San Jose votes to protect portion of Coyote Valley from redevelopment

While preservationists praised the city’s decision, it could lead to a legal battle between the city and a handful of the valley’s landowners

San Francisco /
Nov.November 19, 2021 11:00 AM
Photo of Coyote Valley & San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo (Getty Images, iStock, Illustration by Kevin Cifuentes for The Real Deal)

UPDATED: Nov. 19, 2021, 3:05 p.m.: San Jose chose to protect much of the northern and middle parts of Coyote Valley from industrial development, preserving it as agricultural land and open space but potentially sparking a legal battle in the process.

The City Council this week unanimously voted to block industrial development on about 3,200 acres of valley land. Its decision included rezoning 314 acres of remaining undeveloped property in North Coyote Valley to agricultural from the “industrial park” designation, preserving an area that San Jose originally envisioned as an employment center.

It also rendered prospects of a more-than-2-million square-foot warehouse project rising there null and void, even though a handful of the valley’s landowners were under contract to sell their land to project developer Crow Holdings Industrial prior to the vote, according to the Mercury News.

“Tonight, my Council colleagues joined me in unanimously approving zoning changes to Coyote Valley to protect 314 acres of land from potential industrial development,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said in a Nov. 16 tweet. “The City of San Jose remains committed to safeguarding our most precious resources for future generations,” Liccardo tweeted.

Megan Fluke, executive director of Green Foothills, a nonprofit environmental group, told the Mercury News that the vote represented a “historic milestone.”

“By protecting Coyote Valley, San Jose has taken a landmark step and is setting the standard in the fight against climate change,” Fluke said in a statement to the Mercury News.

The land San Jose chose to preserve as agriculture and open space represents less than half of the 7,400-acre Coyote Valley and has long been targeted as a location for office/industrial campuses. In the 1980s and 1990s, Apple and Cisco reportedly expressed interest in building there but eventually abandoned those plans due to opposition from environmental groups who wanted it to remain as is. Since then, demand for commercial development in the area shifted from office and research uses to warehouse and distribution that focuses on so-called last-mile delivery logistics.

In September, Crow Holdings asked the city for feedback on the permitting required to redevelop 126 of Coyote Valley’s acres into two buildings collectively containing 2.6 million square feet of warehouse space. Attorneys representing a handful of property owners under contract to sell their land to Crow Holdings for its warehouse project told the City Council before its vote that rezoning the land only for agricultural use would be “unconstitutional.” They argued that doing so would leave those landowners with no economically beneficial or productive use of their properties, the Mercury News reported.

“If you want to preserve the properties, then take time to raise the money to acquire the properties for their fair market value,” Edward Burg, an attorney representing landowners under contract with Crow Holdings, said to the City Council. “That way, you can heed the voices that are asking you to do good while also doing right.”

Those landowners and their attorneys are reviewing whether to file a claim against the city of San Jose challenging its Nov. 16 vote, Burg said in a Friday interview.

In response to Burg’s comments and those made by some of the Valley’s landowners before the vote, Mayor Liccardo said there is “no pot of money that the city has to pay everyone what they think their land is worth.”

“We make land-use decisions all the time that diminish the value of land, and we do so within the law and within the constitution,” Liccardo said.

[Mercury News] — Matthew Niksa




    UPDATE: Adds comment from attorney Edward Burg.


    Related Articles

    arrow_forward_ios
    Burbank Theater in San Jose (Loopnet)
    San Jose’s historic Burbank Theater sells to local investor
    San Jose’s historic Burbank Theater sells to local investor
    Carl Guardino, executive vice president, government affairs and policy, Bloomenergy (LoopNet, Bloomenergy)
    Bloom Energy expands lease to fully occupy north San Jose office building
    Bloom Energy expands lease to fully occupy north San Jose office building
    Aerial view of the building Apple bought at 123 Uranium Drive in Sunnyvale and Apple CEO Tim Cook (Google Maps, Getty)
    Apple goes from renter to owner of Sunnyvale building in $44M deal
    Apple goes from renter to owner of Sunnyvale building in $44M deal
    (Google Maps)
    Site near downtown San Jose with redevelopment potential sells for $22M
    Site near downtown San Jose with redevelopment potential sells for $22M
    A rendering of 1212 South Winchester Boulevard and Dr. Adam Askari (Carpira Design Group, Facebook)
    Controversial West San Jose hotel plans shelved
    Controversial West San Jose hotel plans shelved
    Cricket Stadium Proposed For Santa Clara County Fairgrounds (LinkedIn, iStock)
    Cricket stadium proposed for Santa Clara County Fairgrounds
    Cricket stadium proposed for Santa Clara County Fairgrounds
    Procept Biorobotics CEO Reza Zadno and 150-180 Baytech Drive in North San Jose (DivcoWest, PROCEPT BioRobotics)
    Redwood City robotics company leases 158K sf for new San Jose HQ
    Redwood City robotics company leases 158K sf for new San Jose HQ
    San Jose life science conversion play lands first new tenant in a year
    San Jose life science conversion play lands first new tenant in a year
    San Jose life science conversion play lands first new tenant in a year
    arrow_forward_ios

    The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

    Loading...