Preserve or develop? San Jose to decide future of Coyote Valley

Some landowners already under contract to sell farmland to industrial developer

San Francisco /
Nov.November 15, 2021 09:34 AM
Preserve or develop? San Jose to decide future of Coyote Valley
Coyote Valley, with Chuck Reed and Andrea Mackenzie (Discover Coyote Valley, Hopkins & Carley, and Open Space Authority)

The future of the Coyote Valley will soon be decided.

San Jose city leaders will weigh in on a series of decisions about the valley on Nov. 16, the Mercury News reported. The main issue: Whether to protect 314 remaining acres of developable land in the northern part of the valley or to proceed with plans in place for decades to build an industrial complex.

Andrea Mackenzie, general manager for the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority, told Mercury News the vote “will put the period at the end of the sentence for the massive public investment that’s gone into conserving Coyote Valley over the last two years.”

Developer Crow Holdings Industrial has already submitted preliminary plans to build two warehouses that would span the length of more than six football fields. Multiple property owners in Coyote Valley are already under contract to sell farmland to Crow.

If the city votes to preserve the land, it will likely begin a lengthy legal battle between the city and property owners.

The proposed industrial park would be built at 8820 Santa Teresa Boulevard and would replace 126 acres of mostly vacant farmland. A popular South Bay attraction, Spina Farms Pumpkin Patch and fruit stand, would also be replaced by the new development.

Lawyers for the property owners say that if the city votes to rezone the land, it would be unconstitutional because it would leave them without “economically beneficial or productive use” of their properties. They even submitted a report to the city declaring that agriculture wouldn’t be an economically viable option.

“The council certainly has the power to implement a vision for open space in Coyote Valley, but what they can’t do is use their zoning power to jam it down the property owners in a way that makes them sell their land for below market value,” former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, one of the attorneys representing the property owners, told the Mercury News. “If you really want to protect the open space, you need to do more than pass a resolution. You need to buy the land or the development rights.”

[Mercury] — Victoria Pruitt 





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