the classroom, giving more money to our schools is a huge plus. And there are some council members on this council that love to talk about affordable housing. And then there's a Niners deal that's coming up and they talk about affordable housing as a reason they didn't support this. This project provides affordable housing. And you know what it is so easy to be popular , uhm and the popular decision tonight would be just to do nothing. But I don't think it's the right decision to make. Uhm and I really wanted just to tell you where I come from and what (sic) that said I applaud you because this would not be as less dense as it is today in this form if it wasn't for your activity. So uhm, I have I don't feel that I have a choice other than to support this project because uh not in my backyard mentality I don't think is good for a city, for a county and a community so I will be supporting the motion.
04:37:23 2 minutes 11 seconds

Jamie McLeod

Thank you, uhm, we've looked at this project now twice and the first time we looked at uhm the EIR and discussed a lot of the traffic impacts and a lot of the issues that were raised tonight and uh personally I think they were issues, they will be issues that are associated with this project but Given that the EIR has been approved uh some of those are uh some of the issues that we have been discussing that are associated with the project are frankly water under the bridge. Uh Because that document has been approved. Uhm, and So now what we're looking at tonight, what I am looking at tonight is the project before us. given some of the uhm the previous the previous approval that's been established and what I'm looking at is a design that has been improved upon from the previous design uhm The other thing I know the density is a very controversial issue but we do have a uh housing shortage in the Bay Area and the South Bay in particular and I know it's difficult when the neighbors are feeling like that's being put upon their shoulders uh they're not many areas in the community where we uh have this opportunity for infill. But uh council member Kornder and I serve as co-chairs on the general plan update steering committee. And we're seeing those pressures on the need for more housing in the area and infill housing is an environmental issue because it does avoid sprawl and people having to commute from other areas and whereas I would love to see some uhm more improvements especially around greenhouse gas issues and I keep raising it but this is gonna become a larger and larger issue as we move forward. Uhm, and so I'd like to see us grappling with this more but the traffic impacts from large commutes is a huge greenhouse uh greenhouse gas issue. So uhm given that it has been improved design uh given that uh we do have the housing demand uhm you know some of the issues again I think are outstanding issues but I think we've lost the opportunity to address them through previous approvals on this project. So uhm ehh with the addition I think that the uhm development management plan that was mentioned is an important one ... we've seen some headaches come up with that before but I think. That will help to address the ongoing issues. So I will be supporting the motion.
4:39:39 3 minutes 33 seconds

Joe Kornder

Thank you madam mayor. Infill projects are usually and understandably unpopular. That's no surprise, No surprise. They always are. But unfortunately at this point in Santa Clara's history are (sic) growth options are limited. And infill, at this point in our history ,one of them, must be a key option for handling growth. At our last council meeting we challenged the applicant to deal with issues of density open space and parking, the concerns that were expressed by the residents and by the council members He's come back with some changes that address those issues. Not to the level that some of you or some of us or some of you would want. But he has nevertheless addressed them. And at some cost I think to the project some cost to his recovery from the project. So that we now have uh reduction, we're hearing 5% in density, uh there is an additional open space and uh and parkland opportunity, parking has been taken care of. And there are other things that have been added as amenities and so on. Mr. Langston spoke to us and indicated that he felt that there was no power among the residents, uhm, I think if you have been here regularly and heard these discussions and watched us in action you will agree that There is significant power coming from the residents of Santa Clara. This staff and this council listen to people. Unfortunately we can't give what we shouldn't give or we feel we shouldn't give. So we won't be doing what you would want us to do perhaps tonight. But we do listen. And there is great power in what you have to say. There is great power in your consistently and courteously explaining and reminding and coming to the council and to the developer. So I congratulate you on that. And whatever occurs the final outcome, the shape of this project if it is approved will be in large part due to what you have expressed. And finally I just want to make a comment about schools.Cuz I have some experience in the school district in this city. And I know at one point, uh, when I first started teaching the school district population was in the neighborhood of 23,000 students today it's in the neighborhood of 13 and a half or 14 thousand students. Our school system has been able over the years to accommodate those dramatic and drastic changes. Reductions and and growth by building, by moving students, by doing what they had to do. This school district will be able to handle the additional students. We were not able to hang on to all of the buildings when we dropped from 23,000 to 14,000 Some of the buildings were closed.and are now other things. Some of the schools But there are remaining schools that are available. And I know the school district is heavily planning and heavily discussing what options there are for them. And I can't speak for the district but I'm sure the district would say to you we'll do our very best and we will accomodate the students that come through out doors. They've done that for all time that they've been in existence. I too am saddened that we have to make a decision like this that's gonna be very unpopular but I will be supporting the recommendations of staff too.
04:43:17 5 minutes 46 seconds

