State officials call on City of San Jose to protect Coyote Valley

Bay Area

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — State leaders are calling for the preservation of Coyote Valley, located at the southern end of San Jose, an open space marked by development since the 1960s.

On Tuesday, the San Jose City Council will decide on the future of the Coyote Valley that could make way for a potential new industrial park.

The vote has drawn attention from Senator Dave Cortese — calling on the City to preserve Coyote Valley as farmland and open space.

Senator Cortese has long been an advocate in preserving the valley — serving as the co-chair of the Santa Clara Valley Agricultural Plan Task Force, which resulted in the County’s Santa Clara Valley Agricultural Plan, a comprehensive plan to invest in working lands for regional resilience in the face of climate change.

The former San Jose Vice Mayor sent a letter to Mayor Sam Liccardo and City Councilmembers on Nov. 14 to explain how Coyote Valley is key to fighting climate change — the land absorbs carbon emissions, protects the surrounding community from flooding, and other extreme weather conditions.

“As co-chair of the Santa Clara Valley Agricultural Plan Task Force, I know that Coyote Valley can play an important role in addressing future food security while contributing to a robust local agricultural economy,” said Cortese.

“The City Council recently approved a resolution to become carbon neutral by 2030. Protection of our natural and working lands is necessary to ensure we reach this goal of carbon neutrality.”

Another former San Jose leader sounding the alarm to protect Coyote Valley is Assemblymember Ash Kalra.

Through state legislation, Assemblymember Kalra established the Coyote Valley Conservation Program in 2019 and designated the land as an “area of statewide significance.”

Kalra has also raised concerns over potential future development on what he calls “an already diminishing wildlife habitat” and warns that if the wrong decision is made, the damage to the environment cannot be undone.

“I have long fought to protect Coyote Valley against efforts to pave it over for more sprawl and warehouses, counter to smart growth and environmental protection,” said Kalra.

I am disappointed the Planning Commission does not recognize that San Jose residents deserve better than these polluting and destructive proposals,” Kalra added.

“We have the opportunity to protect one of the few remaining open spaces that will help us fight climate change, maintain wildlife habitats, and protect groundwater, and I urge the City Council to not fail future generations.”

San Jose’s Coyote Valley is the last remaining open valley floor in the Bay Area for wildlife to migrate between the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Diablo Range.

Advocates say Coyote Valley also helps reduce flooding by allowing storm water to fan out over the valley floor instead of causing flooding to surrounding neighborhoods — which proved to be pivotal in the 2017 floods.

Proposed plans for Coyote Valley

At Tuesday’s council meeting, city leaders will vote on a series of initiatives set to shape the future of the valley.

Among those decisions are whether or not to continue to preserve 314 acres of remaining developable land in North Coyote as agricultural land or transform the area into an employment hub where industrial warehouses and distribution centers could create 5,500 jobs.

Courtesy: City of San Jose.

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