Oct, 09 - 2022   Meetings & Commission Reports
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AGENDA 9.17.22

• Networking 8:30 to 9:00; • General Business 9:00 to 9:20; • Agenda and Minutes – 5 minutes
• Treasurer’s Report – 5 minutes; • Commission Reports – 10 minutes • District 1 Council Office Update 9:20 to 10:00; • Vice Mayor Jones and staff – 40 minutes
• Development Discussion 10:00 to 10:40; • Lessons-learned from El Paseo – 40 minutes
• Neighborhood Roundtable 10:40 to 11:00; • 1 to 2 min update from each Neighborhood Association
• Adjourn 11:00


Steve Ling: Opened the meeting at 9:00 am by welcoming everyone.

Jerry Giles: The 6.4.22 Zoom meeting minutes were approved.

Betty Kabanek: Treasure’s report. Bank account balance is $3,528.21.

Gary Cunningham: The city’s Neighborhood Commission is currently in-active, as it cannot secure a quorum for its meetings. The NC commissioners are elected. Currently the D1 L.G. does not have an elected representative. Gary was our previous representative, but he has “termed out.”

Steve Ling: D1 L.G.’s current core topics of concern are crime, housing, development, community, utilities, and emergency preparation. We need volunteers for each topic. Interested members should contact L.G. Board members. Bob Levy suggested that we add Climate Action and Parkland topics to our list.

Steve Ling: Our Development topic has three components. They are Visibility, Voice, and Vision.
NA Representatives’ Round Table Comments.

Amy Cody: The Moreland West NA will hold a neighborhood walk and audit of the El Paseo project. On 10/20, it will hold a “Shopping Site Discussion.”

Jim Landowski: The Stevens Creek NA has concerns about the homeless encampment on its border with Cupertino. The NA is happy about the clearance of the Stevens Creek encampment.

Gary Smith: The English Estates NA will hold a 10/5 meeting with San Jose Police to discuss homeless issues.

NA Representatives’ Round Table Comments

Justin Lardinois: The Boynton NA has nothing to report.

Susan Bishop: The Eden NA will hold an outdoor movie night this Fall. It also plans a dumpster day in October and a hayride in December. The NA is having problems finding volunteers.

Jerry Giles: The Lynhaven NA has nothing to report.

Planning Commission Report by Michael Young, Planning Commissioner, and Justin Lardinois, D1 Planning Commission Representative

Michael Young: All city development is governed by the city’s 2040 Plan. The Plan covers a variety of issues and was created in 2011. With any new building proposal, the major question is “is the proposal consistent with the 2040 Plan.”

Michael Young: A sub-part of the 2040 Plan is ‘Urban Villages.” Urban Villages has required standards and guidelines. “Building Codes” are defined under the Plan’s Urban Villages’ section. Currently under the SB9 law, any resident can simply request a “zoning change” from “single-family” to “multi-family” and then subdivide his/her property and build up to 4 housing units. The city has given the Planning Commission $400k to do studies. The city’s Department of Transportation has a Transit Improvement Plan, but has not coordinated it with the Planning Commission.

D1 Council Office Report by Chappie Jones, S.J. Vice-Mayor

Chappie Jones:

Events: DAD – 4th annual Disability Awareness Day. Office of Vice-Mayor Jones (VM)is partnering with San Andreas regional center and valley medical foundation to bring awareness. If you have organizations that would like to partner or participate, please email [email protected]. The event will be on Oct 13th from 10-1 at City Hall, activities, entertainment, and lunch will be available.

Transportation: A few residents have reported oversized vehicles parking behind the Safeway on Winchester and Payne. I believe those vehicles have been addressed and removed.
We continue to hear from residents that their 311 Vehicle abatement reports do not meet abatement criteria. Crosswalk on Johnson and Thompkins, as planned, broke ground on Wednesday- it will take 7 weeks to complete though construction is not expected to occur everyday.

Homelessness: Temporary homeless sites are currently not available due to limited funding.
We held a walkthrough of Saratoga Creek Ave to assess a few encampments on Friday 9/16. D1 Council Office is currently planning a homelessness roundtable. We are hearing a lot of concerns of encampments in Saratoga Creek (in the back of their homes) setting fires, cooking, and being loud. Beautify SJ and homeless concerns have been notified and have informed us they’ve deployed outreach teams – awaiting updates.