Kevin Moore

OK, I'm gonna go off a little bit here for a second I just need to clarify somethin here. Uh, we sit here and we listen a lot. We spend a lot of time deliberating and lookin at every single angle turning over every rock. Tonight we even listed to a guy who thought he was God. OK And I want to clarify you something here. OK. For Gary Gillmor who's not here to speak for himself. Gary Gillmor does not own the land under Great America amusement park. The city of Santa Clara does. Number two. Gary Gilmore didn't tear down the downtown of Santa Clara when he was a freshmen in college on the basketball court. And number three, even though somebody thinks their God, uh I I believe he has no vested interest in Fairfield corporation at this time. So, uhm, I just wanna clear those things up It's too bad people have to go to those levels of deception. And the last one is Uhm, that same individual who's God who said that I damaged his car one time, scratched it, uhm If he can give the film and pass it over to the chief of Police uhm I would definitely admit if he has that film but it's somethin that I don't do especially when I'm in the council chambers. So just to clarify iwhat God is out there saying is very innacurate but it's not the God that I look up to. Thanks you. Secondly, here Somebody uhm, you know, kinda and I won't mention there name here uh re reduced what we're gonna get here with the creek trail. We spent a lot of years there, I mean poison oak, climbin down in the trail. I mean, I think Loree Garcia is here today who wore out a couple pairs of tennis shoes here and uh it's nice to see the last few weeks uhm I was over at uhm somewhere towards city hall there and a lady was talkin about walkin the creek tail and I said oh, so you're goin down to Los Gatos. She goes no no no we're going on up here to Monroe, that new staging area. And the next morning I had a teacher come up to me and say hey you know what my wife's No no no, we're going up to This wasn't my idea. wore out a couple of pairs of tennis shoes here. Hey you know what, my wife's gonna go out there and run the trail. We're trying to link up some very positive ... I mean this wasn't my idea. ... the father of the creek trail I'll take that but 1959 uh years ago our council members, I don't think we have any from 1959 here. I don't think Dave Thompkins was 1959 but I knew he was back aways now, but, the plan for the city was to link up the parks and the schools and and entertainment things along the trail. When I saw that master plan for 1959 and we came out here and we walked out there regarding the trail with uh God bless his soul, Earl Carmichael he said hey son, with his Texas drawl, he goes I don't think that's gonna happen. I don't think it makes sense And then he saw a gentlemen, ride his bike up, middle of Silicon valley, no paved trails Take his bike, put it over the fence, climb the fence and ride down the trail. And he goes well son, maybe things are changing. Well we have a real opportunity here to link a park. I'd love to have 52 acre park in my neighborhood. Central Park, you know I went to St. Justins right there I saw the traffic at Kaiser uh you know, there was a lot of traffic at Kaiser walkin across that street to get some gum or to get somethin before practice. boy that was traffic goin in there. Ambulances, once and a while you'd even see a helicopter going in there. So there was traffic whatever anybody wants to say. And the building was, I gotta say I wanna say when I was there was at least on the eigth floor. I mean I don't know how many floors it is but it's quite a few floors. Uh, this project here is gonna come back and it's gonna be somethin that we can be proud of with the open space we're getting here, somebody lessoned the open space we're getting. When you see the trail and what's gonna be there this is gonna be good for not only the area people there are gonna be takin walks there and gonna be able to access the trail and the park. It's gonna link are (sic) 52 acre park with potentially another park parcel of land that's gonna be very good open space for walking, recreating and it's gonna increase the value. Whoever says it's gonna decrease the value of that area I'll look forward to seeing them in a year, 2 years. And then what it's gonna do, it's gonna link up eventually to Homeridge park a lot of people don't know about. It's a great barbecue area. And it's gonna be a really good thing. So whoever lessened that, you nkow, it's too bad. They don't understand the trail and what it's gonna be doing. I will be supporting the motion. Uhm would I like to see it be an open field of 10 soccer fields, be great. We worked to get em, all of us, the majority of us on this council here to get 3 soccer fields out there north of Bayshore. Would I like to see it be all the trail. It can't happen. But we worked to gether to get 20 it's almost 20 acres. er 20 acres, I wanna say 20 acres of park land along the trail that we're workin to get. So we are trying to get wins every where we can. And uh, Reduction. Did we meet with the neighbors? Yeah I got an email right here that I just read off from one I got yesterday and talked to um and Would we love it to be a whole open space preserve or would we love it to be a a you know somethin where downtown area of somethin that's gonna bring a lot of traffic. And I tell you the traffic that would be there if we did an office building there. You'd have traffic you know quite a lot larger than that. You know and so uhm I think it's a tough decision here but it's a responsible decision and I think what it's gonna do for your trail is gonna bring big benefits not only for that area but for the entire city.
04:49:06 2 minutes 53 seconds

