Ask Planning Commissioners to Oppose New Coyote Valley Development

On Wednesday, June 8, the San Jose Planning Commission will consider whether to approve a 5,900 square foot residence on environmentally sensitive, undeveloped land at the north end of Coyote Valley. The location includes an old canal that offers one of only two safe spots for wildlife to cross Santa Teresa Boulevard. Please tell the Planning Commissioners not to approve the project based on the clearly insufficient environmental review, and ask them to explore conservation-based alternatives to development.

What’s Happening

A very large residence and driveway are proposed on a 17-acre property on Santa Teresa ridge at the southern edge of San Jose, along the Coyote-Alamitos Canal. The property is a designated Critical Habitat for the threatened Bay checkerspot butterfly, and identified as a critical linkage for acquisition by the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Plan. Biological consultants at Pathways for Wildlife identified the property as a crucial wildlife crossing site where mountain lions, badgers, deer, and other species can safely cross Santa Teresa Blvd.

Science shows clearly that a house and its associated activities, noise, lighting, and driveway on that wildlife linkage area will have a significant impact on wildlife movement.

Unfortunately, the City of San Jose has not conducted a thorough environmental review to ensure this impact is taken into consideration. In addition, there is no evidence that the City attempted any outreach or consultation with the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe, which should have been consulted on a project near the culturally important Coyote Creek and Laguna Seca area.

Why It’s Important

Coyote Valley is a critical area for wildlife movement and it is one of the primary reasons the City Council voted to keep the area rural. Approving a mega-mansion that affects wildlife movement is counter to that decision.

Pathways for Wildlife, the research consultants used by the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Agency and the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority to study wildlife movement in and around Coyote Valley, has examined this project. The consultants identified this very specific site as critical for the wildlife linkage between the large habitats of the Diablo Range and Santa Cruz Mountains needed to maintain genetic diversity of the wildlife populations. For example, studies show that the existence of mountain lions in the Santa Cruz Mountains is already threatened by health issues due to inbreeding.

While this individual parcel is only 17 acres, it is at a “pinch point” between two mountain ranges and is one of only two spots where animals can safely travel under Santa Teresa Boulevard using the culvert of the Coyote Alamitos Canal. Surrounding that area with development forces animals away from that pinch point to where they can be killed by speeding cars.

What You Can Do

Please email the Planning Commissioners and tell them not to approve the project based on the clearly insufficient environmental review, and call for the land to be conserved instead!

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