Stevens Creek Corridor High-Capacity Transit Initiative Update: Initiative continues to progress with the City of Santa Clara recently voting unanimously to participate in the proposed Vision Study. All participating jurisdictions have now approved participation in the study: the County of Santa Clara, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), and Cities of Cupertino, San José, and Santa Clara. Next steps include finalizing agreements among agencies. The Vision Study is expected to launch in Fall 2022 and will be implemented by Iteris and Winter Consulting as an amendment to the West San Jose Multi-modal Transportation Improvement Plan. The objective of this study is to create a common vision with neighboring jurisdictions for high-capacity transit along the Stevens Creek Corridor and to improve mobility and its interrelationship with walking, biking, placemaking, and enhancing the quality of life for our community.

Disparity Study: The City plans to launch Disparity Study as an effort to increase opportunities and participation of disadvantaged businesses in the City’s procurement program. Efforts to implement a disparity study emerged from District 1’s Small Business Advisory Task Force and support from Mayor and Council Members Arenas and Jimenez. The Disparity Study will be implemented through piggybacking off of the County’s agreement with MGT of American Consulting LLC as a result of a competitive request for proposal (RFP). The Department of Finance will be overseeing the study. Typically, these studies take about a year to complete. I look forward to the recommendations and what new policies may emerge to improvement the City’s procurement program.

Small Business Advisory Task Force: Per the approved budget for FY 2022-23, my SBATF will transition into a standing body to be supported by the Office of Economic Development (OED). This body will continue providing a forum for small businesses to provide input on the City’s current and proposed policies and programs and to provide opportunities for small business representatives to provide resources and assistance to small businesses. We are currently working with OED to finalize the details so this new advisory committee can hit the ground running in 2023.

Summer 2019-Community Visioning Session:
September 2019-First presentation to the community where overwhelmingly the community demanded a “no school” option and many requested building heights no more than 3 stories.
October 2019-We subsequently gave Sandhill our preference for no school, underground parking, and to come back with a better overall design that included the following goals (that were given to Sandhill
in person and by email):
1. Connection from El Paseo site to 1777 Saratoga Ave.
2. Facilitates walkability.
3. Connects the signature project in a meaningful way.
4. Creates sense of place, “there there.”
5. Opportunity for unique landmark/ design that Improves safety by preventing employees from 1777 Saratoga from needing to cross major intersection at Lawrence and Saratoga.
6. Traffic mitigation for those who may opt to drive from site to site to avoid walking on the busy intersection.
7. Main footpath that connects through entire development (Not along Quito).
8. Facilitates walkability.
9. Gives storefronts’ visibility and creates a “main street” feel.
10. Allows for a walk-able experience free from cars (air pollution/safety concerns).
11. Aligns with urban village goals of walk-able, community centers.
12. Creates a connection between entire development, something neighbors expressed concerns about with the current El Paseo development.
13. Residential heavy scheme preferred.
14. Contributes to City housing goals.
15. Maintains ground floor retail.
16. Adds potential for increased affordable housing.
17. Height is less of an issue if affordable housing is included and there is a main walk-able spine.
18. Large outdoor space is not preferred, rather close walk-able shops connected by main street with housing above.

January 2020: El Paseo responds to feedback by presenting Vice Mayor with residential heavy scheme that incorporates affordable housing on site and has a walk-able pedestrian ground floor with retail, and underground parking. VM and team responded with concerns about design, but overall are happy with the direction the project is taking from initial iterations. VM mentions that having an active ground floor is more critical than empty open fields.

October 2020: EIR Scoping meeting with community. Baker West and other community members stress that the school use is not favorable/appropriate for the area. They also have concerns around traffic and request a 4-5 story maximum.

March 2021: Sandhill presents VM office with residential proposal that boosts unit count to nearly 1000 and eliminates the school use.

May 2021: Sandhill and D1 (Cassidy) meet with Moreland West neighbors for feedback. Overall, it is positive, but some still raise comments over density concerns.