Will Kennedy

Thank you The uh two fact that have uh guided my thinking uh on this issue have been first prior to this development idea coming along there was a hospital there, as opposed to open space. And the reason I mention that is because uhm I think we've all been trying to uhm avoid a situation where there's a drastic increase in traffic and activity uh for the neighbors. Cuz they bought their properties thinking uhm they're going to have a certain situation and we don't want to drastically uhm change that. uhm my view of this project from everything I have read and heard is that it roughly approximates the uh traffic and other activity that was existent at the Kaiser site. And in fact may even be a little less in some ways. Uhm so For that reason I think that it's roughly uh roughly approximates and I think it's fair to the neighbors. Uhm, it would be a different matter if prior to this everything was open space and everybody moved into the neighborhood expecting that and had this drastic increase. The other fact that uhm has affected the way I think about this is that the area has been zoned uhm uh for 26 to 36 units per acre. And this uhm although there was a little uhm controversy about exactly those numbers this is roughly at the lower end of the zone as opposed to the higher end. Uhm so I think that's uh uh a positive fact. And I do also want to acknowledge that the developer has made uhm several concessions along the way and they've been mentioned uhm by my colleagues up here on the dais. Uhm several of them and I want to acknowledge those so I will be supporting the motion tonight.
04:51:01 6 minutes 33 seconds

