Appealing the Albright EIR

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APPEALING THE ALBRIGHT EIR – Aug 9th 2013

Summary of this email.

1. A group of us have appealed the approval of the Albright Way EIR based the conflict with the Los Gatos General Plan and Zoning Ordinances which clearly state 35’ height maximum.
2. Using Mr. Shenks’ own numbers, we have determined that the schools will get more than $8,000,000 from 10 projects plus the Redevelopment Agency windfall of more than $2,000,000. After the first year, additional recurring revenues will be over $5,000,000 per year.
3. These calculations are based on Albright building no higher than 35’ as stated in the General Plan.
4. You only have a small town once.

The town council and the developer have decided it’s ok to override the General Plan and Zoning Ordinance requirements to build no higher than 35 feet. We have formed a group to argue against this action by hiring a land use attorney and filing an objection to the approval of the EIR on August 9th. Our legal objection is attached to this email.

While we advocate development of the property, we only agree within the limits as stated in the General Plan and Zoning Ordinances.

To develop it outside the bounds and the intentions of the plan renders a plan useless. To say that a PD (Planned Development) creates a zone within the existing zones that violates the principles set forth in the General Plan and the ordinances of the Zoning Codes was strictly self-serving.

Will the town lose the prestige of having a Netflix?
Possibly. But they are only taking one of four buildings currently and it is very possible they will never get beyond 2. They may be absorbed, sold or simply disappear. On Netflix’s tail is Amazon, Google, Wal-Mart, Apple, etc., etc. By no means does Netflix operate with a wide moat, and the competition is as big as formidable as you can get.

Will the town lose tax revenue? I have only worked on the revenues for the schools at this point to see what effect the reduction of size to meet the 35’ height would do.

However, using just 10 recent and soon to be developed properties, including Albright Way and the North 40, the schools will receive one time revenues over $8,000,000 JUST FROM THESE 10 DEVELOPMENTS, plus over $2,000,000 from the demise of the Redevelopment Agencies. Additionally, the schools will receive more than $5,000,000 over their current revenues every year thereafter as recurring revenues.

I used Mr. Shenk’s Fiscal Impact Analysis to determine the majority of these numbers, and got some directly from the projects own web sites.

Will the property sit vacant should Netflix not move in? It was 95% occupied before new buildings are built. There’s no reason to believe that they won’t be 95% occupied in the future with newer, more energy efficient buildings. The tax revenues will still come into the town coffers.

The 35’ height was established to, amongst other things, limit the density and traffic to keep the small town feel. They were put in place to limit a developer from taking controls away from council members, some of whom may be easily persuaded to build out the town larger and much more crowded than was intended. Just as there are lobbyists running the legislature in Sacramento, there are developers continually working city governments to expand their perceived right to develop towns in violation of their own General Plans. It’s all about maximizing their dollars and not about the well-being of the town’s citizens. Then they leave.

In one California city and county study, approximately 75% of the proposed planning and zoning amendments are privately initiated, and 66 to 75 percent are ultimately approved.

We think because of the specifics in the General Plan, that we have a good shot. If we should win, the town will either have to amend the General Plan for Albright, or take the message they’re receiving from the people who voted them into office and listen to our plea to maintain the General Plan. This is a small town, not a large suburb. We want it to stay that way and the General Plan was worded to keep us small.

If we should lose, the town and the developers looming in the future will have received a loud and clear message. We’re still learning about town politics and working within this system, but we continue to get smarter and we continue to get stronger.

The quote below comes directly from the Los Gatos General Plan 2020

Within Article E of the General Plan – the “General Land Use Plans” – in sub item 2F. you will find that the town has “rigid development standards” that call for 35’ height limits. You cannot get more clear than that. Where policies are fundamental, specific (such as ours) and mandatory, courts have been strict in requiring the implementation of the policies. That’s what we’re banking on.

The 35’ height limit is repeated numerous times through-out the General Plan and reiterated numerous times in the Zoning Ordinances. Why has the council decided to circumvent the General Plan and the Zoning Ordinances?

THE GENERAL PLAN AND THE ZONING ORDINANCES MUST BE CONSISTENT; AND THE PD MUST BE CONSISTENT WITH BOTH. THAT’S THE LAW.

The council seems to be banking on their contention that a Planned Development is a zone unto itself and falls outside the meaning and intention of the General Plan and the Zoning Ordinances. Even if that were true, why would the town spend the time and money to develop a General Plan in the first place? Where is the common, and community sense?

We only have a small town once.

Jak Van Nada

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