Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Darker Side of Rezoning

As you all know there is huge redevelopment project being planned for the land across the street from Santana Row and Valley Fair where the Winchester domes currently sit. Given how hot the area has become, this seems like an ideal spot to turn into a dense mixed-use village, but there is an unfortunate downside to redevelopment here. A mobile home park for senior citizens would likely be destroyed in the process. Please see the letter below that was originally intended for The Mercury News, but they refused to publish.

Also note that the letter below does not reflect my personal opinions about this project, but I think it is important for these citizens to be heard and hopefully there can be some sort of compromise between the developers and these senior citizens living in Winchester Ranch.

Mobile Home Park in Jeopardy

A few days ago Councilman Pete Constant visited the Winchester Ranch Mobile Home Park. We packed our clubhouse because we were all eager to hear what he had to say. Winchester Ranch is a senior mobile home park located in back of the Winchester Mystery House, hugging the Hwy 280 sound wall. It’s a small park, just over 100 homes and about 140 senior residents. The park was created in 1976 by Mark Cali. He meant it to be a safe haven for seniors. Unfortunately Mark is no longer with us. His children own the land now, and collect the monthly rent from us. They have decided to sell it out from under us to a developer (Pulte Homes).  Mark Cali is most likely spinning in his grave because he wanted the park to be here long after he died.

In case you haven’t heard, San Jose planners are working on a huge redevelopment that they are calling an Urban Village, to be located across the street from Santana Row. The Century theaters and Flames will be plowed under as well as any other businesses and adjacent land that the developers can get their hands on.

When the city planners first considered which property would be part of the redevelopment, our mobile home park was left out. Their first instinct was to leave us alone. When our owners, the Cali family, heard that they contacted the planners and asked that the park be placed on the redevelopment grid.

There is one stumbling block to the sale of our property to the developer. Our land is zoned for use as a senior mobile home park. Winchester Ranch’s only hope for survival is if the city of San Jose does not change the zoning. Pete Constant’s spiel was informative but not encouraging to us. He explained that the city has many things to think about. One of the things that the city should think about is fact that there is very little “affordable” housing for seniors. We will be in very difficult straits if we lose our homes.

Seniors prefer to live independently, but close to our friends and family. If you drive through Winchester Ranch you will find a very well-maintained park. We all own our homes and we all work hard to keep our little park looking its very best. We are a well-established community, we are good neighbors, and we help each other. We want to remain here in our homes. At this point it’s up to the city of San Jose to do nothing! If they don’t change the zoning we have a very good chance of keeping our homes for a long time.

71 comments:

  1. So what is your opinion? We should all support these tax paying residents!

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  2. Meh, good riddance. If we preserved every trailer park we'd look like Alabama.

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    1. Not a trailer Park, a mobile Home Park. It is obvious from your ignorant comment that you have never visited one. These homes looked better than any condo/townhouse that I have seen. We even have yards which none of them have.

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    2. We are not just any park, ours is unique in many ways. Come and drive through our Ranch, Mr/Ms.Anonymous! And, where shall we go? Most of us have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in renovation and repair to keep our homes outstanding the way they were when the Ranch was first developed. It is part of the agreement we sign when new purchasers come into the Ranch. These are our retirement homes, the only affordable senior housing in the Bay Area. Go to our website for the history of the area and what is going on with the developers, city councilmen and what is really planned for San Jose. WRSHOA.ORG.

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    3. A concerned citizenOctober 21, 2013 at 1:53 PM

      Winchester Ranch is NOT a "Trailer Park"! These are manufactured homes and cannot be moved. Don't make judgments on a place you have not seen. Your prejudices are showing. Where will YOU live when you retire? Any not be at the mercy of politicians.

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    4. Shit happens. Sorry. Cities have to be able to do this stuff if it benefits more than it hurts.

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    5. Manufactured homes are designed to be moved, IDK what you're talking about.

      According to federal requirements, "manufactured homes are built as dwelling units of at least 320 square feet (30 m2) in size with a permanent chassis to assure the initial and continued transportability of the home."

