Correspondence from Cities and Groups re Potential Viewshed Ordinance

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CITY
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MORGAN
HILL
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17555 Peak Avenue. Morgan Hill, California 95037-4128 • phone (408) V79-7259 • fax (408) 779-3117
DENNIS KENNEDY
M/WOI-I

THIS RELATES TO

Ite m No. CpO>
Supplemental Information No. c-^

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August, 28, 2006
Chairman James Beall Jr, and

Members of the Board of Supervisors
Santa Clara County
County Government Center

70 West Hcdding Street
San Jose, CA. 95110

Subject; County Viewshed Protection Plan

Dear Supervisor Beall and Members of the Board;

Unfortunately 1 have been called out of town on business matters and will be unable to
attend your hearing on the draft Viewshed Protection Plan. I am sending this letter
because the City of Morgan Hill appreciates your efforts to preserve our hillsides and,
with a few exceptions, supports the draft Plan.

As you know, the City recently adopted an Urban Limit Line / Greenbelt Plan. That
planning effort was guided by a 16 member Advisory Committee which included one of
your Planning Commissioners. In addition, your Principal Planner Bill Shoe worked with
our staff to support the work of that Committee. Our Plan, as well as the one you are
currently considering, recognizes the value of our hillsides in defining our communities
and the importance of minimizing the visual impacts of future hillside development.
Most of the draft amendments recommended by your Planning Commission are
consistent with the recommendations in our Plan. There arc, however, three
recommendations contained in our Plan which arc not included in the draft Plan

you are considering. These recommendations address exemptions to design review,
ridge line development in general and inclusion of Finley Ridge in the area to be covered
by the Plan.
1. We recommend that the Viewshed Plan be amended to require design review for

jrH'new development, irrespective of size, unless the structures arc not visible from
the valley floor. The draft Viewshed Protection Plan proposes design review not be
required for houses less than 5,000 square feet in area, providing the bui]ding(s) meet

CENTENNIAL

190e-Z006

3D.SUI

SEP 0 e 2006
CITY OF MORGAN HILL

B/S Chair.

17555 Peak Avenue, Morgan Hill, California 95037-4128 • phone (408) 779-7259

I 779-3117

upv

Clerk
DENNIS KENNEDY

MAYOR

August 28, 2006
Chairman James Beall Jr. and

Members of the Board of Supervisors
Santa Clara County
County Government Center
70 West Hedding Street
San Jose, CA,. 95110

Subject; County Viewshed Protection Plan

Dear Supervisor Beall and Members of the Board:
Unfortunately I have been called out of town on business matters and will be unable to
attend your hearing on the draft Viewshed Protection Plan. I am sending this letter
because the City of Morgan Hill appreciates your efforts to preserve our hillsides and,
with a few exceptions, supports the draft Plan.

As you know,the City recently adopted an Urban Limit Line / Greenbeit Plan. That
planning effort was guided by a 16 member Advisory Committee which included one of
your Planning Commissioners. In addition, your Principal Planner Bill Shoe worked with
our staff to support the work of that Committee. Our Plan, as well as the one you are
currently considering, recognizes the value of our hillsides in defining our communities
and the importance of minimizing the visual impacts of future hillside development.
Most of the draft amendments recommended by your Planning Commission are
There are, however, three

consistent with the recuiiiiu-wiiuations in our Plan.

recommendations contained in our Plan which are not included in the draft Plan

you are considering. These recommendations address exemptions to design review,
ridgeline development in general and inclusion of Finley Ridge in the area to be covered
by the Plan.
1. We recommend that the Viewshed Plan be amended to require design review for
all new development, irrespective of size, unless the structures are not visible from
the valley floor. The draft View.shed Protection Plan proposes design review not be
required for houses less than 5,000 square feet in area, providing the building(s) meet

/ /centennial
Cl

1906-2006

Viewshed Protection Plan

August 28, 2006
Page 2

certain minimum standards. Our experience in the Morgan Hill area is that houses less

than 5,000 square feet can have a significant visual impact in certain hillside locations.
2. We recommend that that the Plan not allow ridgeline development, unless no

other suitable location is possible. The draft Viewshed Plan proposes ridgeline

development to be allowed on existing lots provided some form of mitigation of the
visual impacts is incorporated. Again, it is our experience that the best form of
mitigation of ridgeline visual impacts is to not allow building on the ridgelines, if at all
possible. I understand the Board requested County staff and Planning Commission
consider more restrictive provisions that would only allow ridgeline development if no
other suitable building location is possible. This alternative regulation is consistent with
existing Morgan Hill regulation and the recommendations of our Urban Limit Line /
Greenbelt Study.