Patricia M. Mahan

Thank you I wanted to have my own comments. uhm First to address the perception among the public especially that seg segment of the public that's most immediately and forcefully impacted by this project development that's the Peppertree neighborhood And the perception there being the the developer hasn't worked with the neighborhood, hasn't really talked, hasn't been cooperative, forthcoming all of those things, uhm, and I've I and and the perception that he wasn't willing, the, and I don't think he meaning Mr. McCoy personally, but the developer, as a whole, wasn't willing even to consider changing the plan until Council action and questioning forced the plan changes. In a way though, the credit goes to the public for bringing it to our attention, because you're right this is the only way we know uh is by hearing from you one to one as to what your particular concerns are. And we sort of can amalgamate those and get some concensus about some of the issues that are involved in any development and this project is no different. So you have kinda brought these changes into play. and Some of them are for the good. Maybe it doesn't go as far as I would want. But I also think that I, I cannot, uhm, deny that I think in some ways the perception the developer's not been responsive is correct. I mean we've come a long way in getting them to be more responsive and I think going forward I'm hopeful that it'll become even more responsive. . I have some real concerns when I hear about the demolition and the particular problems it has caused to homeowners and I hope that really changes substantially and very quickly. Uh, because I think a lot of, you know the negative, the negativity's got to start healing here because I think this project is going forward. We've tried to make it better. I don't know that it's exactly what you want, It's not exactly what I want, It's not exactly what the developer wants, and I understand that when, one comment was that, you know I said We should both feel pain. I didn't say it exactly in that right way I said, you know, Compromise is when nobody's really happy. So nobody's really happy, uhm, so maybe it's a good project after all. You know I, I do sense the, also the, from the audience, you know that we're here listening to the unions and this is our organized you know and people coming in and I've gotta say from my perspective all of that kind of testimony is interesting but it's really not persuasive. It it you know, jobs are fine, we wanna be , you know,have economic development in our city we ... wanna have good jobs and all of that stuff but it doesn't really convince me one way or another, that's not the reason to do any kind of project it's just to satisfy the unions. or building trades or provide jobs. That's not the only reason. Uhm The only reason in my mind is always to do what's best for Santa Clara overall. And what's best for Santa Clara is to continue to grow and develop. It is a good idea to build housing when there's not a need for housing because number one the housing can be built more cheaply so when it does come on the market it can be better priced. And there will be a need. The housing will be there when the need comes back. You can't play catch up when it comes to housing or you will always be behind. I think that in response to some of the points that were brought up in our last hearing the project is much improved, the overall heights are much limited from what they were before, uh It will be less massive,It will be less massive along the street So I have to look at this in the end is this a good infill project. Does it fit with the surrounding neighborhood. And remembering, not just Peppertree Woodbridge is on the other side and that's a pretty dense development. apartments are north of that. those are pretty dense. So it's got kind of a triangular shape with different articulations on all of those sides. I think putting single family homes along the entire perimeter along Pepper Tree helps a great deal those housing lot are still kinda small especially when you compare it to Marietta Drive it's probably two to one but I've gotta be honest Are we gonna be able to build lots the size of Marietta drive anymore and make them affordable in Santa Clara. I mean you could, could put em here. One person commented that the developer's not gonna pay for the school fees and stuff you're absolutely right. Let's not kid ourselves. They don't pay for it. The users pay for it. The consumers pay for it. People who buy the houses and rent the houses pay for it. All of those costs. They get built into the pricing structure. So sure we could demand that they put houses on 10,000 square foot lots. They'd be so expensive they wouldn't be Santa Clara. I'm not interested in creating elite homes in our city. They em where nobody that really lives here could afford to buy them. So that means smaller lots. So that single family perimeter helps. The articulation of on the north and east side are against apartment houses and condos so I think that is probably fairly compatible. Uhm I do have a few concerns that were particular, I don't think they need to, the don't rise to the level of conditions or anything but I would like the maker of the motion to consider referring them back to staff so they get attention and addressing. One if the Woodsborough retaining wall, if there is some need to improve that. One is this demolition zone and the neighbors concern with cement dust and not having someone to contact either to in the city, we need that point person, we wanna avoid what happened with Mansion Gove, or is it Mansion Park. Somebody mentioned a particular tree 609 maybe somebody and look at that And then the ADA accessibility issue I think may be key because it's something that we hadn't thought of but when we think about this connection to uhm, Central Park, let's make sure we get that ADA accessibility uh built in to that. And the fencing of the tot lot. That's uh, so if we could maybe by consensus ... and just refer those back to the city manager. So there not conditions for approval but just particular .. concerns that I would have. uhm So I think overall the developer has maybe come lately to be responsive but has finally become a little more responsive. Uhm, I think the project overall now is a lot more compatible that it once was and I do find it, uh, I will be supporting it, but I do reall want the neighborhood to stay involved and make sure as the development goes forward that those particular issues get addressed. Councilman Matthews