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    6. Hey Anonymous, maybe you've never heard of a little document called Envision 2040 General Plan that covers specific policies regarding zoning. My advice to these residents: Read this document CAREFULLY and use their own policies against them.

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    7. The resident of the park have been involved in the Urban Village planning process and have voice their opinions and while some are valid, some were NIMBY:

      "All of the participants at Table #1 indicated on their map that they were from the Winchester Ranch Mobile Home Park. The following are comments made by the group during their initial discussion as noted by the facilitator’s:

      -Move the Urban Village Boundary line to exclude the Winchester Ranch mobile home
      park.
      -Preserve the Winchester Ranch mobile home park and do not redevelop it.
      -Keep the Century Theaters.
      -Would like a dog park in the area. Dog walking behind the movie theaters is a good
      thing.
      -Okay with converting the surface parking lot for the theaters into a parking structure. An
      underground parking garage would be good.
      -Improve privacy for existing residents who live adjacent to new commercial construction.
      -Locate a park near the mobile home park.
      -Provide a park that has places for kids to play.
      -Alleviate traffic congestion from commercial businesses for residents. Traffic is
      especially bad seasonally
      - Get rid of Santana Row and Valley Fair. [LOL]
      -The area needs an upscale grocery store
      -The area needs a new senior center with newer and better equipment.
      - The urban Village boundary should be expanded down Winchester Boulevard south of
      Highway 280.
      -Provide better transit resources.
      -Put a pedestrian bridge over Winchester Boulevard into Santana Row."

      ...

      "All of the participants at Table #2 indicated on their map that they were from the Winchester Ranch Mobile Home Park. The following are comments made by the group during their initial discussion as noted by the facilitators:

      -Make the area more like Willow Glen; more trees; single-story; family orientation.
      -No multi-story buildings next to single-family homes.
      -No multi-story buildings at all.
      -No offices. There are already unoccupied offices in San Jose.
      -We need an upgraded grocery store.
      -Traffic is a concern."

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    8. Embarrassing opinion... please drive through it, hardly Alabama. Until Santana Row was developed these 16 acres were on NO ONES Radar! It's only greed and moronic opinions like this that are endangering these tax paying citizens. This style of home may not be for the majority of us but that does not give the city the right to displace these people. For the record I knew someone who lived there in the late 70's and 80's, a decorated WW2 Veteran... hardly the kind of person who should b e thrown out of their home.

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Thanks Chris, I sat up and read about Envision 2040 last night. On almost every page two word were used sprawl and affordable housing. I think that we fit right into the plan. We do not sprawl. This park has remained the same for almost 40 years. It is affordable housing in a city were the need is huge. We are sustainable. We grow organic fruit/veggies and share with our neighbors. Perhaps we are a Urban Village already and should not be changed to line Pulte Arioto/Cali LLC with more money. They do not want to run it, sell it to us and we will continue as our own Urban Village.

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    2. Is this a serious answer? I think you don't quite understand the definition of an Urban Village. Here's how the city defines it:

      "Urban Villages: active, walkable, bicycle-friendly, transit-oriented, mixed-use urban settings for new housing and job growth attractive to an innovative workforce and consistent with the plan's environmental goals. Urban villages will enable location of commercial and public services in close proximity to residential and employee populations, allowing people to walk to services while also providing greater mobility for the expanding senior and youth segments of the population. The urban villages strategy fosters:

      -Mixing residential and employment activities
      -Establishing minimum densities to support transit use, bicycling, and walking
      -High-quality urban design
      -Revitalizing underutilized properties with access to existing infrastructure"

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  4. I'd like the land redeveloped, but would like to see it rezoned to the right use. I'd hate to see Pulte build another Vicino type development full of townhomes. I could see a luxury midrise residential building going up here as it's right next to the 280 and wouldn't look too out of place with the nearby neighborhood. I think it would blend in nicely with the other taller office buildings on Tisch Way.