3. We recommend that the Board expand the Viewshed Plan area to include Finley

Ridge, East of Morgan Hill. The draft Viewshed Plan would apply to the first set of
hills on the east and west sides of the valley in the Morgan Hill area. During the

development of our Study, much discussion focused on the visual impacts of new
development on Finley Ridge. This ridge is located approximately 2.5 miles east of the
valley floor. Because of its height and location, any development on Finley Ridge is
silhouetted against the sky when viewed from the valley floor. As it is the second ridge
from the valley floor, it is not proposed to be subject to your Viewshed Plan. At the
County Planning Commission meetings, your staff was asked to evaluate the possibility
of expanding County-wide the area to which the Viewshed Plan would apply. The visual
impact of each new building on Finley Ridge, to the east, is readily apparent to all
Morgan Hill residents and should be included in any viewshed planning.

Again, on behalf of the Morgan Hill City Council, I would like to thank you all for your
efforts to protect our scenic hillside resources and I appreciate your consideration of our
recommendations.

Sincerely,

Dermis Keimedy
Mayor
C:

Morgan Hill City Council
City Manager Ed Tewes
County Executive, Pete Kutras

COMMITTEE FOR
GREEN FOOTHILLS

Memorandum

Date: August 16, 2005

To: Santa Clara County Supervisors and aides

From: Brian Schmidt, Committee for Green Foothills

Re: Potential subjects for the forthcoming Land Use Workshop
The Committee for Green Foothills suggests the following potential subjects for the Land Use
Workshop to be held at the end of this month:

Conducting environmental analysis for land use decisions that are not regulated by expert

agencies. The de facto position of County staff is that if an expert agency does not regulate a particular

environmental problem, that problem does not exist. Two examples would be wetlands that are not
subject to regulation by federal agencies under the Clean Water Act, and cumulative effects of
greenhouse gas emissions. In both cases, CEQA documents produced by County staff in the last year
have said there is no requirement to impose feasible mitigations for impacts. Some wetlands escape
regulation under the Clean Water Act because they are not directly connected to “navigable waters,” an
issue that has nothing to do with the environmental value ofthose wetlands. The environmental impact
from greenhouse gases is self-evident.

The County could resolve this issue by clarifying that it has to independently examine environmental
impacts, and it can also examine why an expert agency does not regulate a problem - if the lack of
regulation is for reasons unrelated to the issue’s environmental significance, then the County should
analyze and require feasible mitigations. With regards to greenhouse gas emissions in particular, a no
impact standard for cumulative greenhouse gas emissions in Santa Clara County could lead to funding
beneficial programs such as installing solar panels on County schools and hospitals, and increasing
funding for public transportation. Analyzing enviromnental issues can lead to direct societal benefits.
Tightening General Plan restrictions on development in Ranchlands, Hillsides, and Agriculturalzoned lands. Maintaining these areas as the least-developed and most agriculturally-productive parts of
the County will be a tremendous challenge as ranchettes, monster mansions, and high-priced exurbs are
pushed by developers. The County should consider changing the General Plan rules so that future
subdivisions will not create lots too small for these areas, which currently can be as small as 20-acre

parcels. Size limits on mansions and ridgeline protections have also been discussed as viable changes.
Natural resource protections for riparian areas, wetlands, and endangered animals and plants could be
added.

Ending certain process problems in land use planning. Examples include County staff making
decisions on whether Negative Declarations are adequate when such decisions should be made by the
Planning Commission, and scheduling public hearings weeks before written comments are due(which
COMMITTEE FOR
GREEN FOOTHILLS

3921 E. Bayshore Road
Palo Alto, CA 94303

650.968.7243 phone
650.968.8431 fax

[email protected]
www.GreenFootliills.org

Committee for Green FootMls

August 16, 2005

Page 2 of 2

guarantees that the oral comments will not be substantive), and failing to put all publicly-available
environmental documents on the Planning Office website.

Managing land under conservation easements. Some arrangement should be worked out with the
Open Space Authority and MROSD over conservation easements; those agencies are much more
involved in these issues than the County is.

