On November 17th, the San Jose City Planning Commission met in a public hearing to review the IBM/Riding General Plan change. This change would permit the building of 54 homes on land designated "permanent open space." Nearly twenty years ago, IBM and Members of the City Council assured us that the IBM Research Facility would stand alone, surrounded by 540 acres of open space. This promise and the integrity of our elected officials was at stake. Several members of AVCA's Board spoke on your behalf. Below are my comments to the commissioners.
"My name is George Bettisworth, and I am the president of the Almaden Valley Community Association. We have represented the entire Almaden Valley on a variety of issues for nearly 40 years.
We were here in this room in 1979 when the IBM Research issue was being discussed. Our organization played a significant role in raising concerns about all facets of the project. We supported the Research facility after our concerns were heard and mitigated; then we welcomed IBM to our community because we knew that we had an agreement that permanent open space was the medication for the loss of open space.
Besides good land use policy, what is at stake tonight is:
The Almaden Valley Community Association believes that IBM and our City should not go back on their word, and that word is permanent open space.
Please help us maintain public trust in government, commitment to previous promises, and continuity in our land use policies from one generation to another. Let's not extinguish the vision and decisions that Jerry Estruth, Tom McEnery, Janet Gray Hayes, and others made during their time of public service.
Please uphold the sound policies of your predecessors. Please recommend to the City Council a denial of this application."
Note: The commission voted unanimously to deny the project and will forward their recommendation to the City Council.