October 2021: EIR circulates, and comments are collected. Cassidy communicates to Baker West and Moreland West leadership to let them know about the EIR circulation beginning.

January 2022: Second City community meeting held.

May 2022: Response to EIR comments and set for PC/CC.

July 2022: It becomes clear that the height of the buildings is a sticking point for many D1 residents, including leadership in both Baker West and Moreland West. Vice Mayor asks what a reasonable height might be (since we were hearing 3-4 stories previously) and Amy Cody suggests 8 stories. VM’s office proposes 9-story heights to the Council members in our Brown Act (BA). Pam Foley is no longer able to vote. Not one other member of the BA is going to sign on to a memo that favors height reductions due to: equity concerns, housing crisis, loss of affordable units, and worry about viability of the project. Mayor makes it clear that he will not support making one-off height limits for developers, because it undermines the development standards that the city spent years making. VM decides to remove the 9-story piece and add it to a separate memo that he can drop solo. This will allow the rest of the memo that contains critical conditions to move forward with support (i.e., visioning session, art, etc.). Before VM drops the 9-story solo memo, CM Arenas and CM Esparza drop a memo that emphasizes how it is critical to have affordable units in West SJ (high opportunity areas) and recommends denying any proposal that would negatively impact the amount of on-site affordable housing. It is now clear that it would be a very poor decision for VM to put forward a 9-story proposal because, in addition to the rest of the Brown Act members not supporting it, two council members are already prepared to make a
strong case against it. VM goes forward with recommending approval of the joint memo and, although the height is more than the neighbors wanted, it is still the product of years of work and an overall benefit to the City as a whole. Project unanimously approved.

Comparison to Cambrian Village Project:
Category El Paseo Cambrian
Size 10.7 acres 18 acres
Affordable Housing
Units 150 (split evenly at 50 (at 100% AMI) 50, 60, & 100% AMI
Total Homes 994 428
Commercial Space 166k square feet 150k square feet
Open Space (Paseos,
Walkways, Parks) 3.5 acres 4 acres
Max Proposed Height 120 feet 98 feet

Development Presentation – Lessons Learned From The El Paseo Building Project Phase 1 by John Oberstar and Amy Cody
John Oberstar – Presenter

❏ Ask: Limit bldg. heights to 8 stories or less and other comparable projects Result: Bldg. heights only increased throughout project ending at 12,11,11,10.

❏ Ask: Densities closer to Signature Project minimum of 55 DU/acre or to Cambrian Signature Project Result: Densities increased and ended up at 92 DU/acre.

❏ Ask: Comprehensive housing and commercial goals from City for entire 30 acre site Result: No goals or planning for 30 acre site.

❏ Ask: Due to boundaries, multi-jurisdictional collaboration on traffic and infrastructure. Result: No multi-city collaboration or planning. A partial win by getting area included in City’s West SJ Multi-Modal Transportation Improvement Project.

❏ Ask: Park space for park-deficient region. Result: A 1.1 acre public plaza with ~2 acres of other ‘open space’ including roadway and parking spots. Millions of in-lieu fees.

❏ Ask: Affordable housing. Result: Currently 15% at the upper 2 RHNA AMI tiers. No in-lieu fees.

❏ Mixed Ask: Include Home Ownership options Result: Unclear. Appear to be rentals.

❏ Mixed Ask: Include Grocery store in commercial space Result: Replaced vacated Lucky’s with Whole Foods.

Overall, we believe the D9 Cambrian Park Signature Project a much better example of collaboration between residents, developer, & the City.

The most important Phase – Building the Foundation for Community Engagement & Influence

❏ Identify & meet with nearby neighborhood associations and leaders.

❏ Educate interested residents via NA meetings SJ General Plan, development areas in district, development milestones, recent comparable SJ projects, Education.

❏ It’s your city and neighborhood…what’s needed?

❏ Within NAs, identify resident expertise & create expert action groups.

❏ Experts & Groups monitor identified projects and areas.

❏ Current/past public employees, writers, web-savvy, communications experts, public records searchers …

❏ Monitor City Depts. and documents for interest areas.

❏ Sign up for Council member open office hours and newsletter.

❏ Sign up for alerts from Planning, Permits, Property Sales, Transit/Roads.

