SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - San Jose’s desire to see more housing development is keeping one piece of prime real estate out of developer’s hands. The Coyote Valley has been both a tempting target and an oasis from development.
On Friday, 27th District Assemblyman Ash Kalra took the first step to keep the area pristine.
“I’ve lived here for over 40 years. And I’ve seen this valley paved over and seen Silicon Valley rise up before my eyes. This is one of the few spaces left that has remained open,” said Kalra.
Kalra introduced AB 948, which if passed, creates a formal conservation program for 17,000 acres of land in Coyote Valley, administered by the Santa Clara Valley Open Spaces Authority.
“It’s an amazing confluence of natural resources, wildlife corridor, natural flood plain, and the largest remaining wetland in the South Bay region,” said Andrrea Mackenzie, General Manager for the Santa Clara Valley Open Spaces Authority.
The Coyote Valley has also been a type of fool’s hold for developers eyeing growth and profits. Long time South Bay politicians say some of the largest companies in Silicon Valley have pressured leaders to allow development here.
“We actually had Apple come down here at one time. They wanted to put their headquarters here,” said California 15th District Senator Jim Beall.
The passage of Measure T last Fall in San Jose provides $50M dollars for land acquisition in Coyote Valley, with notable purchases slate for later this year.
Officials say the area could be eligible for additional state funding, pending the bill’s passage. Supporters say protections provide will benefit generations to come
“So to protect our children for the future, and for right now citizens living in San Jose we want their safety, we see the value of this land,” said Linda Hutchins-Knowles, of the non-profit Mothers Out Front South Bay.
The push to preserve Coyote Valley comes at a time when many say the valley is in desperate need of expedited housing construction.
“If we continue to build sprawling housing developments out into open spaces and hillsides, it’s only going to make our traffic worse. And we know that’s not the kind of affordable housing people critically need,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo, (D) San Jose.
This first step is far from the final step for assembly bill 948. It next goes to committee, then must pass the full assembly, then go to the senate and pass that house before going to the governor’s desk for signing.