Joint letter on environmental impact report of Envision 2040

August 15, 2011

Mr. Andrew Crabtree, Envision Team Leader
Planning, Building and Code Enforcement
San Jose City Hall
200 East Santa Clara Street
San Jose, CA 95113
Dear Mr. Crabtree,

On behalf of Greenbelt Alliance, the Loma-Prieta Chapter of the Sierra Club, San Jose Cool Cities, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Committee for Green Foothills, Working Partnerships, USA, and The Health Trust, we are writing to thank the City of San Jose for this opportunity to comment on the Draft Program Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Envision San Jose 2040 General Plan.

In many ways, this General Plan is a model that focuses on urban villages and corridors, infill development near transit, ambitious mode split targets and improved public health. Our comments below reflect our desire to strengthen Envision 2040 even more and support San Jose on its path to becoming a more sustainable, equitable and healthier City.

Jobs-Housing Ratio

The environmental review acknowledges that significant environmental impacts result from the possibility of a Jobs to Employed Residents Ratio that exceeds 1:1 (see, e.g., Impact PH-1 and Impact TRANS-1, among others). The City has acknowledged that one reason for these impacts is not that it intends and prefers the highest possible J:ER ratio, but that it seeks to maximize the jobs capacity to increase the current J:ER ratio which is significantly below 1:1.

Accordingly, our organizations jointly recommend an additional mitigation: for purposes of avoiding environmental impacts or delaying environmental impacts, the City should require orderly development that prioritizes a J:ER ratio of 1:1 as long as housing is available to match job growth. We recognize that ultimately job growth could exceed housing capacity, but this mitigation would at least postpone the impacts associated with the excess of jobs over housing, and postponing the impacts are feasible means of partially reducing their scale.

Keep reading this comment letter: Joint_letter_on_SJGP_DEIR_Final (PDF).

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