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  5. Sad and horrible-- that area is so congested now, do we really need more "Santana Row" right across the street from Santana Row?-- Find other areas to develop-- there are plenty. Or leave these poor people alone, and work your development on the existing domes property WHILE ALSO preserving at least the Century 21 dome...

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  6. I'm sure they'll get compensated for their move. No big deal, IMO.

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    1. When you invest $200k in the purchase of your retirement home and someone comes along and says, nope, you can no longer stay here because we (the city) have big plans, but you'll be compensated maybe $50k, would you like that deal? And, it is a VERY BIG DEAL!!!

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    2. WINCHESTER RANCH SENIOR MOBIL HOME PARK
      I HAVE LIVED HERE SINCE 1976 WHEN THE PARK FIRST FIRST OPENED, IT IS A BEAUTIFUL AND VERY DIFFERENT PARK YOU ARE CLOSE TO GROCERY STORES, DRUG STORES, DR'S, HOSPITALS, FREEWAY, YET YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE IN THE COUNTRY WE ARE RIGHT BEHIND THE WINCHESTER MISTER HOUSE. WE ARE NOT RIGHT ON TOP OF EACH OTHER. MARK AND BARBARA CALI REALLY PUT A LOT OF THOUGHT INTO PUTTING THIS PARK TOGETHER, OUR CLUB HOUSE IS BUILT ON THE SPOT WHERE THE CARE TAKER HOUSE FOR THE MYSTERY HOUSE WAS THE LAND WAS PART OF THE CALI FAMILY RANCH THEY WORKED THE LAND FOR MANY YEARS AND MADE A LIVING FROM THE LAND. MARK AND BARBARA NEVER HAD ANY PLANS FOR SELLING THIS LAND. WHEN I FIRST MOVED IN I EVEN ASKED MARK IF I COULD BUY MY SPACE HE JUST LAUGHED AND SAID THE LAND WAS NOT FOR SALE. I EVEN KEPT
      MY HOUSE FOR 15 YEARS IN CASE I WANTED TO MOVE BACK. WELL NEEDLESS TO SAY I LOVE IT HERE. I AM ON A FIXED INCOME NOW AND CAN NOT MOVE EV EN IF I WANTED TO. NOW THE CHILDREN HAVE DECIDED THEY WANT MONEY AND WE ARE EXPENDABLE. WE WERE NOT EVEN GIVEN A CHANCE TO BUY THE PROPERTY AT A FAIR MARKET PRICE. BARBARA AND HER DEAR SISTER STILL LIVE HERE. IT IS VERY SAD WHAT THE THOUGHT OF A LOT OF MONEY CAN DO TO YOUNG PEOPLE IT BRAKES MY HEART. WE ARE ASKING FOR THE CITY NOT TO CHANGE THE ZONING AND GIVE US A CHANCE TO BUY THE PROPERTY AT A FAIR MARKET PRICE WE ARE NOT ASKING FOR ANY THING UNFAIR OR A HAND OUT WE MAY BE OLD BUT WE ONLY WANT WHAT IS RIGHT. IF YOU HAVE NEVER SEEN OUR PARK I WOULD BE GLAD TO TAKE YOU ON A TOUR ANY TIME DAVE THANK YOU FOR HEARING ME OUT

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    3. Maybe your HOA should have been on-top of CA laws? Before the owners of the park entered into a listing agreement or offered the land for sale, the HOA would have been notified (unless they didn't meet the requirement as stipulated by section 798.80 of the law) and the association should have said that they were interested in buying. Looks like it didn't happen and now your chance went away.

      Here the link if you want to read-up:
      2013 California Mobilehome Residency Law

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    4. Our HOA was instituted just this past March when we found out by accident that the young owners were selling the property. Right now, the only purpose of the HOA is to do whatever is necessary to keep the land zoned as it is, a mobile home park. Most MHPs don't have HOAs, never needed them.

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    5. Therein lies your problem. You didn't have a resident organization in place and therefore the owners weren't required to comply with notification. If you wanted to buy the park, the organization had to exist and its leadership information updated at the time of listing or offer.