Regulating vineyards/wineries, greenhouses, and mushroom production. Vineyards are spreading

in Santa Clara County, a welcome development in some places and worrying in others. Erosion,

pollution from pesticides, and development from associated wineries need better regulation. Santa Clara
County should compare policies with other wine-growing counties and adopt comparable standards that

it currently lacks. Greenhouses and mushroom production also get into a gray area of pennanent

development. Mushroom farming done inside buildings is little different from any other industrial
operation. Greenhouses constructed with all-cement floors and plants grown on trays also constitute
permanent alteration to the land (other types of greenhouses are much less problematic). These issues
would also be worth examining.

Page 1 of 2

G’^.ail - County Open Space Initiative

Jean Cohen <[email protected]>
BET.i

County Open Space Initiative
1 message

Peter Drekmeier <[email protected]>

Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 2:30 PM

Friends,

There will be an opportunity to learn more about the Santa Clara County
Open Space Initiative next Tuesday in Mountain View. It would be great
if you could join us. Here are the details.
-Peter

Santa Clara County Open Space Initiative

Please join the Green Party for a presentation on the proposed Santa
Clara County Open Space Initiative. Peter Drekmeier, Campaign
Coordinator for PLAN (People for Land and Nature), will be our guest
speaker.
Tuesday, August 16, 7:30pm
Location: The Clubhouse at the Willow Park Condominium, Intersection of
W. Middlefield Road and Moffett Blvd., Mountain View

(Enter the parking area from Moffett Blvd., approximately 100 feet
north of Middlefield.)

Information: Fred Duperrault, [email protected],(650)691-1215

The proposed initiative amends the County General Plan. It applies to
areas designated Ranchlands, Hillsides and Agriculture. It materially

reduces the number of developable parcels, limits the size and
scattering of development, prevents certain uses incompatible with
agriculture and a rural environment, and safeguards scenic views. The
purposes are to preserve remaining natural and historic resources,
watersheds and the beauty of the County, and to maintain the high
quality of life.

The measure increases the minimum new parcel size in the covered areas.

It provides for the merger of subsize parcels, in accordance with

State law. Commercial feedlots, stadiums and arenas, motor vehicle

courses, large churches and other group assemblages, and commercial and

industrial uses other than to meet the needs of rural areas are not

allowed. Special restrictions are imposed to preserve wetlands,
riparian corridors and forests and to protect rare and endangered
wildlife. An adequate, sustainable water supply is required for uses.

Buildings on a parcel must be located on a contiguous two-acre
development “envelope”, unless the County finds need for a larger area
for permitted uses. In general, the maximum aggregate floor area on a
parcel is limited to 1% of the parcel’s area or 20,000 square feet,
whichever is less. The Board may permit a substantial increase for
agricultural use, recreation and natural resource extraction. Within
the aggregate maximums, residential and residential accessory buildings
(other than farm worker hosing) may not have a maximum floor area that
exceeds 8,000 square feet.

http://mail.google.com/mail/?&ik=13f6fc0552&view=pt&th-105a24926c62d5f5&search-... 8/12/2005

Gmail - County Open Space Initiative

Page 2 of2

Scenic views and open space are safeguarded by barring structure from
ridgelines and hilltops, unless there is no alternative. Buildings may
not be located on slopes of 25% or more. Structures generally shall be

located, designed and landscaped to minimize their visual impact from
public parks and roads. Clustering of permitted developments is
allowed if it will reduce visibility of the development.

By State law, the initiative could only be amended by the voters. It
could not be repealed or weakened by a future Board. This gives it
greater permanence. However, the Board can impose additional
restrictions and requirements on development. Existing County
regulations would remain in effect, except to the extent they were
contrary to the initiative.

Nothing in the initiative, by its terms, is to be applied to preclude
County compliance with any State housing requirement. Generally, the
initiative would not be applicable if application would violate any
current or future law or legal right.

