Study Group on the Coyote Valley
Shall League of Women Voters SJSC revise the Coyote Valley Position?
Coyote Valley Position was originally approved in 2004 (current and proposed position) long before any widespread concern about climate change was commonly discussed and what we could expect in the future if we did nothing. Fast forward to 2018 with new information and emerging trends coming forward on adaptation and resiliency to modify effects of changing weather. League approved revisiting our Coyote Valley Position in light of its potential for storing carbon, providing food and capturing and storing stormwater runoff.
On March 17th League Coyote Valley Study Committee will present findings and make a recommendation of a new Coyote Valley Position (current and proposed position). Additional background reading material has been added to the previous resource list posted with article in February Voter.
BACKGROUND READING MATERIAL
Bay Area Monitor Special Edition, Feb-March, 2018
Santa Clara Valley Agricultural Plan
Sibella Kraus, Sustainable Agriculture Education (SAGE)
Committee for Green Foothills: http://www.protectcoyotevalley.org
Santa Cara Valley Open Space Authority
Mercury News article: 1000-Acres of Coyote Valley - Can the Open Space Authority Really Pull This Off
Study Consensus Meeting
League definition of Consensus: "Substantial member agreement preferably reached through group discussion". Discussion is based on information prepared by a study committee and is guided by consensus questions.
On March 17, a group of League members met at the Rose Garden Library to hear the "pros" and "cons" of updating the current League SJ/SC position on Coyote Valley development.
The members of the Coyote Valley study group presented information both to support and provide potential obstacles to preserving Coyote Valley from future development. The primary change removes our acceptance of the city's General Plan designation for industrial development of the northern portion of the valley.
Coyote Valley is a largely undeveloped 7,400 acres south of San Jose and north of Morgan Hill, a home to various wildlife species, agriculture, water storage, and recreation opportunities.
The question and answer session offered differing points of views to the presenters. The proposed new position for the Coyote Valley is:
The League of Women Voters, at all levels of organization, supports planning through the General Plan process. The LWV San Jose/Santa Clara recognizes that Coyote Valley is a unique resource for sustainability and resiliency to climate change. Coyote Valley has regional importance, particularly for open space, as an agricultural preserve, and for its watershed benefit. We also recognize the impacts of its development on neighboring jurisdictions.
Given the important role Coyote Valley plays for the City of San Jose and the region, the League does not advocate urban development of Coyote Valley.
Coyote Valley must be preserved for:
- open space
- agricultural and working lands use
- wildlife and habitat protection and for wildlife corridors
- flood control and water quality and protection
- environmental benefits such as soil carbon sequestration, watershed protection, water storage, flood protection and aquifer recharge.
Protection of Coyote Valley for the above uses will require and must have:
a. Mechanisms that ensure, create and protect open space
b. Incentives for the protection of habitat, low-impact recreational and environmentally friendly agricultural uses.
The new updated position was approved by the usual LWV consensus process. On April 7, 2018, the League Board accepted the Consensus Report. The new position was put to vote of the members at the Annual Meeting on May 19th, 2018 and approved.