Like everything in the world, San Jose is constantly changing; its growing up, evolving from the orchards of the Valley of Hearts Delight to Silicon Vally. As we evolve as a community and City, we need to adapt to meet the needs of ourselves and our neighbors. Every day we see the construction trucks transforming empty lots into the homes and businesses of tomorrow.
While these transformations can be overwhelming to residents, the City actively seeks community feedback for all of these projects and our voices do matter.
Your probably asking yourself why you should care what other people are doing, which is a more than fair question. The answer is simple, these changes affect everyone, even you. Transformations of commercial properties to residential units lower the cities revenue from taxes making it more difficult to balance the budget, multi-unit residential projects transform neighborhoods and affect local parks transportation and other city services.
Imagine a developer coming in and buying the property next to your house, tearing down whatever's there and building a beautiful home with a fantastic garden. This seems like a terrific thing to have happen, as a community we have improved.
Now what if the developer decides to build a 10-unit condo complex or apartment building next door? Depending on your personal opinions you may be for or against this but overall the community is likely benefiting as a whole from general redevelopment.
But what happens when the developer wants to build a 20 unit condo or apartment complex but only provide parking for five units? Why should they provide parking spaces when people can take light rail or the bus? How many people who live there will actually give up their cars? These are the types of variances that get presented to the planning commission on a regular basis.
Whether it's requests for variances in parking made available on site, green space reductions (lawns, trees, and other landscaping), reductions in curb set-backs (narrow sidewalks), allowing for 3rd, 4th, or 5th stories to be built, and hundreds of other requests are brought to the city every day. Some of them make sense and some are hair-brained at best but it's important for the community to know what's happening and let their voices be heard.