Peter Drekmeier

Campaign Coordinator
People for Land and Nature (PLAN)
3921 East Bayshore Road
Palo Alto, CA 94303

[email protected]
(650) 223-3306
Peter Drekmeier

Campaign Coordinator

People for Land and Nature (PLAN)
3921 East Bayshore Road
Palo Alto, CA 94303

[email protected]
(650)223-3306

http://mail.google.com/mail/?&ik=13f6fc0552&view=pt&th=105a24926c62d5f5&search=... 8/12/2005

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L3777 FRUITVALE AVENUE • SARATOGA, CALIFORNIA 95070 •(408) 868-1200
COUNCIL MEMBERS:

Incorporated October 22,1956

SENT VIA FAX & US MAIL

February 14, 2005

Board of Supervisors
Santa Clara County
County Government Center
70 West Redding Street
San Jose, CA95110
(via facsimile)

Aileen Kao

Kathleen King
Norman Kline
Nick Streit
Ann Waltonsmith

Re; Viewshed Protection Referral, Agenda Item i4(b)
Dear Board of Supervisors,

The City of Saratoga is writing this letter in support of the viewshed protection referral
signed by Supervisors Beall and Alvarado. This referral will be heard at your Board
meeting on Tuesday, February 15. The City urges the Board of Supervisors to develop
stronger and clearer guidelines and ordinances regarding hillside development and for the
County to work with the cities in review of projects which are in hillside areas that lie
within the sphere of influence ofthose cities. With the recent changes in LAFCO
aimexation policies, the County is now encouraging annexation of designated “pockets”
in the hillside areas of Santa Clara County. Strengthening ordinances for hillside

development and working with the cities on development applications will reduce
incentives for developers and residents to oppose annexation because they believe they
can obtain greater land use density under the County’s ordinances than they could obtain
if they applied the cities’ general plan and zoning ordinances.

As the West Valley Cities continue to independently evaluate whether annexation is
appropriate for their community, it is important that the County encourage annexation by
applying the cities’ development criteria as outlined in the County General Plan.
Sincerely,

Kathleen M. King
Mayor, City of Saratoga

CC:

Pete Kutras, Jr. County Executive, Santa Clara County
Saratoga City Council
Dave Anderson, City Manager

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December 15, 2004

Supervisor Don Gage. Chairperson and

Housing, Land ISc, Environmeni and Traiispoi’lation (’omrnitice

Coiiniy oC Santa Clara
(.'oiint)'(.iovernment Cenler
70 'A-’esl Kedding Street
San Jose, California 95110

Dear Chaitperson Gage and iVIembers of the Housing, Land Use, Enviromnenl and
'rrans|)oi'tation Comniitlee;

On the December 16, 2004 Agenda is a report from tiie Environinental i^esources
Agency on llic feasibility ofa Generai Plan Maintenance Fee (GPMl').(Reterni! from
June 22, 2004 Board of Supervisors' meeting, Item No. 29), Item #5.

We are writing to you today in supipoit ofstaffs recommendation to, "Pay lor the
generai plmi update entirely with general fund appropriations in accordance with past
practice,” As they state in their staff report, “Development activity in Santa Clarti
County is niodest except at Stanford University, which already paysfor community
planning, general use permit and related costs[emphasis added]. Planning and
construction application fees would hove to be raised significantly, therelore, to cover
the cost of updating the General Plan if it were not borne by tiie genera! fund,...”
die diiection of Supervisor Liz Km,ss, staff surveyed ail 5S counlie.s in California and
5) cities in the 4 county region. Of those responding,(39 counties and 33 cities) moat
(72';i, of counties and
of cities) do not c.harge a General Plan Maintenance Fee to
[iroject apidicanls. The reirson for tliis is deal'; comprehensive long-range planing
activities benefit all residents, including, as slated i.ti the staff report, ”....future
general ions and unrepresented stakehoiders."

Stanford was responsible for paying County expenses to secure 2 mi l lion academic
square feel and 1.5 million square feet of student housing. The.se ex|)en.ses included
staff and consul t;int costs for tire preparation of the Community Plan. E'lR and the
General Use Permit(GUP), and totaled SI .4 million.

Post approval monitoring by County staff(including Planning staff, Counsel, and staff
from tire Dejraitmenl of Parks and Recreation) has totaled over $850,000 to date, Tlrcse
cxparscs are above and bevond .ASA application fees avKl Building Permit fees.
Government Code Section 66014 allows cities and counties to include all cost

reasonably irecessary to prepare and revise plans and policies that the local agency is
required to adopt before it can make any necessary findings and determinations related
to the application for which the fee was cliarged. Fees are not to exceed the reasonable
cost ol'providing the service for which the fee is charged.

