San Jose City Council considers rezoning for flea market

Bay Area

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) – The San Jose City Council is still meeting Tuesday night slated to vote on whether or not to rezone the land, which is currently the site of the San Jose flea market near the Berryessa BART Station.

The rezoning plans would close a majority of the flea market — where 400 plus vendors work and replace it with tech offices, housing, and more.

Some of the vendors have been on a hunger strike since Monday urging the city council to reconsider its plan.

“We slept here. We haven’t ate. We’re doing a hunger strike. No eating, no nothing. We been here through yesterday,” Kaled Escobedo said.

Kaled Escobedo is one of many outside of San Jose City Hall Tuesday night, camping out and refusing food in hopes that city council will defer its vote on rezoning the land that currently holds the San Jose Flea Market.

Escobedo is part of the Berryessa Flea Market Vendors Association, representing more than 400 vendors who depend on this market for a living.

If it were to close a majority of its space, she says it would have a detrimental impact on many families.

“Most of our vendors are immigrants and of the third age meaning, many of them will not be able to find another position, another job. The community is very upset as well. The flea market is a place where you can find multicultural things. It’s a whole new community in there,” Escobedo said.

If San Jose City Council moves forward with its rezoning plans, two-thirds of the market would close and be replaced with retail spaces, tech offices, and apartments.

Currently, the market sits on 20 acres of land but the proposal cuts the flea market space to just five acres, something community members and some county leaders are upset about.

“It’s our home. It’s literally a cultural center for the South Bay. Really Northern California. People come from all over Northern California to come visit the flea market. You know many of us grew up going to this flea market,” resident Peter Ortiz said.

The Berryessa Flea Market Vendors Association is now asking for a 90-day delay in the city council’s decision and a seat at the table in what will happen next to this land.

“We want to negotiate the space, the economic relief plan they put out as well as security for vendors to ensure that vendors will be in the urban village,” Escobedo said.

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