'We Support Los Gatos' Submits 4,000 Signatures In Favor of Netflix HQ Project

Effort to qualify controversial issue for the June 3, 2014 ballot.

The current Netflix location at 100 Winchester Circle in Los Gatos. Courtesy Getty/AOL
The current Netflix location at 100 Winchester Circle in Los Gatos. Courtesy Getty/AOL
The "We Support Los Gatos" organization made up of local residents and businesses submitted more than 4,100 signatures to the Los Gatos town clerk today to qualify a citizens’ initiative in support of the Albright Way office park project desired for expansion by online media streaming giant Netflix.

The effort to gather the signatures to place the measure on the June 3, 2014 ballot has been "incredibly successful," the group said in a press release, adding that it had obtained 44 percent more signatures than required and occurring in less than four weeks.

The initiative, if passed, would allow the development of 485,000 square feet of office space to allow Netflix to expand and remain in Los Gatos long term, replacing the sprawling, now mostly demolished 1970s era industrial office complex at the corner of Albright Way and Winchester Boulevard.

Four Class A commercial buildings are planned, two at 65 feet tall and two at 50 feet, plus a three-story garage at 35 feet. The edifices will be located next to Highway 85 and near the planned end of the Vasona Light Rail Line.

The Los Gatos Town Council approved the project twice, after more than three years of public analysis, input, debate and review, the release stated.

The initiative would create site-specific zoning and make General Plan amendments to allow for the office campus, "allowing the project to move forward despite lawsuits intended to delay it." Netflix would then occupy two of the four buildings it's leased, which would be built on time, the release continued.

The group Los Gatos Citizens for For Responsible Development has been watching over the project from the onset, challenging it after the Council approved it in August of 2011 on a 3-2 vote due to the lack of an environmental impact report.

The Citizens prevailed in court in April of 2012 and the Council rescinded its prior approvals and began again, this time completing the EIR. The group, however, began challenging the project as of late on the basis of its magnitude, contending the town's General Plan caps buildings in the light industrial zone at 35 feet.

The Citizens also stress the General Plan's language stipulating the lower height is "rigid." They say the project's EIR recommended the development of 350,000 square feet.

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Joseph H. Huber is reviewing the matter after a hearing Dec. 6. The magistrate is expected to issue a ruling soon interpreting the 35-foot-height limit provisions.

The June 3 ballot measure would only affect the single Albright Way property and locks the owners into developing only the approved plan and architecture for seven years or until the voters approve something different, the release said.

"We appreciate the overwhelming support from the people of Los Gatos for this project because of its tremendous benefits for our town and community," said Phil Albanese, a leader of "We Support Los Gatos."

"Their support enables our town to reaffirm its commitment to Netflix and to take another step towards moving forward on this important matter," Albanese said.

Netflix currently employs about 1,100 people in Los Gatos. The headquarters project would generate more than $1 million in annual property tax revenue for Los Gatos schools and more than $300,000 in annual tax revenue for town services such as public safety, traffic improvements, libraries and parks, the release said.

If the project is built, We Support Los Gatos said the community would receive $485,000 in public benefit funds and the school districts would receive their development fees.

Town Attorney Judith Propp said the election would cost the government body between $82,000 and $100,000. 

—This is a developing breaking news story. Please check back for updates


Sign up for the free Los Gatos Patch newsletter | Like Los Gatos Patch on Facebook | Follow @GatosPatch on Twitter | Blog on Los Gatos Patch | Follow Los Gatos Patch on Instagram  