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Slanford met its financial obligations for the preparalion ol llie (.'ominuiiily Plan ana

General Use Permit and continues to ensure liill cost recovery through the current fee
structures. We do not believe that it is reasonable to levy an additional tee.

Thank you for consideration of our thoughts on this matter.
Sincerely yours,

Robert C. r<eidy

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Vice Pi'ovost for Land and Buifldings
L

Supei’visor Liz K.niss
Supervisor James Beall
'I'im Chow, Director, Envii'onmental Resource.s Agency
Charles Carter, Director, Stanford .Lai.)d Use & Environmental Planniiig Ofiice
Jack Cleary, Director, Stanford Project Management

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Robert Girard

Stanford Law School

1 2003

Stanford, CA 94305

May 20,2003

Supervisor James Beall
Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors
70 W.Hedding Street
San Jose, CA 95110

Dear Jim:

Thank you for meeting with us about the Santa Clara County land use initiative. We

value your interest and support for a measure that would better safeguard the County’s remaining
natural qualities and wildlife, open spaces, scenic beauty and farm lands. County controls need to

be extended, made more protective, more definite, and given greater permanence. As you
emphasized, they also need to be enforced more effectively.

In the Hillside, Ranchland and Agricultural Districts, we believe that the number of

developable parcels, existing and future, needs to be reduced. This can be accomplished, in part,
by increasing the minimum parcel size, limiting certificates of compliance to those strictly
required by State law, and restricting lot line adjustments so that resulting parcels comply with
all the requirements for new parcels.

Existing subsize parcels should be merged, to the extent State law permits. Where

merger is not available, a minimum area for development equal to the minimum new parcel size

or the area of contiguous parcels in common ownership should be required.

Development standards should be strengthened to keep development off steeper slopes,
out of flood plains, and off parcels without adequate, sustainable water, including in times of
drought. There is certainly no right to develop on every parcel, even though not suitable for
development.

The bulk and the “scatteration” of development that is permitted needs to be limited.

Generally, buildings should be confined to relatively small, contiguous “development envelopes”
- say two acres. The maximum total floor area for residences and other buildings on a parcel
should be set at reasonably low levels. (For both development envelopes and maximum floor
areas flexibility can be provided by permitting the County to increase the size in certain
situations involving agriculture or necessary government or public utility facilities.) Clustering

of otherwise permissible development should be provided, at least up to specified limits, where it
reduces visibility of development or, in agricultural districts, maintains land for agriculmre.

To protect open space and scenic views, structures should be kept off ridgelines and
hilltops, unless there is no other practicable alternative, as well as off steep slopes. Buildings
should be located on parcels so as to minimize their visibility. They should use materials,
landscaping, and lighting to make them as unobtrusive as possible. Grading and landfilling
should be carefully regulated to preserve natural landforms.

There are certain land uses that generally should be excluded in rural areas, unless

approved by the voters; for example, commercial, industrial and institutional uses that do not
primarily meet needs of the local rural community or County agriculture; motor vehicle tracks
and courses; and theme or amusement parks. Even stricter controls should be imposed in

riparian corridors, wetlands, critical wildlife habitats, and forested areas.

To the maximum extent, the above measures would use and build upon existing County

General Plan provisions. To the extent incorporated in an initiative, even those provisions could
be weakened only by a vote of the people. Citizens further should be given a role in
enforcement, in view of limited County resources, to obtain injunctive relief against violations of
the General Plan.

Enclosed please find an outline, in somewhat greater detail, of the provisions we think
might well be included in the Initiative. We would very much appreciate your reaction and
further thinking with respect to those proposals, and generally to the contents of the measure, if

possible before the middle of July. We would begin drafting the initiative in full detail then.
Our expectation would be to finish the Initiative text by October 1, then submit the signatures
around January 1, but the timing is flexible to respond to your needs.
Again, thank you

Respectfully,

Robert Girard

Craig Breon

(Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society)

Ernest Goitein

(P.L.A.N.)

Brian Schmidt

(Committee for Green Foothills)

Bill Michel

(Sierra Club)

P.S. Jim, all of the above organizations are working with priority and effectively, I trust, against
the Coe Park reservoir. Ernest Goitein has written to you about this in more detail and he will

write further. Craig Breon will write about a special insider role he is using against the project.

