SPUR comments on Diridon Station Area Plan DEIR

March 12, 2014 Posted by Franklin Maggi

SPUR commented this last month on the draft EIR for the Diridon Station Area Plan prepared by the City of San Jose. Their support letter brought up a number of issues on how area planning like this should move forward

SPUR supports the broad outlines of the City of San Jose’s draft Diridon Station Area Plan. This area is an opportunity to implement the vision and policies set forth in the city’s Envision 2040 General Plan, including strengthening and expanding downtown and achieving the ambitious target to grow walking, cycling, transit and carpools to 60% of all commute trips. It is also an area of regional and statewide significance given the projected transit investment. Of primary importance is ensuring significant and high-quality development in the station area to achieve high transit ridership while successfully implementing the placemaking and transportation policies discussed in the plan.

Read the whole letter here.

Of particular interest to those involved in the Cultural Resources field are their comments on Land Use and Cultural Resources (2 sections below). They succinctly state that “building on existing urban fabric, not entirely replacing it, enhances the authenticity of place.”

There should be greater protection of historic resources, particularly pre WWII
housing north of the station area. In Impact CUL-1, the DPEIR notes that “The
DSAP would make a cumulatively considerable contribution to previously
identified significant impacts to historic resources.” Greater attention should be
placed on enabling development in such a way that preserves the existing street
fabric and historic structures. We do not think that there is enough information to
evaluate the cumulative impact of the loss of these resources. In particular, the
Northern Innovation zone includes several blocks of pre-WWII housing on
Autumn Street and Autumn Court that should be kept as part of the fabric and
history of the area. To treat this area as simply an opportunity site to wipe clean
misses part of its unique selling point — its history. We do not support the extent
to which the DSAP and DPEIR assume total loss of those resources and
recommend that the city assume retention of as much of the existing fabric and
historic buildings as possible. We recognize that part of the challenge lies in
CEQA where Structures of Merit are not considered significant resources for the
purposes of CEQA, even though they “contribute to the historic fabric of the
city.”
• The DPEIR does not properly analyze the need for the realignment project to
also remove the existing buildings east of Autumn Street towards Los Gatos
Creek. As stated earlier, there is no reference to existing structures that would
need to be removed in this area.

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