Opinion: Albright Way Ballot Initiative Has Troubling Statements

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—Submitted by Los Gatos resident John Shepardson

One, the "Letter of Intent to Circulate Petition" for the Albright Way ballot initiative has some troubling statements in it:

"The Albright Specific Plan will: (3) take advantage of the transit opportunities presented by the existing transit and planned extension of the Vasona Light Rail ... (6) minimize or mitigate its impact on Town infrastructure and other community services."

Two, there are no present active plans to extend the Vasona Light Rail system because there is no funding. The estimated cost is $175 million for about 1.5 miles of traffic, and the projected ridership is very low. 

I've been told that an informed view has been expressed that it will not be built in our lifetime.  

Given this information, it appears to me it is confusing to the public to suggest a benefit from the proposal that will not occur, if ever, for decades.

Three, the Albright Specific Plan does not minimize impacts on the town infrastructure and other community services. How do we know?  

The town's own environmental impact report stated the best developed land use for the project was 350,000 square feet of office space. 

The Specific Plan seeks 135,000 square feet above what is the best developed use. Therefore, it appears it is confusing to the pubic to suggest the plan minimizes impacts. In fact, it substantially increases impacts beyond 350,000.

In light of the above, it seems to me there is good reason to call into question the entire signature gathering process based on just these apparent misleading statements identified in the "notice."

Moreover, there is the other evidence of inaccurate information flowing to the public: mass mailerNetflix required to issue press release because of calls of concern about their leaving, individual accounts, and video and audio recordings.

Editor's note: Los Gatos resident John Shepardson is an attorney in town and one of the petitioners, along with resident and attorney Andrew Wu, in the Los Gatos Citizens for Responsible Development appeal of the approval of the Albright Way office park project at the corner of Winchester Boulevard and Albright Way.

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Larry Arzie January 14, 2014 at 10:42 PM
John your right on about light rail. When Councilmen Prizynski (a VTA board member) was asked if light rail would every come to Los Gatos, his answer was "when pigs can fly".
Bill Applegate January 14, 2014 at 10:43 PM
See, that's the point John. There is no funding for the expansion of light rail because there is no current need. With the buildout of projects such as Albright and the new residential development on Knowles, the need will increase and the money will be found. With it's existing rail right-of-way and the existing light rail station, Winchester is the ideal location for higher density development. The Sierra Club for years have lobbied to cluster growth around transit hubs. You are trying to limit growth along one of the easiest to develop public transportation corridors left in the bay area. In return we will get more sprawl and more traffic.
Maria Ristow January 15, 2014 at 02:50 AM
Bill, you might be partially right, but there are areas way more impacted than LG without VTA service yet-- think express bus wishes for El Camino Real. LG could build high-density along Winchester and NEVER see light-rail extension. The big problem I see is the lack of access to 17 and southbound 85 without going onto Lark Avenue. Lark is slow, impacted and narrow. That's not going to change.
Tony B January 15, 2014 at 06:25 PM
We don't need to break Los Gatos code to build taller commercial buildings in lovely Los Gatos. Not even for a company that is not planning to use all the space. As a Los Gatan I'm not in favor of extending the light rail. I have a friend in Baltimore who had their suburban community made more accessible with light rail and it brought with it a bad element that changed the community. It was much easier and more efficient for drug dealers to send their pushers to communities on the rail line. Just something to consider. The north40 project will bring more traffic to Los Gatos.
Larry Arzie January 15, 2014 at 07:10 PM
Lets take a page from San Francisco and follow the 45' hight regulation. George Lucas was denied his taller than 45' building for his personal museum. It would have brought in much needed jobs, and tax base revenue etc. But S.F. said take a hike. He claimed he would build it in another community. He will this week be presenting new plans meeting requirements. Goes to show our town council does not have the backbone to follow the rules. We know our town manager and staff are in bed with the developer but it makes one wonder what our town council will get out of this. Hmmm


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