May 20, 2003

OUTLINE - POSSIBLE AMENDMENTS TO

SANTA CLARA COUNTY GENERAL PLAN LAND USE PROVISIONS

I. Hillside Districts;
Minimum Parcel Size;

The basic minimum parcel size would continue to be 160 acres. However, where development is
clustered the slope density formula would be amended to increase minimum parcel sizes, starting at 40
acres on 10% slopes rather than 20 acres, and reaching 160 acres at 36% slope rather than 50% slope.

Certificates of Compliance:

As required by State law, the County shall not grant certificates of compliance except as strictly

required by State law, and subject to all relevant permissible conditions. Certificates give no right to

develop.
Lot Line Adjustment:

As required by State law, the County shall not permit lot line adjustments if the adjusted parcels would

not comply with the General Plan, including minimum parcel size.
Open-Space Easements:

An open-space easement shall be required for each parcel with respect to which development is
permitted.

Merger of“Subsize” Parcels:

Contiguous “subsize” parcels in common ownership shall be merged or, where that is not permitted,
treated as though a single parcel up to the minimum parcel size for purposes of development, in
accordance with State law.

Development Standards:

1) No building site on slopes greater than [25%?][30%?],2)No greenhouses on slopes of 15% or
more,3)Adequate, sustainable long-term water supply required,4)Development, or conversion to

agriculture, is not permitted on or adjacent to wetlands if it will reduce materially the quantity or
biological quality of wetlands, 5)Development or conversion to agriculture not permitted where critical
wildlife habitat or connecting corridor will be impaired,6)No building may be located within 150 feet

of riparian corridor.
Permissible uses (subject to other County restrictions):
1) Low density residential.

2)Industrial uses only to meet agricultural needs of local rural areas; processing of agricultural produce

grown in County; energy, mineral and water extraction, storage and production from natural resources

of the County.

3)Commercial uses limited to: agriculture (excluding commercial feed lots); sale of agricultural

products, a major portion of which were grown in County; animal rearing, training, custodianship;

neighborhood stores and services to meet unmet needs of local rural communities; home occupations;

outdoor recreation (but not golf courses, motor vehicle tracks, or amusement parks); accommodations
for short term occupancy for persons engaged in outdoor recreation; health care; communications
facilities if no other locations available; occasional short term events (rodeos, horse shows, concerts)
that do not cause long term environmental harm.

1

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FOR

GREEN FOOTHILLS

Siiiita Clara \'allcy AuduI>oii Society
FoMitdnlju

PROTFCHNC OWN SPACE AND PROMOTINC tJVABl.E COMMUNtTlES

November 18, 2002

Board of Supervisors
Santa Clara County

70 West Hedding St.
San Jose, CA 95110

RE; Recommendations regarding the Viewshed and Greenbelt Project for 2002 Work Plan
Dear Chairman Gage and Members of the Board,

On behalf of the Committee for Green Foothills, Greenbelt Alliance and Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society,
we are

writing to follow up on our comments at the September 25 , 2002 Land Use Workshop and our January

25, 2002 letter regarding Santa Clara County Work Plan priorities.

raised and much progress has been made towards m create
Staff has been working diligently on many of the issuesWe
thank the Board and stafffor this strong effort

protecting County open space and natural resources.
m
new policy, which moves the County substantially closer to achieving the resource protection goals established

the Santa Clara County General Plan. Our organizations are glad to be assisting you in this effort.

We want to take this opportunity to focus on one particular goal over which the Board expressed concern l^t

for the^^unty sjddgelines and
September. It was the need to create stronger and more uniform protections
hillsides, based on a nurhSer of examples of visuaJIyscamngJK^es'tRat were allowed under the current County
HTlIildSlS^dlMrThe three workTtemsTdentified by staff for the VieUshekfahd GfeenB'eltTroject portion^
tKeWO'T^orirPTan do not include the key goal of estaMishing protections for the Coun^j_ridgehnes_and
viewsheds. The 2002 Work Plan should taETd^TthTissue oTEdhm)^^ viei^ed protections; we are concerrfed
thatlTit'is not addressed now it will be overlooked.