❏ Some info never linked to more easily accessible sites.

❏ Monitor web for interest areas: Architect/Architectural, Commercial Real Estate, Developers.

❏ Architectural – often more info & drawings than on any other sites.

❏ Commercial – often contain business details not shared elsewhere.

Immediately start consistent, regular feedback … do not defer any engagements to later or until DEIR is submitted

❏ Coordinate w/surrounding NAs to create a development priority list.

❏ It’s your city and neighborhood … what’s needed?

❏ Rank-ordered and realistic based on other recent project comparables, as well as area specific needs.

❏ Document and share this with local Council member asap … even before any developer community meeting and definitely before any preliminary plans are shared.

❏ Councilperson.

❏ Ask Councilperson to commit to sharing info with NAs: developer meeting dates, brief summaries of meetings, and updated accurate info as project changes.

❏ Regularly attend Council member office hours and request development news (meeting dates & summary).

❏ NA to write meeting summary notes from meetings with Councilperson and share with NAs and Council member.

❏ Unless NAs engage deeply at this point, Councilperson hears only from developer…“all is well.”

❏ Ensure community interests are represented and that, ultimately, there is ballot-box accountability.

❏ Official Departments.

❏ Start frequent communication with Planning/Parks/Transit/Permits/D1LG to glean information.

❏ Don’t assume staff will catch all errors. They are stretched thin and rely on developer, consultants.

❏ Official memos are difficult to find unless residents know about their existence. Information is only slowly updated, if at all.

❏ Developer.

❏ Be sure to attend all legally required Developer-community meetings.

❏ Ask for NA time and present NA prioritized list.

❏ Video capture all meetings for future reference … maintains accountability.

❏ Document all info requests and continue raising until answered. Many of our requests went unanswered.

❏ Ask residents to cc: NA alias on any communication with Developer and to notify of any developer requests to meet with smaller residential groups.

❏ Save & retain website screenshots with dates for later reference or legal use.

❏ 3rd Parties: Developer-Aligned or Independent Advocacy Groups.

❏ Avoid reliance on such groups to organize meetings or surveys.

❏ Do not let them represent or “summarize” neighborhood interests.

❏ Not always transparent about their funding/interests; may not align with resident concerns
Throughout, be clear when developer or City responses do not reflect NA interests.

❏ Speak Up – early & often.

❏ Allied NAs should begin respectfully contacting other Council members while cc’ing local Council member.

❏ Begin contacting media sources/connections.

If inputs consistently not addressed, begin circulating an in-person door-to-door petition within the NA communities, 2-3 major points … do not delay this to later phases

❏ Share with Council member and local media sources.

❏ We collected over 1000+ resident signatures and presented at City Council … received little acknowledgment …too late.

❏ (Developer) EIR & CITY EIR.

❏ By time DEIR is submitted, project inputs and opinions are mostly jelled.

❏ Significantly reduced NA ability to influence project design from this point on.

❏ Now, discussions will follow a more legal and more political process.

❏ DEIR and EIR inputs are basis for any resident legal follow up.

❏ Organize resident experts to in-depth review the DEIR.

Particularly appendices: traffic, transit, parks, infrastructure, affordability, schools, and General Plan compliance

❏ Appendices contain the critical assumptions and findings, which are only summarized in the DEIR document.

❏ Residents to finance independent traffic and transit report..

❏ Legal NA experts should review the overview/summary document for deficiencies.

❏ NA alliance should formulate a unified response to the DEIR.

❏ Also, encourage submissions from individual residents and D1LG group.

❏ Watch for revisions to DEIR via informal discussions with city officials and online monitoring.

❏ Important to point out issues with Planning before City completes EIR.

❏ Prepare residents for EIR document.

❏ Overall, dismissive tone regarding most comments; essentially – ‘no requirement to consider.’

❏ At this point, almost everything is mitigable via actual physical mitigations, “behavioral’ mitigations, or various “in-lieu” fees to City.

❏ Difficult to connect “in-lieu” fees to any investment in area versus general city funds.

❏ Post EIR-residents need to decide if they want to legally challenge the EIR for violations.


❏ Pre-PC vote: NA alliance requests regular meetings w/Council member & Planning Dept.

