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‘Minorities are getting robbed’: Why advocates are calling for East San Jose’s zoning policy to end

San Jose, California (KRON) — In East San Jose, developers looking to build in the community go through a different process than in other parts of the city.

A special zoning policy allows developers to get approval for projects in District 5 without the need for voting or public opinion from the city council.

Community leaders and supporters are now urging the city to end the policy, calling it neither fair nor impartial to the community.

“For me, it’s a problem, a long-standing problem, and a problem in my heart that needs to be fixed,” said Roland Bonilla, Vice Chairman of the San Jose Planning Committee.

Bonilla recently sent Mayor Sam Liccardo letter We demand an immediate ban on form-based zoning in East San Jose until the policy is enforced throughout the city.

Form-based zoning was adopted through the Strong Neighborhood Initiative in the early 2000s, aimed at improving poorly serviced low-income communities, said Michael Brilliot, deputy director of the city’s planning department. It was.

“And the goal of the process was to allow neighbors to be involved in decision-making, especially when it comes to city service and budget decisions and developed leaders can really improve the neighborhood.” Said Brillio.

Brilliot told News that the idea of ​​form-based zoning was adopted to help Alum Rock attract new investors and bring about new multipurpose development.

“For me, setting two sets of rules in one city basically sends a message that this side of the city, this part of the city, your opinion, your point of view is important. It’s completely problematic. I want to help shape the development conversation with us, “Bonilla said.

“On this side of the city, in East San Jose, your opinion is not important in the statement issued by the city hall through the implementation of form-based zoning.”

East San Jose has a majority of Latino population, and supporters say they are afraid of new developments that will drive residents out of the area.

Danny Garza, chairman of the Plata Arroyo Neighborhood Association, says News’ form-based zoning is a hassle because it silences the voice of the community during the redevelopment process.

“Here in East Valley, there are problems with form-based zoning not only in District 5, but also in East Valley. What’s happening is that the minority is being robbed,” Garza said. say.

“We have no voice and no choice.”

Garza, along with other community supporters, states that the developers have rejected requests for new projects to reflect East San Jose’s heritage and community.

As a result, the community and developers are less in communication about deciding how and what to build in their neighborhood.

“What the city did was call this area from 101 to Jackson an urban village, but it’s not,” Garza said.

“If this were a real urban village, there would be no five and a half pages claiming to be an urban village when right next to the King and Alum rocks. Little Portugal has 250 pages of urban village protection. Yes, “Garza added.

“There is no such protection, as shown here. There is no communication or contact with this developer, but except for what he says,” Hey, I’m going to do. What do you do? It doesn’t matter. Say.'”

According to Brilliot, state guidelines can make it difficult for cities to stop being based on District 5 zoning policies.

“Many state laws from Sacramento over the last few years have tried to address the housing crisis, streamline the homebuilding process and keep cities out of the way,” Brilliot said. Says.

“It’s not about moving backwards, it’s about moving forward.”

Developers considering the construction of District 5 will continue to host hearings on these projects, but planners have the authority to make final decisions without the approval of the city council.

Residents can appeal a form-based zoning project to the city council, but only after it has been approved by the planning committee.

However, the city council can still choose to take no action.

Currently, no projects have been built on Alum Rock Avenue using form-based zoning, but two affordable housing projects are currently under construction and two more multipurpose projects are under consideration, Brilliot said. I am.

Downtown San Jose has a much more streamlined process that allows developers to combine retail and housing projects relatively quickly.

According to Brilliot, developers considering construction in District 5 will continue to host hearings on these projects, but planners have the authority to make final decisions without the approval of the city council. I will.

Residents can appeal a form-based zoning project to the city council, but only after it has been approved by the planning committee.

However, the city council can still choose to take no action.

Since then, Mayor Likert has responded to Bonilla’s letter stating that he is ready to discuss East San Jose’s current form-based policies.

“Recently, at a meeting with alum neighbors, we held a council hearing to consider changing or abolishing form-based zoning policies, with a focus on raising the voice of the community in shaping development. I told them to welcome them in their neighborhood. “

‘Minorities are getting robbed’: Why advocates are calling for East San Jose’s zoning policy to end Source link ‘Minorities are getting robbed’: Why advocates are calling for East San Jose’s zoning policy to end

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