The Board set protection of viewsheds, ridgelines and hillsides as a priority

In response to the viewshed issues raised in September 2001, the Board included Viewsheds and Greenbelt Areas
as a priority in the 2002 Land Use Work Plan, specifically: “review appropriate means offurthering County policies
to protect viewsheds, hillsides, ridgelines and greenheltsfrom impacts ofdevelopment. Includes (a)priority-setting
studies,(b) measurefocused specifically on ridgelines and hillsides protection and (c)possible greenbelt studies with
” Qanuary 29, 2002, Planning Office s 2002
Morgan Hill and others concerning land use preservation methods.
and Activities.)
Work Plan report - inventory of Planning Office Projects

The staff report goes further to state that “Scenic resource protection and related goals and policies ofthe County,
General Plan define this general subject to be a significant component ofmaintaining the quality oflife ofthe and
bothfor natural resource conservation a viewshedprotection. Additionalstudies are necessary before priorities
oftheir
current

recommendations can be made concerning the needfor additionalpolicy and!or regulations and the extent

applicability." Qanuaty 29, 2002, Planning Office’s 2002 Work Plan report - inventory ofPlanning Office

Projects and Activities.)

Santa Clara County’s hillsides provide a dramatic natural backdrop for our urban areas. Given that existing
are moved
Hillside zoning does adequately protect these assets, the County should ensure that hillside protections
forward as directed in the 2002 Work Plan.

Committee for Green Foothills

3921 East Bayshore Road
Palo Alto, CA 94303

650-968-7243 phone
www.GreenFoothills.org

Greenbelt Alliance

1922 The Alameda, Stc. 213

Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society
22221 McClellan Road

San Jose, CA 95126
408-983-0856 phone

Cupertino, CA 95014

vvww.greenbelt.org

www.scvas.org

408-252-3747

Committee For Green Foothills , Grcenbclt Alliance, and Santa Clara Valley Audubon
Recommendations regarding County’s 2002 Work Plan •
November 18, 2002 • Page 2

In our September 20, 2002 comments we showed pictures of invasive roadcuts, and scarring ridgeline
development.

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f'.

Tubse homes, part of Calero Lake Estates, make no attempt to blend into the hillside. They dominate thein ridgeline.
the
In addition, more than half a mile of retvning walls (and highly visible roadcuts), such as the one seen
PHOTO, WERE

needed to construct Country View Road, which currently provides access to only three houses.

Unfortunately, to date, protection of County hillsides has been addressed in a piecemeal fashion, with mored-2
For example, the more protective d-1 and
protective measures established only for portions of the County.
combining zoning districts apply only to the West Valley Hillsides (north of Los Gatos) and the Milpitas Hills.
Policy direction for the Board to consider

may
The Town of Danville has developed a progressive Scenic Hillside Ordinance, which Santa Clara County and

find helpful when reviewing its own hillside policies. Danville created their ordinance to protect the hills
dges of the Town, because of their physical dominance, comprising a large part of the natural open space and
scenic resources of the community. Their goal was to retain the natural character of the hillside and ridgeline
and to preserve the predominant views both from and of the hillside and ridgeline areas. Their ordinance
states the following goals “passive open space is desirable and necessary to maintain the quality oflife enjoyed by the
residents ofthe community . . .and the retention ofscenic hillsides and ridgelines m as near a natural state as isfeasible
ri

areas.

consistent with the rights granted by law to property owners to develop their properties is important to the community’s

aesthetic qualities and will preserve a desirable visual identity ofthe Town. ’

To enforce this policy objective, their ordinance reads, “No development is permitted within one hundredfeet
(100’) (measured vertically) ofthe centerline ofa major ridgeline. "And The subdivision oflands identified as Maj>

or

Ridgeline or Scenic Hillside Areas shall not result in the” creation ofa building site within one-hundredfeet (measured
vertically) below the centerline ofa Major Ridgeline...

We urge the County to move forward with the viewshed goals established in the 2002 Work Plan and we hope
that the example provided of Danville’s ordinance could be used to guide this important effort.

Thank you for your consideration.
Sincerely,

Denice Dade

Anne Crealock

Legislative Advocate
Committee for Green Foothills

Greenbelt Alliance

South Bay Field Representative

Kelly Crowley

Environmental Advocate

Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society
Document

Letters from representatives of the City of Morgan Hill, Committee for Green Foothills, City of Saratoga, Stanford University, and Stanford Law School.

Collection

James T. Beall, Jr.

Content Type

Correspondence

Resource Type

Document

Date

08/28/2006

District

District 4

Language

English

Rights

No Copyright: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/NoC-US/1.0/