Uploaded: Tuesday, October 24, 2000 7 p.m.
Stanford plans face final county vote
Supervisor Simitian proposes solid improvements
to Stanford use permit in preparation for vote next week
On the eve of final county consideration of Stanford's
quest to build up to 3,000 housing units and almost 2 million square
feet of new academic development over the next 10 years, Santa Clara
County Supervisor Joe Simitian has weighed in with a package of
proposals that reflect extraordinary effort and skill at balancing
the needs of the university with the needs of the community.
Simitian's views should and will count for a lot
when the Board of Supervisors holds its final deliberations next
Tuesday, and not only because the board tends to defer to the local
supervisor on matters of land-use policy.
Simitian has made the Stanford use permit application a major priority
and has devoted countless hours to both understanding Stanford's
position and to nudging the university to accept the inevitability
of greater scrutiny and control in the future.
Now, as things begin to fall into place at the 11th hour, Simitian
has put forth solutions to the remaining lingering issues that we
believe shows great understanding and respect for Stanford's needs
while at the same time constitute a sound, fair and defensible approach
to regulating its development.
In a nutshell, here are his proposals:
As a condition for approving all of the development asked for by
Stanford for the next 10 years, the university must complete a "build-out
study" that addresses the question of what the ultimate capacity
is of Stanford lands. Milestones for completing the study would
be set to coincide with the timing of the new academic development.
Stanford should be required to construct the housing that is necessary
to mitigate the new academic development in a "loose" lock-step
with that development, with some flexibility for changes in the
local housing market.
15 percent of the housing needed to accommodate the employees related
to academic development should be set aside for lower-income wage-earners
so that these individuals are not forced to commute long distances,
or, in the alternative, a fund be established to provide affordable
housing within six miles of the university.
Stanford should be required to commit one acre of its unincorporated
land to open space for 99 years for every 2,000 square feet of academic
development it undertakes, under a concept Simitian calls "Compact
Urban Development (CUD) Commitment Credits."
The so-called CUD Credits are based on the notion that development
on Stanford lands is being approved contingent on it being clustered
intensely within the core campus area in order to avoid sprawl on
outlying lands. In effect, we are evaluating Stanford's development
needs for its entire 4,000 acres, but situating it in a compact
manner desired both by the university and the community.
Should Stanford fully complete the proposed 2 million square feet
of academic development over the next 10 years, it would be obligated
to designate 1,000 acres, as determined in the next few weeks through
negotiations between the county and Stanford, to set aside for 99
We believe each of Simitian's proposals accomplishes key objectives
for the surrounding community while at the same time allowing Stanford
to fulfill its needs without unreasonable constraints.
Stanford will undoubtedly and understandably argue for as much
flexibility as possible in how it develops over the next 10 years,
and it deserves great credit for the steps taken in the plan and
in recent agreements to respond to the regional housing crisis and
the needs of the local schools.
But in the final analysis it is fair and appropriate for the county
to insist upon the guidelines and limitations being proposed by
We have every confidence that Stanford, consistent with its stated
goal of forging a stronger partnership with the community, will
not only find that it can accept the plan as amended by Simitian's
proposals, but can do so with the understanding that it is in the
long-term best interests of both the university and the local community.