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    6. I agree that there should have been an HOA in place long before this, but it wasn't needed because of what was established long ago. We weren't required to be informed because we don't own the land. That is moot. The original owner never, ever had intentions of selling the property, even to the residents when they tried years ago. You're looking at a generation where what was said was trusted (but not by everyone). Now, we are dealing with a younger generation that only cares for the gold in their pocket and nothing is trusted. Their own grandmother lives in the park and is against them selling, but eventually she will be provided for.

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  7. How will they be compensated? They dont own the land. They will be forced to move, and dont have good options nearby. I dont know the right thing to do but at least we should have compassion.

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    1. Think of it like this, if your parents bought a retirement (affordable) home and were living a nice quiet life and someone came up and said, selling the land, their investment is worth zip now. All of their money is in their home which they have made livable for their particular lifestyle and it can't be moved. They don't work any longer and don't have money to spare. What happens to them. Folks this is SAN JOSE AFFORDABLE HOUSING. Where do they go? So called retirement homes are so expensive that you cannot live there unless you have a LARGE retirement benefit. Most don't. Do we put them in a little box and say thanks for all of your years of work but now you are throw away. We no longer care because you are not part of the work base. You served your country and grew old so you don't need nice things. The right thing to do is take care of your elderly. Someone said we will be judged on how we treated our young and our elderly.

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  8. "No big deal" meaning, "Hey, my folks don't live there!"
    Acting in the best interest of the city, the city council should say nyet to the rezoning. If the development needs more room, expand it elsewhere.

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    1. The problem is that the city is already built up. "Elsewhere" just means another person or group of people is going to be affected.

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    2. Sj has tons of empty square footage both residential and commercial downtown. Fix the problems with living downtown and everyone wins.

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    3. The problem with downtown is that nobody (a minuscule amount %-wise) lives there, it's a "chicken or the egg" situation. The mass exodus to suburbia in the late-50's to 70's killed the residential population along with the associated services (retail, restaurants, etc) and in the late-80's-early 2000's tech companies chose to located themselves in low-slung office parks in North San Jose and the like.

      We are just now seeing people (and some businesses) move back in to downtown in any kind of decent numbers.

      How about all of the resident of the mobile home park move to downtown or Japantown, there are new senior housing projects in the works in both areas. Its easy to point somewhere else and say "move there", why don't you take your own advice?

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    4. I do not choose to live in an apartment. I worked for most of my life here, paid taxes, so you could go toms hool and become opinionated, did lots of community servce, have you, we all garden here and share our produce, do you, we help our neighbors get to doctors, grocery, or wherever they nee, do you. Before youmtake me to task my young friend, walk a mile in my shoes.

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  9. When I retire, I'll purchase a mobile home in the middle of Silicon Valley.

    How could anything possibly go wrong?

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  10. To build more residential, commercial and retail in an area that is already so congested with traffic and pedestrians has clearly not been thoroughly thought out, that or the city doesn't care about their people, only the taxes and revenue it'll bring in. There is the potential of the City to open up Olsen Drive making the neighborhoods behind us a thorough-fare for more traffic. And, who wants high rise buildings in their back yards? The neighborhood now is tranquil and unique--development would destroy all of that. The kids in those neighborhoods will have a lot of traffic to deal with. I know they will not want that for their neighborhoods.

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    1. Then simple question: Where do you build new housing?

      Silicon valley has one of the tightest housing markets in the country, and without new housing being built, the affordability situation, the one both you and I see as a problem, will continue to get worse

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    2. That was actually a question directed at you, as you appear to be one of the park residents opposed to this project. Again, where would YOU like to see the housing built, due to the circumstances we agree on, I think we both understand that "somewhere else" is no longer an acceptable answer.

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    3. I answered this last night, and it didn't publish. It was too long to remember what I typed. I'll answer you again, later. I'm just about to leave work, and it is 4 miles from my home, the mobile home community that I live in.

