Just this Wednesday, the San José Mercury News reported that Mayor Chuck Reed asked to postpone the City Council vote to approve the Five Wounds Village Plan, a vote that was originally set for last Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013. This announcement comes after the Five Wounds Village Plan was unanimously approved on September 25th by the Planning Commission to be part of San José’s new Envision 2040 General Plan.
For the last eight years, CommUniverCity San José has helped convene residents, San José State faculty and students, along with many local organizations to integrate that community’s vision for a healthy, connected neighborhood into an Urban Village plan. Designating and creating plans for Urban Village locations is the City of San José’s strategy to promote community planning in areas they would like to see become attractive, mixed-use urban settings.
Mayor Chuck Reed asked to postpone this vote to allow time for City Council to ensure that Urban Village plans are in line with the City’s goal of job growth. In particular, Chuck Reed wants the City Council to approve policies that clarify that Urban Villages will not make it easier to convert areas currently zoned for businesses and jobs (referred to by the City as “employment” lands) into housing. The preservation of employment lands is an important part of San José’s vision to increase city revenue and improve its financial stability.
Here at CommUniverCity San José, we agree that the approval of Urban Village plans needs to happen carefully and with consensus from all stakeholders. As San José develops the rules for how Urban Village plans will be integrated into larger City goals, it is important that it is done carefully, so that the Five Wounds Village Plan can become a model of an collaborative community planning process for other Urban Villages within San José.