San Jose residents sue city to prevent golf project from moving forward

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A group of residents in the town of Alviso is suing the City of San Jose to stop a controversial golf-entertainment project from moving in. The residents said the project is too big and claim the city didn't adequately address environmental concerns.

A new TopGolf in Alviso could be a first for the Bay Area. The entire project is a sprawling 30-plus acres. However, residents contend this grand project is too grand for small town Alviso.

Located in the north end of San Jose, Alviso is a community that prides itself for its small town character.  Some residents are worried that may go away with plans to build an entertainment Vegas-like venue, complete with retail, hotel and a TopGolf.

“It’s going to close at 2 a.m.,” said Mark Espinoza of Alviso. “Our town is basically sleeping at 10 p.m.”
Epsinoza is president of Organizacion Comunidad de Alviso and is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against the City of San Jose and the project's developers, challenging the environmental review.

“I feel this is an environmental injustice for the community,” said Espinoza. “We are primarily a low-income community and we got high-end development here.”

“People don't like to play golf here,” said Ruben Orozco of Alviso. “They are too busy working.”

Orozco is concerned traffic will only get worse as Alviso is used as a shortcut for Highway 237 and all those cars too dangerous since it's across from a youth center, library and school. However, a spokesman for the City of San Jose, said the city is confident the project complies with state law.

“It’s always a bit of a dismay to see people resort to litigation especially when a project has gone through an appropriate process for environmental review,” said David Vossbrink, spokesman for City of San Jose.

Developer Terra Ventures issued to KTVU that read in part, “The suit seeks to raise the same arguments that were soundly rejected during the fully transparent and lengthy review process. We find this challenge to be nothing more than a last ditch attempt at a second bite of the apple.”

Both sides said they're prepared to take the matter to court if necessary.

“My message is somewhere else please,” said Orozco. “Not here in Alviso. Our town is a quiet town and we want to keep it this way.”

The Santa Clara Valley Audobon Society is worried about the safety of burrowing owls as the project could destroy their habitat and netting could endanger birds. The society has filed a separate lawsuit.