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  11. By compensated I mean they'll give them money to find a new space to put their home. Its not like there aren't mobile home parks elsewhere in SJ and Santa Clara County.

    There's a similar situation in Palo Alto: http://blogs.kqed.org/newsfix/2013/07/29/palo-alto-mobile-homes

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    1. CA law says these manufactured homes cannot be moved (they're too old) and there are no available spaces to move them to, if they could be moved. If you like packed people, more congestion and are able to use the current mass transit system City Hall keeps talking about - and you believe that it exists or will exist in the near (40 yrs) future, have at it.

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    2. The homes at Winchester Ranch ARE NOT movable. They are made of wood, not metal and they will disintegrate if they move them. The homes have been set in place for 40 years. The other mobile home parks will eventually have the same problem as us down the not-too-distant line. If what happens to use is successful, ALL mobile home parks will be in jeopardy. San Jose is planning to urbanize "villages" like Santana Row, so that everyone can work, live, walk, and patronize under their new high-rise condo. The park in Palo Alto is not the same. Those were rentals (most of them) and are made of metal and they lost because of that. They were low-income residents to. The developer determines what the compensation will be and that will be virtually nothing in comparison with what the residences of Winchester Ranch have invested in.

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    3. All I hear is "Woe is Me!", you [the owners/residents] know what you bought into and if you didn't have to foresight to think this would happen (since you are renting the land) then it is all on you.

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    4. Regarding the assertion that there are no available spaces to move to, that's just flat-out wrong, a quick search turned up all of these available spaces: http://www.mhvillage.com/Communities/ParksWithVacantSites.php?City=San%20Jose&State=CA

      That's just in SJ, I'm sure there's tons elsewhere.

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    5. FYWIM--Mr Anonymous! Who are you anyway? 20-30 something? A politician? Or, just some ignorant hick? I know, you're a republican. Before you start spouting off, you need to know the circumstances, otherwise you're talking out the side of your mouth. Actually, I'm suing the property owner's; they knew 6 months before I bought that they were selling the property. IMO...

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    6. Wow, very immature for a "senior". Ad-hominem attacks aren't get you very far as far as this issue concerned. FYI, you bought the home which just happens to be on rented property. Unless your house came with a long-term ground lease then you knew the risks. Even then, there should be a provision dealing with the possible sale of the property.

      If you are suing, all you'll end up with if you win is a settlement and you'll still have to move.

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    7. Do you really think we have not look at other parks. Guess what most are in the proposed urban villages or right next to the waiting to br gobbled up. Right now we are hostages, we cannot move, would you buy my home? We cannot afford to do anything until we get the money out of our homes..
      How fair the developer will be will determine our fate.

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    8. The point is that you the [owners/residents] bought the homes knowing that there was always the possibility that the land the park is on would be sold.

      According to the CA Mobilehome Residency Law you had the opportunity (as an HOA) to purchase the park and convert it to a condominium or co-op. Was that never an option?

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    9. Never, owner wanted the big money from a Developer and would not even entertain the idea.

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    10. Raise the bid to beat or match. Simple.

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  12. All I hear/see in these comments is NIMBY.

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    1. How about your back yard, then?

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  13. Florida. You'll all be very happy there.

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    1. A RED state, with bugs and hicks and laws that are so antiquated. You move there, its your suggestion.

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    2. I don't have to move. I'm not living on someone else's land. Try to keep up.

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    3. Sure you are. You are leasing from the property owner.

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    4. Florida went Obama, for the record.

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  14. "All I hear is "Woe is Me!", you [the owners/residents] know what you bought into and if you didn't have to foresight to think this would happen (since you are renting the land) then it is all on you."

    Checkmate. Game over. Next time, buy instead of renting.

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  15. There is another option: the Winchester Ranch HOA can buy the land itself, instead of a developer.

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  16. Now there's your Prop 13 @work. Simple property tax look up on several of these mobile homes shows "whopping" amounts of $600-$1100 per year on average. WTF?!? Mine was $7200 last year. HELP? ANYONE?

