The battle over a proposed senior homes development in the Evergreen neighborhood of San Jose set to go before voters in June dialed up a notch Tuesday, with Mayor Sam Liccardo proposing his own ballot measure to counter the idea.
The drama over the competing ballot measures is part of a broader ongoing debate about how to fill the need for more affordable housing in San Jose.
Liccardo and other members of the City Council are concerned over the wording of the Evergreen Senior Homes measure, which would turn what is currently zoned as commercial land into residential land. They believe it is currently written in a way that would allow developers to get around the city’s planning process and saddle the city with the costly job of extending city services to the area. Long term, they worry, it would create an opening for other developers to build out Coyote Valley to the south.
“There are developers who are licking their chops knowing it will be open season not just in San Jose but throughout the state for sprawling development that will undermine the environmental and fiscal objectives of cities throughout the state,” Liccardo said during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon.
So the mayor has proposed his own counter measure for the ballot, which he says would “preserve the City’s threatened employment lands” and, crucially, “prevail over all conflicting laws, including the Evergreen Senior Homes initiative measure.”
The move has drawn ire from proponents of the Evergreen development, who say their plan will add badly needed affordable housing. At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, several lawyers for the proposal accused the mayor and Council of developing their counter measure covertly and for circumventing an environmental review.
“This proposal, which was developed in secret with no public notice or input, is illegal,” said Sean Welch, an attorney for the group.
Liccardo and the city’s own attorney hit back at that characterization.
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Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News