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Santa Clara’s CEQA Concerns for San Jose’s Steven Creek Project

A large scale mixed-use project in San Jose is making its way through the planning process for a 10-acre site at 4300 Stevens Creek Blvd. The project is located within San Jose’s Stevens Creek Urban Village Plan and seeks to provide jobs and housing, including affordable housing, in a multi-modal transportation area.

Developer FortBay proposes two, eight-story residential buildings containing 582 housing units, a six-story 300,000 square-foot office building,15,000 square feet of retail and a five-level parking garage.

According to City of San Jose Planning Project Manager, Tracy Tam, the project has been under review for over two years now. The circulation period for the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) recently ended and there’s an upcoming public hearing phase. The project is expected to go before the San Jose Planning Commission on Jan. 16, 2019, followed by a City Council meeting on Feb. 26, 2019.

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In response to the EIR, the City of Santa Clara sent two letters, one in February and another in October, with comments on the environmental review document. So far Santa Clara planners haven’t heard back, however Tam said that responses to comments should be posted prior to the Jan. 16 meeting.

The plans include a mid-block crosswalk spanning Stevens Creek Boulevard, a landscaped median island and bulb-outs (also known as curb extensions) that Santa Clara claims will impact properties on its side of the border.

“The northern portion of Stevens Creek Boulevard is located within the City of Santa Clara’s jurisdiction and will require our approval which has not been obtained,” the October letter stated. “The median island will also limit access and circulation to properties on the north side of Stevens Creek. Consequently, the City does not support the installation of the median island in the City of Santa Clara as described above and this improvement should be removed from the project description.”

Other comments concerning traffic impacts point out that the project should contribute “fairshare” funding to the County for the eight-lane widening of the San Tomas Expressway at both Saratoga Avenue and Stevens Creek Boulevard due to impacts at those intersections.

According to the EIR, the project is eligible for a 20 percent reduced parking requirement due to being within the Stevens Creek Urban Village area, however comments from Santa Clara point out a potential for parking shortages to result in adjacent residential areas along Stevens Creek Boulevard, possibly affecting businesses in Santa Clara.

Both the February and October letters mention potential aesthetic impacts from the project and request that additional analysis be done. The February letter identified a discrepancy in number of stories for the two residential towers as stated in the EIR document and calls for a precise description of the buildings heights and any impacts that may result from shadows cast on surrounding properties.

“The 120-foot height limit allowed under the Urban Village Plan represents a marked contrast with the existing one- and two-story buildings on the site, and the visual impact this proposed development with buildings up to 8-stories in height will have on uses located directly across the street in Santa Clara must be analyzed,” planners remarked in the February letter.

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2 Comments
  1. SC Resident 5 months ago
    Reply

    Calling the project “multi-modal” in transportation is a definitely a public relations move by San Jose and the developer. The ONLY means of transportation is the already over-crowded 280, San Thomas and Lawrence Expressways. VTA buses don’t count, and there is no fixed mass transit nearby.

    I’m glad to see the city of Santa Clara looking out for the interests of its residents and businesses. The article mentions plans being made for two years – yet unfortunately San Jose, led by District 1 city councilman Chappie Jones and Mayor Sam Liccardo, has taken an arrogant attitude and had no meaningful engagement with our city leaders to “right size” this project and address concerns. I’ve watched as the project has gotten bigger, taller and denser, with insufficient consideration for impacts on traffic, parkland, parking, and schools. Community “engagement” was outsourced to Kathy Thibodeaux (http://kmthibodeaux.com/), who’s website openly states that she helps overcome “Neighborhood and special interest opposition and local government resistance” (at the detriment of local residents). They plan to leverage using Santa Clara’s parks, sewage lines, schools, roads and likely emergency services, and even planned bike lanes in our jurisdiction.

  2. SC Resident 4 months ago
    Reply

    Well, as expected, it was approved unanimously by San Jose Planning Commission. Now it goes to San Jose City Council, who will probably also disrespect Santa Clara and ignore our community’s concerns.

    Just keep these folks in mind, and don’t vote for them if they decide to run for county-wide government as ask for our support.

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