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    1. Now who is whinning.?

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  17. I live over in the Forest neighborhood on the other side of Stevens Creek, off of Winchester. We already have so much traffic from the mall, Santana Row, and three freeway ramps. It's so incredibly difficult to get through that area in the mornings, evenings and weekends, that I sometimes I have to leave 20 minutes earlier than I would if going someplace mid-day. The immediate area simply can't withstand another mixed-use project.

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    1. What do you think of Santana Row's upcoming new office buildings (there will be three of them)?

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    2. Oh, and BTW, I work with a mostly low-income population in the area of housing law. There is a dearth of affordable housing in Santa Clara County. Almost every single affordable housing project has a mile long waiting list, and it's getting worse with the Section 8 cuts caused by the sequester. These people are also being forced to move, and the demand is severely outpacing the supply. To throw these seniors out into this market would be cruel, and many of them would not be able to stay in SV. The proposed mixed-use project is just got to exacerbate the problem. It not only would remove an affordable housing opportunity, but it would likely push more affordable housing out of the area (gentrification pushes out poor people, no?).

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    3. @Anonymous -- hate hate hate. I work in Gilroy 2-3 days a week, and use the on/off-ramps right there. I can only imagine how much worse those buildings will make it.

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  18. Wow Josh! The most comments I've ever seen on a single topic at this site. My opinion: progress. My family in the early 1970's lost our 1920's ESJ cottage because of I-680 (Sal Si Puedes Barrio). In the end I'm all for progress.
    Hey, Apigee moving from Palo Alto to DSJ! Good day indeed..

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    1. Exactly. We are planning and building for the future. SJ must employ smart growth strategies and identify growth areas which will absorb new jobs and residents. If situations like this arise, then so be it (as long as there is fair compensation).

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    2. Some how i am having trouble with your tterm smart growth. Pulte is the developer, he builds luxury homes. How does this equate to smart growth. Nohing about this is smart. Sj has no affordable housing available and a very long list. You will have 150 seniors out of a home.
      So call me dense but i dont see smart anywhere do you.

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    3. Not property specific, talking about Urban Villages and the city's vision 2040.

      As far as housing costs: as supply overtakes demand, we will see housing costs go down. Right now, people are paying exorbitant amount due to low inventory and lots of people moving in to Santa Clara county.

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  19. Pete Constant is commenting here under an "Anonymous" screen name. Any comments you see in favor of relocation and continued urban development come directly from his office or the office of his minion Shane Patrick Connoly. Pete is going to try to become director of the SJ Chamber of Commerce and their main agenda is development dollars in the form of concentrated urban development. Look up San Jose SPUR and you will see the money players behind this effort.

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    1. Where do I send the tin-foil hat?

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  20. For those wondering, here is the section of the City Zoning Ordinance that applies to mobilehome park conversions and relocation of residents:

    "20.180.630 Relocation and purchase assistance.

    Without limiting the generality of the provisions relating to conditions which may be imposed upon a development permit under Chapter 20.100 of this title, the director, planning commission or the city council shall make any conditional use permit or planned development permit which may be granted under this chapter for mobilehome park conversion of use subject to a condition requiring a plan of relocation and purchase assistance for mobilehome owners and mobilehome tenants within the proposed project.