Tony Alarcon December 12, 2013 at 12:15 AM
I want to congratulate the developer on his marketing campaign. This is not about keeping Netflix in town or "Help us save Netflix" as the signature gatherers spewed when collecting signatures. Its about profits nothing more. Using children and education... after all who can be against that? The extra height delivers little real tax benefits. Has anyone from the developer side ever given the factual tax revenue differentials for 50/65' @ 485K' vs. 35' @ 350K' development? I asked one on the I have not seen it. The development fees are a one time deal and will now be used to pay for a ballot initiative. How much space is Netflix leasing? I hear 240,000, please present the facts Mr Shenk. If its all about Netflix why isn't 350,000' with 35' tall building enough? Its a simple question? Its not about the kids, education, or world class office......its about profits and not thinking long term impacts on Los Gatos. The traffic in town is getting ridiculous already. Wait until the 70+ homes go in at LG Blvd and Blossom Hill. I can't wait for the 65' tall buildings along LG Blvd or the North 40, its next why not? after all the GP will be amended... This is a very short sided group supporting this project as it affects the long term impact and development standards of our town. Show your children the hill views now as they will soon be gone. Anyone growing up in LG has already seen many changes. How much is enough? See John's post on the InsideLG it covers all the points!!!!
Ed Dee December 12, 2013 at 11:20 AM
I believe in our neighbors' intelligence and ability to educate ourselves as to both sides of the issues that effect our town. 4,100 Los Gatos registered voters have spoken in favor, a small handful are opposed. Population growth, property rights, funds for education, and traffic congestion are all important matters that need to be considered. Personally, I am directly impacted by this development, living a stone's throw from the property. My children attend the LGUSD, and I commute through this corridor daily; after careful consideration of all presented arguments for and against, I, and many of my neighbors, are resoundingly in favor of this development. The future is here, and as much as we think it would be wonderful to seal our little town under a glass bubble, it is not healthy for us on any level. By the way, large combustion engine vehicles are dinosaurs. Transportation is another area transforming during our lifetime. Also, the only mountain views obstructed by this development are from the existing Netflix site, Aventino Apartments, and the Courtside parking lot... ...this is perfect place for class A commercial space in Los Gatos. I doubt the town or myself would agree if the height limitation was lifted anywhere to the south of Blossom Hill.
Tony Alarcon December 12, 2013 at 01:17 PM
Ed, People in support of this build out at 485K' versus the 350K' use "a small handful are opposed" as a reason? My issue is this statement is not based on any facts but is rather an opinion. I guess we'll let the ballot measure prove out how "small" of a group the opposed actually are. My opinion is the facts regarding this project and its financial differential benefit to LG at 350K' or 485K' is not being shown by the developer. Why? Its a simple thing to show. I fully support a Class A commercial build out 35' tall:) Underground parking would be nice for the neighbors as they oppose the parking garages next to their homes due to noise, fumes from gas engines etc. Yes it lowers developer profits... The comment on the large combustion engines I don't get but since you seem to be a conscious environmentalist given your APR profile, why not support the environmental experts and their EIR recommendation of 350K" build out? Why go over board and build a larger project more harmful to the environment? Seems hypocritical to me. Just saying... We don't live in a bubble never will but we can keep the build outs reasonable. I stand on my factual comment its more profitable to build 450k'. This is a profit driven project period.
Jesse Kimbrel December 12, 2013 at 01:23 PM
I drive by the Netflix building daily on my commute and it's certainly one of the better looking buildings on Winchester blvd. It's also great to have companies like Netflix and Barracuda so close to Los Gatos and Campbell because it makes commuting easy for their employees. Winchester is a fairly industrial road with many businesses so having large companies with nice looking buildings don't seem to hurt the view, but rather add to it. Traffic is already bad in Los Gatos just like it is all over the Bay Area - it's just something you have to deal with when you live here.
Gary Hinze December 12, 2013 at 04:16 PM
I'm trying to stay out of this, it is not my fight on either side. The proposed 65' buildings are not right next to the residential area. They are along Highway 85. There is low office space between the residential and the proposed development. The views of the hills are in the opposite direction, the buildings will not obstruct the view. The views of the hills and the direction toward the proposed buildings are already obstructed by tall trees that will get taller. One area of concern might be increased traffic loads, but there was already office space in there. And the Charter park neighborhood roads are not directly affected, they do not connect to Winchester. General plans always allow variances. If the Town Council can enact a GP, they also have jurisdiction to amend it at any time. Ultimately this initiative will be decided by a vote. A vote does not preclude lawsuits. Enactments of legislative bodies and majority votes on propositions have been overturned in courts. Ideally the interested parties will be able to get together and hash out the conflicts until they find a mutually satisfying balance of their interests. The valley is no longer covered with prune and apricot orchards. You are not going to go back to an imaginary idyllic past.