❏ Critical to obtain up-to-date info from meetings they’ve had w/developers.

❏ Pre-PC vote: NA alliance requests meeting with each Commissioner.

❏ Prepare presentation to quickly walk Commissioners through concerns.

❏ Some Commissioners will not agree to meet, need to share written concerns with all Commissioners.

❏ Expect an existing perception that most, if not all, resident concerns are NIMBYism and anti-growth.

❏ Difficult to penetrate that existing perception.

❏ PC meeting.

❏ Organize resident speakers to hit all major points.

❏ If nothing else, it’s important to make major resident concerns part of the official, legal record.

❏ Up-front, demand equal time for NA alliance preso and comments for each similar slot allocated to
developer preso/response.

❏ Unless the NA alliance has actual City Plan, Zoning, and Legal issues to raise, the Planning Commission vote is mostly a pro-forma exercise.

❏ Most projects are approved; rejections occur only for the most egregious violations or technicalities.

❏ The most the residents can expect is a recommendation from the PC to the City Council on some concerns.

❏ One of our few wins: area inclusion in the West SJ Multi- Modal Transportation Improvement Plan

❏ Months in advance, request/schedule meeting with Parks, Transportation, Infrastructure Departments, School Districts to share area views on EIR and plans.

❏ NA alliance group should create joint written and presentation documents.

❏ Simple & direct. Subtlety and nuance do not work at this point.

❏ As with Commissioners, expect Council members to have a predisposition to expect resident concerns to be NIMBYism and anti-growth.

❏ Assume that the officials have not and will not review most documents to any depth, developer’s and
resident’s … rely on under-resourced staff.

❏ Residents have fewer connections, meetings, and opportunities to message to City than developers.

❏ Eight weeks in advance, request meetings with the Mayor and all Council members (or their staffs) and Planning officials …share any area concerns from EIR and plans.

❏ This is primarily to support/further influence local Council member.

❏ Not every Council member will agree to meet, so share written concerns; meet with their staff.

❏ Focus heavily on the area Council member. Most important vote.

❏ Mayor and other Council members are unlikely to go against the area’s Council member vote.

❏ Know legalities; expect only the legal minimums from almost all parties.

❏ Lots of information – but not easily accessible to residents, not always shared. When shared, residents are often the last to get it.

❏ Lack of City central website with up-to-date project information and all documents, memos, plans related to project. Not well maintained by Planning Dept. project lead.

❏ Project plans, drawings, and negotiations often change long before any update to residents.

❏ The bigger the project in terms of acres or density the more governmental outreach to residents needed and the more inter-city and county outreach.

❏ Projects close to other city borders should be coordinated across jurisdictions.

❏ Developers have deeper relationships w/City, are more influential, and have more frequent access than any resident group.

❏ More concern about legal battles with developers than from residents?

❏ Not all developers are alike. Some more interested in community engagement than others.

❏ City is the only voice for residents that wields any weight w/Developers.

❏ City staff is under-resourced and overwhelmed. At times more reliant on developer statements/documents than on any resident findings/statements.

❏ Govt. staff and officials do not anticipate reasonable and detailed analysis from citizens. Pre-existing bias to hear most resident feedback as NIMBY and anti-growth.

❏ Any concerns raised are up against an environment currently concerned about converting land into housing units … much, much less interest on infrastructure and planning.

❏ ‘…don’t worry, it will be taken care of later.’

❏ ‘…can’t plan for that now.’

❏ ‘…quality of life is not a top 1,2,3,or 4 consideration in current environment.’

❏ SJ Planning Dept.

❏ Under-staffed and outgunned by Developers.

❏ Lack of coordination with other City departments and regional resources.

❏ Frequently unable to answer detailed questions from community or even Mayor at Council vote.

❏ Lack of follow through.

❏ Development plan and outcome is almost decided by release of EIR.

❏ Community must be aligned and express in large, unified voice wants and concerns before the finalization of plans prior to DEIR.

❏ In San Jose, the District’s councilperson is critical.

❏ Highly unlikely other Council members will vote differently than district’s Council member ……….. Early is too late ………..

Meeting Adjourned at 11:12 am.

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