    Such a plan may include the following:
    1. Information to be provided to each mobilehome owner within the proposed project:
    a. A list of known available mobilehome lots in Santa Clara, Alameda, Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties, including any written commitments from mobilehome park owners willing to accept displaced mobilehome owners.
    b. Estimates from two moving companies as to the per mile costs of moving mobilehomes of various sizes including, but not limited to, tear down and set up of coaches.
    2. Measures to mitigate the adverse impacts of conversion upon mobilehome owners and mobilehome tenants. Such mitigation measures shall benefit mobilehome owners and mobilehome tenants of the mobilehome park from the date the application for the conditional use permit or planned development permit for the proposed conversion project is filed with the city, or from the date on which notices to vacate are mailed to mobilehome owners and mobilehome tenants, whichever is earlier. Mitigation measures may include but are not limited to:
    a. Moving expenses for furniture and personal belongings to a new residence in Santa Clara, Alameda, Santa Cruz or San Mateo County.
    b. Provision for payment of any or all portions of the cost of physically moving a mobilehome to a new site in Santa Clara, Alameda, Santa Cruz or San Mateo County, including, but not limited to, tear down and set up.
    c. For those who move to a multiple or a two-family dwelling, provision of a rent subsidy for up to twenty-four months. Rent shall not exceed the fair market rent for new construction and substantial rehabilitation for the Santa Clara County area as established by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. "Rent subsidy" is the difference between the rent of the multiple or two-family dwelling and the rent of the mobilehome space or mobilehome on the date of the notice to convert.
    d. Payment of the difference of rent between the old and new mobilehome park spaces for up to twenty-four months.
    e. Purchase of the mobilehome at its in-place value, as determined by a tested, certified, and designated member of a nationally recognized appraisal association. In-place value includes the value of any accessory structures whose installation has been approved by mobilehome park management, such as a porch or a carport. The appraisal is to be made no more than sixty days prior to its submittal.
    f. Extended leases or rental agreements (commencing at the conclusion of the right of continued tenancy period under subsection 3. of Section 20.180.360) for mobilehome owners and mobilehome tenants who are handicapped, and/or aged sixty-two or over, and/or of low income, and/or for mobilehome owners and mobilehome tenants with minor children. No mobilehome owner or mobilehome tenant covered by any such extended lease or rental agreement shall be unjustly evicted. "Extended lease or rental agreement" is a lease or rental agreement whose expiration date is extended at least ninety days."

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  21. Barbara Cali built the place along with her Husband Mark. They are great friends of mine and they deserve to do whatever they want with it. If Barbara Cali says it stays...THEN IT STAYS as far as I am concerned! Barabara Cali is one of the most AWESOME persons that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing and her and her husband Mark were always there for my Dad and we were always the best of friends! I hope she gets to stay there till she is 100 ! :) Love ya Barabara! Doug Schroedel...Schroedel Surfboards, Santa Cruz Ca.

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  22. I know I'm a bit late, but I'd like to weigh in...

    1) Despite what laws and regulations say, common sense would dictate that "Smart" development would entail preservation of low/fixed income housing - both for people who are displaced, and for people who aren't corporate executives (not all of us work in top-floor corner offices making heaps of money - some of us actually enjoy doing something productive, instead. Fixing things, or building things.)

    2) As mentioned, there is a dearth of genuinely "affordable" housing as such in Santa Clara County. Sure, there's housing going up all over - but I don't see prices coming down at all, do any of you? (By that, I mean a SERIOUS decline in pricing. As in, bring it down by an order of magnitude, to get it back to reality. Won't happen, tho - property owners don't want to lose value in their investments - infestments? - and the City won't allow it because it would cost them property tax revenues, to which they are wholly addicted.)

    3) What's the fixation on "European-style" living, anyhow? I've been to Europe, I like here better. Why are we trying to turn the United States into Europe? This ain't Europe, never has been. If you want "European-style living" so badly, then please move to Europe and leave the United States the way it's been.

    It seems to me that, with all of this "Sustainable Development," these "Urban Villages," and all of the "bicycle/pedestrian/transit-friendly" development being put into play, traffic only gets worse. Property values continue to climb (in general) for no good reason, air quality continues to decline (see comment on traffic, q.v.,) and all it's going to do is either displace people without the ability to find somewhere new (contributing to the homeless problem - "The Jungle," in San Jose, anyone?) or displace people entirely from the area.

    The catch to that last bit? The people who get displaced are going to be the ones who make things, fix things, and do things - people like me, who finally decide we've had enough and look for somewhere more affordable.

    And believe me - when we leave, we'll be leaving California behind! I'll have been here for 25 years this coming May, and I don't like the direction this place has been taking...

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