Close Reid-Hillview

Let's consider four alternatives to the airport: a park, housing and a park, a technical school and housing, and a high-tech campus and housing.

Park:

Although a park will not provide as many overall benefits as the other alternatives it still is a much better use of the land than RHV and will benefit nearly all county residents.  As Santa Clara county becomes more and more urbanized parks will become a greater and greater asset to any community.

Park benefits:

1. The livability and desirability of the surrounding neighborhood will immediately increase.

2. As East San Jose becomes a more desirable location the school system and other social institutions will benefit.

3.  East San Jose will become a viable alternative for people looking for good homes in a great location.

4. Blight and crime in the area will decrease.

5. Instead of the land producing approximately $10,000,000 per year for the economy it will produce a minimum of 1 billion dollars a year simply from the home appreciation that will result from closing the airport. [11]

6. Home equity will increase for local home owners allowing them to remodel their homes, send their children to college, and increase their family's net worth.

7. The increased property tax collection from home sales will benefit San Jose and the local school system.

8. The entire Bay area will benefit from the new park.

9. Light rail will be extended down Capitol Expressway providing an alternative commute vehicle to the park.

10. Local residents can either walk or bicycle to the park.

11. All county residents will benefit from a revitalized East San Jose.

12.  Sales at Eastridge, and other local businesses, will probably increase from the visitors to the park.

13.  This increase can provide additional tax revenue.

14. No more pilots flying in circles, over and over and over, practicing takeoffs and landings and disturbing thousands of eastside residents.

15. No more lead poisoning of pregnant women, children, and adults [9].

16. No more physical and psychological harm to children and adults from noise [10].

17. The inevitable fatal plane crash into a school, apartment, Eastridge, or a house will be avoided. (not a daily benefit, but still important).

Park drawbacks:

1.  No housing for Santa Clara county residents.

2.  No additional sales tax revenue or tax revenue from a high-tech campus for the school system.

Housing and park:

Another alternative is just housing and a park.  A well designed site of single family homes, town homes, apartments, and a park, coupled with the light rail extended down Capitol Expressway, would result in one of the more desirable neighborhoods in Santa Clara county.  Nearly all the benefits from developing the site as a high-tech campus or educational campus would also be realized if the site is developed with housing and a park.  Although this would contribute to San Jose's jobs and housing imbalance, the benefits from this far outweigh the drawbacks.  In fact, one drawback (new schools) can also be considered a benefit.

Housing and park benefits:

1. The additional sales tax revenue generated from increased sales at adjacent Eastridge mall will benefit the entire city. 

2. The increased sales will result in more profit for the Eastridge stores.

3. Most, if not all, East San Jose businesses will see an increase in sales.

4. The increased sales will provide more jobs for local residents, including entry level jobs for area youth.

5. The livability and desirability of the surrounding neighborhood will immediately increase.

6. Some, or all, of the new housing can be low income housing or designated for teachers, the police, etc.

7. As East San Jose becomes a more desirable location the school system and other social institutions will benefit.

8.  East San Jose will become a viable alternative for people looking for good homes in a great location.

9.  New, state of the art, schools will be built.  This will provide an incentive to upgrade existing schools.

10. Blight and crime in the area will decrease.

11. Instead of the land producing approximately $10,000,000 per year for the economy it will produce a minimum of 1 billion dollars a year simply from the home appreciation that will result from closing the airport.  [11]

12. Home equity will increase for local home owners allowing them to remodel their homes, send their children to college, and increase their family's net worth.

13. The increased property tax collection from home sales will benefit San Jose and the local school system.

14. The entire Bay area will benefit from the new housing and park.

15. Light rail will be extended down Capitol Expressway providing an alternative commute vehicle.

16. Local residents can either walk or bicycle to the park.

17. All county residents will benefit from a revitalized East San Jose.

18. Developing Reid-Hillview will delay and minimize housing development in Coyote Valley, Gilroy, Morgan Hill, etc.

19. No more pilots flying in circles, over and over and over, practicing takeoffs and landings and disturbing thousands of eastside residents.

20. No more lead poisoning of pregnant women, children, and adults [9].

21. No more physical and psychological harm to children and adults from noise [10].

22. The inevitable fatal plane crash into a school, apartment, Eastridge, or a house will be avoided. (not a daily benefit, but still important).

Housing and park drawbacks:

1. An increase in permanent residents and traffic from the new housing.

2.  New schools need to be built to accommodate the new students (also considered a benefit).

High-tech college campus and housing:

Another excellent alternative is to build housing and a technical school on this site.  The school would offer college level classes in electronics, computer science, etc.  This would provide county youth, and others, the skills needed to get a good job in the high-tech industry.  The school could partner with local universities so that all technical classes are offered there and the other classes required for a degree would be offered at the other universities.  Although a complete college education is preferable, simply learning the technical skills of engineering would let people get to work in 2 years versus the 4 needed for a full degree.  The additional classes required for a degree could be completed over time.

High-tech college campus and housing benefits:

1. The additional sales tax revenue generated from increased sales at adjacent Eastridge mall will benefit the entire city. 

2. The increased sales will result in more profit for the Eastridge stores.

3. Most, if not all, East San Jose businesses will see an increase in sales.

4. The increased sales will provide more jobs for local residents, including entry level jobs for area youth.

5. The high-tech educational campus will provide a variety of jobs for local residents.

6. The school, and students, locating at this site can be encouraged to support the local schools with equipment, supplies, and voluntary help.

