[Update Added 12/20/18: This author sent in multiple letters of qualified support to the city of San Jose for this project. Here is the preamble from the October 27th letter:
“As follow-up to my September 22nd, 2018 email regarding GP18-004, the proposed General Plan Amendment to change Land Use Designation for CUHSD District office maintenance yard, I am changing my recommendation and believe that the city should approve a zoning change to allow for the redevelopment of CUHSD’s property for the reasons and with the caveats listed below.
After a conversation with and a presentation from Board Trustee Stacy Brown at the Del Mar PTSA meeting, I am going to place my trust in the board that they made the right decision, based on what has been discussed in open and closed session and the information and assumptions they were given by their consultant. With that said, I am still not satisfied by the lack and/or the accessibility of said information and the process for how we got to this point. I also trust that CUHSD will find a way to distribute its buses from its existing bus yard, so as not to unduly burden any one school.
As stated by CUHSD on its website, it is early in the process, so if the city has suggestions that change the underlying assumptions, I trust that the CUHSD will make changes to provide maximum benefit to all parties. This also represents just 12-acres of CUHSD’s approximately 244-acres of property and I trust that, given what is learned from this process, CUHSD and the City of San Jose will find ways work together to look at opportunities for those other parcels.”
$1.5 M in unrestricted annual revenue is the promise of the CUHSD proposal to convert its existing approximate 12-acre district office site to a mix of approximately 6-acres of senior-care, daycare and self-storage facility and 6-acres of single-family homes. The 6-acres devoted to single-family homes would effectively be sold to a developer (Robson Homes) through an exchange of property, while the rest of the property would be retained by the district with recurring rental income from long-term ground leases from the aforementioned businesses. The
District’s new office would be relocated to a refurbished building located at Campbell and Winchester on land to be purchased by Robson Homes and included in the previously referenced exchange.
In principle, this idea of monetizing CUHSD’s assets is a good one and something that should be done to help provide a stable source of income, particularly as CUHSD deals with challenges associated with pension funding, teacher retention and the potential for declining enrollment.
The question, and the reason for this article, is whether the plan that CUHSD is proposing is optimal. That is, could a different plan provide a greater revenue stream, community benefits and/or reduced environmental impact?
And that is a question that is difficult to answer, as much of CUHSD’s deliberation and action has occurred in closed session. The official webpage for the plan doesn’t provide detail, other than some guiding principles and that CUHSD is requesting a zoning change from the City of San Jose.
As much as I support the idea of what they are trying to do and I don’t want to delay potential revenue, I cannot support the proposed project at this time, as what has been presented to public is lacking in data and does not address the questions asked of the board in my June 29th, 2018 letter to the CUHSD Board and Administration.
Some of the pertinent questions asked in that letter, as well as additional questions include [comments in brackets are there to add context]:
- Is zoning for single-family dwellings the optimum zoning for this property, from a revenue, environmental and greater good perspective?
- Did CUHSD study all their properties for revenue potential, particularly as they relate to the Envision San José 2040 General Plan, and, if so, how did they compare and what were the positives and negatives for each property? What outreach was made to the cities to determine how potential CUHSD actions could impact their land-use decisions [e.g. Urban Village plans]?
Note, the presentation at this link (provided by the project consultant, Terra Realty Advisors in a July 27th, 2018 email) provides a summary of the expected value of four of CUHSD’s six properties (values aren’t provided for Branham and Leigh). It appears that the value of a portion of the land at those four sites was considered in the context of single family homes and, from the presentation, does not appear to take into account future Urban Village plans.
My independent analysis, which was done in April, 2018 in preparation for the Teachers Village & More Forum is a bit different as it shows the total acreage for each property, along with its location relative to planned Urban Villages.
- How was affordable housing factored into the above study, particularly with regards to potential other programs, such as Santa Clara County’s Measure A Bond funding, that could potentially leverage the impact of CUHSD’s efforts?
- Where will the buses, currently housed at the maintenance yard, be stored? Is there credence to the rumor that Del Mar High School is being considered for bus storage? [In a 7/27/18 meeting, the Project Consultant indicated that the buses would be distributed to all the school sites.]
- Why didn’t the district choose an RFP process for the selection of lessees and buyers, such as what VTA is currently doing with several Transit Oriented Development projects?
- When looking at swapping land, did the District consider relocating its offices to one of its other properties?
ADDED 10/18/18 Note: On October 16th, 2018 CUHSD Board Trustee Stacey Brown emailed the following PDF, which provides an excellent timeline of events:
As mentioned above, the information on the project web page is minimal. The bullets below indicate sources of additional information:
$1.5M revenue referenced in this 06/20/18 email, as well as verbal comments made at the 9/20/18 CUHSD board meeting by a Boardmember.
- Detail of the revenue as well as proposed uses for the property and proposed partners were given in a presentation at the 7/19/18 open board meeting. My notes from watching that meeting, along with subsequent notes from a conversation and email exchanges with the Project Consultant, are here.
- CUHSD’s only public meeting devoted to this topic was held on May 29th, 2018, the same night of the WNAC’s Teacher Village & More Forum at Del Mar High School. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find minutes to that meeting.
- There was a community meeting organized by the city on August 2nd for this project (GP18-004). Unfortunately, I couldn’t make that meeting [added 9/22/18 and could not find the minutes]. Here is the agenda.