Ed Dee December 12, 2013 at 05:36 PM
Thanks for your comments, Gary and Tony. I agree with you, taking it to a vote by the folks who live here and are directly effected is the fair thing to do. If you see me at the voting booth please say hello. I'm happy to buy you both a cup at the coffee roaster and discuss. Happy holidays.
Larry Arzie December 12, 2013 at 05:58 PM
Jesse, the current Netflix structures are not what is being build. They are 25 and 35 feet higher and cheap glass wall construction better located in downtown San Jose. If the developer built a repeat performance there would not be lawsuits and signature gatherings. 3000 signatures are easy to get especially when you lie to get them. "Keep Netflix in Los Gatos" "Save Jobs"............these are emotional lines used to get a signature at everyones expense. Remember these barkers are paid gatherers at a buck a signature. Netflix has already leased less than half the project with options to lease more. No jobs are being lost. The developers knowingly allowed lies to take place in order to get the signatures. This developer is exploiting our town.
Marilyn Leonard December 12, 2013 at 06:20 PM
I think that Netflix, its jobs and its taxes are good for Los Gatos.
Larry Arzie December 12, 2013 at 06:26 PM
Marilyn, nobody is denying that Jobs and Taxes from Netflix are good and Netflix is not going away. If the developer followed the town regulations Netflix and Jobs would still stay, but the developer wants to put too many and too tall buildings on the site, that Netflix will not be using. Pure greed and bad planning is at issue here, not jobs or loss of Netflix.
Jennifer December 12, 2013 at 06:27 PM
@Gary Hinze - I would ask you to walk along the creek trail behind the development and see if you still believe the development is not right next to 101 homes. It is as close as you can get and is certainly 'right next to' homes. The property will be wonderful when it is redeveloped and I completely support it as long as it is built within the Town's guidelines as stated in our General Plan. If this initiative passes ALL development within the Town will be impacted with new regulations. There will be nothing that developers can't buy their way into. I have watched numerous videotapes of conversations between the petition gatherers (who were paid per signature they obtained) and Los Gatans, not one conversation I listened to/watched was the whole truth and nothing but the truth. They all contained outright lies and misrepresentations. This initiative is a bad thing for the Town.
MichaelJ December 12, 2013 at 07:20 PM
Lets see how judge Hubert rules.
Erik R December 12, 2013 at 11:47 PM
It frustrates me to no end that as a young person, with all the issues with the job market and the economy, there are people actively doing all they can to fight growth and make things even harder for us. It would be understandable if these fights had to do with toxic waste or dangers to the community, but its always about the same thing, anesthetics and traffic, and its the exact same fight with ever single proposal. The reason that businesses are leaving the state isn't over regulation, its the prices, and this is the very cause.
John December 13, 2013 at 10:07 AM
Who is The Carlyle Group? Why is Peter Pau involved in litigation in Sunnyvale? Do we support bullies? Why didn't Carlyle follow the law and get an EIR before a court ordered one? Are the leaders on the Petition being paid by the Developers? Who else is being paid? Has everyone read the Merc November 11 article on traffic gridlock and Mr. Dirdon's comments?
Bob Rosenthal December 13, 2013 at 11:26 AM
I wonder how many people actually read the petition.
John December 14, 2013 at 06:36 PM
Carlyle Hostile Town Takeover: Get Out Your Bikes The Big Money Developers won another round. The environment lost. We all know the 485K is 135K bigger that what all the experts in the EIR signed off as the best developed use of the property. Where we we fooled was thinking the options were 550K, now 485K or nothing. Another solution was 350K. However, the Developers wanted more millions of profit at the expense of the environment, and they may win. So, Los Gatos appear headed for gridlock traffic on Winchester, then LG Blvd. and then Lark. Judge Huber ruled for the Developers a second time. His first decision is on appeal already. The Motion for Stay on construction is pending with the appellate court. One way to deal with the increase in traffic is to become a bike town. More bike racks. More lane protection for riders.
Ed Dee December 14, 2013 at 09:22 PM
Cool. Bikes, horses, walking, skating , clean energy shuttles, and small footprint neighborhood electric vehicles are the environmental solution. As I menfioned, large combustion engine vehicles are a thing of the past in urban areas. The population is exploding. We can not stand in front of a tsunami screaming and shouting with an expectation of stopping it. Gridlock already exists in town, try going anywhere after 5:30p during the "Fantasy of Lights". The one night they allowed foot traffic only, with various parking stations and shuttle buses, the traffic congestion was nominal. Its all a matter of perspective, as so much else is...


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »