In recent events, the City of Santa Clara released a response to the City of San Jose’s complaint regarding City Place, and Santa Clara filed to hear the case in a different county.
On July 29, 2016 San Jose its complaint letter, claiming Santa Clara’s 240-acre City Place project would put strains on San Jose and other local communities. San Jose further stated Santa Clara failed to comply with California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), which requires state and local agencies to identify the significant environmental impacts of their actions and to avoid or mitigate those impacts.
On September 6, Santa Clara responded to San Jose’s complaint letter and denied almost all of the allegations.
“Respondent denies that the Petitioner is entitled to any of the relief described therein and further denies that the Respondent has failed to comply with CEQA,” said Santa Clara’s letter.
Santa Clara also said the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for City Place was not “incomplete or misleading” as stated in San Jose’s complaint letter. Santa Clara admitted to the allegation that City Place was not included in the city’s 2010 General Plan, but continued to say it made amendments to the General Plan when City Place was approved
Part of the relief that San Jose asked for was for Santa Clara to stop working on City Place until they comply with CEQA. However, Santa Clara denied that it failed to comply in the first place and said San Jose’s complaint “fails to state facts sufficient to state a cause of action for declaratory relief.”
The Santa Clara City Attorney’s office said that they have not stopped working on City Place.
“Although litigation has been filed against the EIR, the project continues to move forward as Related is continuing its efforts to complete the design and other plans necessary to begin construction,” said Santa Clara City Attorney’s office.
Richard Doyle, San Jose’s City Attorney, had no comment on Santa Clara’s response to their complaint. “Nothing in there that surprised us,” said Dolye.
On September 6, Santa Clara’s attorneys petitioned to have the trial moved to a neutral county or have a judge from a neutral county come to hear the case. San Jose’s complaint letter originally stated that Santa Clara County would be suitable under Code of Civil Procedure section 394. However, under section Code of Civil Procedure section 394(a), Santa Clara petitioned to have the case moved.
“With Santa Clara and San Jose being neighboring cities within Santa Clara County, Santa Clara requested to have this matter transferred to a neutral venue, which was granted on Tuesday, October 4. The transfer to San Mateo County will help to avoid any local prejudices and biases,” said Santa Clara City Attorney’s office
In its letter, Santa Clara originally suggested Alameda County or San Francisco County instead of San Mateo County, since San Jose claimed City Place would affect nearby communities, which can include San Mateo County. However, the court ruled the case will be heard in San Mateo County.
“We were supportive of San Mateo County. I know Santa Clara preferred Alameda County or even San Francisco County but we preferred San Mateo because it’s much closer. We’re happy with that decision,” said Doyle.
Doyle said Santa Clara County would be most impacted by City Place, but San Mateo County is remote enough to be neutral on the case.
The trial date was originally set for October 6, but since the venue changed there is no updated trial date.