7. The tax revenue from the school located on the site will benefit the East San Jose school system.

8.  The increase in technically qualified graduates will reduce dependency on immigration to fill jobs.

9.  Since these new employees will spend the majority of their income locally, instead of sending a sizable portion back to their home country, the local economy will benefit.

10. The livability and desirability of the surrounding neighborhood will immediately increase.

11. Educators and workers at the campus will move into the neighborhood.

12. Some, or all, of the new housing can be low income housing or designated for teachers, the police, etc.

13. As East San Jose becomes a more desirable location the school system and other social institutions will benefit.

14. Blight and crime in the area will decrease.

15. Instead of the land producing approximately $10,000,000 per year for the economy it will produce a minimum of 1 billion dollars a year simply from the home appreciation that will result from closing the airport.  [11]

16. Home equity will increase for local home owners allowing them to remodel their homes, send their children to college, and increase their family's net worth.

17. The increased property tax collection from home sales will benefit San Jose and the local school system.

18. The entire Bay area will benefit from additional educational facilities and additional housing.

19. Since the campus will be virtually deserted at night and on the weekends, permanent local traffic will only minimally increase.

20. Light rail will be extended down Capitol Expressway providing an alternative commute vehicle.

21. Local residents can either walk or bicycle to school or work.

22. All county residents will benefit from a revitalized East San Jose.

23. Developing Reid-Hillview will delay and minimize housing development in Coyote Valley, Gilroy, Morgan Hill, etc.

24. No more pilots flying in circles, over and over and over, practicing takeoffs and landings and disturbing thousands of eastside residents.

25. No more lead poisoning of pregnant women, children, and adults [9].

26. No more physical and psychological harm to children and adults from noise [10].

27. The inevitable fatal plane crash into a school, apartment, Eastridge, or a house will be avoided. (not a daily benefit, but still important).

High-tech college campus and housing drawbacks:

1. A slight increase in local traffic during school hours Monday through Friday.

2. A slight increase in permanent residents and traffic from the new housing.

High-tech campus and housing:

Finally,  suppose a high-tech campus and housing is built on the 180 acres occupied by RHV.  Since Sun Microsystems will employ 5,000 people on their new 80 acre site in Santa Clara (Agnews), I am assuming that if we use 120 acres for business and 60 acres for housing there will be approximately 6,000 people on the land throughout the day, Monday through Friday.  My rationale for suggesting the land be used in this manner is that RHV is located at the intersection of 101 and 280/680.  This location is the gateway to the Bay area and is a perfect location for commuters in that it is easily accessible from the north, south, east, and west.  Also, Capitol Expressway has been widened with a carpool lane added in each direction between 101 and 680, and the Light Rail will be extended down Capitol Expressway. Companies would love to locate at this site. 

As we all know, San Jose has an  imbalance between jobs and housing. Using all 180 acres for housing would add to this imbalance.  However, building housing into the high-tech campus makes perfect sense for San Jose, the employees, and others.  With the proper landscaping, an aesthetically pleasing site can be created that will be the envy of all Bay area communities.

High-tech campus and housing benefits:

1. The additional sales tax revenue generated from increased sales at adjacent Eastridge mall will benefit the entire city. 

2. The increased sales will result in more profit for the Eastridge stores.

3. Most, if not all, East San Jose businesses will see an increase in sales.

4. The increased sales will provide more jobs for local residents, including entry level jobs for area youth.

5. The high-tech campus will provide a variety of jobs for local residents.

6. The high-tech companies locating at this site can be encouraged to support the local schools with equipment, supplies, and voluntary help.

7. The tax revenue from the companies located on the site will benefit the East San Jose school system.

8. The tax revenue from the companies located on the site will benefit the entire city.

9. The livability and desirability of the surrounding neighborhood will immediately increase.

10. Workers at the high-tech campus will move into the neighborhood.

11. Some, or all, of the new housing can be low income housing or designated for teachers, the police, etc.

12. As East San Jose becomes a more desirable location the school system and other social institutions will benefit.

13. Blight and crime in the area will decrease.

14. Instead of the land producing approximately $10,000,000 per year for the economy it will produce a minimum of 1 to 2 billion dollars a year. [11]

15. Home equity will increase for local home owners allowing them to remodel their homes, send their children to college, and increase their family's net worth.

16. The increased property tax collection from home sales will benefit San Jose and the local school system.

17. The entire Bay area will benefit from closer jobs, increased housing, and reduced freeway traffic.

18. Since the high-tech campus will be virtually deserted at night and on the weekends, permanent local traffic will only minimally increase.

19. Light rail will be extended down Capitol Expressway providing an alternative commute vehicle.

20. Local residents can either walk or bicycle to school or work.

21. All county residents will benefit from a revitalized East San Jose.

22. Developing Reid-Hillview will delay or minimize development in Coyote Valley and Edenvale.

23. No more pilots flying in circles, over and over and over, practicing takeoffs and landings and disturbing thousands of eastside residents.

24. No more lead poisoning of pregnant women, children, and adults. [9]

25. No more physical and psychological harm to children and adults from noise. [10]

26. The inevitable fatal plane crash into a school, apartment, Eastridge, or a house will be avoided. (not a daily benefit, but still important)

High-tech campus and housing drawbacks:

1. A slight increase in local traffic during rush hour Monday through Friday.

2. A slight increase in permanent residents and traffic from the new housing.

The point to be realized from these options is that there are a tremendous number of things we can do with this land that will truly benefit society.  We are only limited by our imagination.  I am looking forward to the public discussion regarding what to do with this land after the airport closes. 


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 2000 Bud Beacham.  All rights reserved.  Updated July 14, 2000