Another 206 Acres Purchased in Coyote Valley for Preservation

The Peninsula Open Space Trust has purchased another 206 acres in mid-Coyote Valley, bumping the permanently protected land in and around Coyote Valley to more than 3,300 acres.

That 206 acres is in addition to an adjacent 60-acre property purchased in November last year, and another 65-acre property that the Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) preserved earlier this month. The most recent acquisition from Shapell Properties Inc., comes after years of deliberations, planning and millions of dollars spent to shift the future of the rolling valley between the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Diablo Mountain Range from redevelopment to preservation.

“We took a little bit of a risk on that, not being quite sure how it was all going to fit together and what our plans would be to transfer that property to a public agency in the future,” Ben Wright, director of land transactions for POST said.

Though POST and the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority has pushed to protect the land from development since 2017, the effort started paying off in November 2019, when the San Jose City Council agreed to scrap plans to create 35,000 new jobs on 937 acres in the North Coyote Valley in favor of keeping the land relatively untouched. The deal amounted to $93.46 million, funded partly with $43.6 million by Measure T, which was approved by San Jose voters in 2018.

A map of the area conserved in mid-Coyote Valley. (Photo courtesy of POST)

At one time, the North Coyote Valley and mid-Coyote Valley were set to become home to up to 50,000 jobs and 25,000 homes combined.

“It’s taking a huge effort to work with private landowners and the city and the county to fulfill this conservation vision,” Andrea Mackenzie, general manager for Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority said.

All that work could become a model for the state and county, in line with the 30 by 30 initiative signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in Oct. 2020 and President Joe Biden in Jan. 2021, Mackenzie says.

“Covid has really opened our eyes to the important connections between people and nature,” she said. “There’s tremendous interest and response to the conservation vision that people are seeing coming to fruition in Coyote Valley.”

Two years later, Wright says he’s happy with the progression of the conservation efforts.

“It’s been very fast,” he said. “A lot of the parcels have turned green just in the last four years, so it’s a very rapid pace, starting with the large 937-acre collaborative effort and now continuing with several of these key pieces.”

Leaving the Coyote Valley unpaved, conservation advocates say, will help Santa Clara Valley residents by helping to prevent flooding in areas downstream from the valley. It will also go a long way to protect the water supply and maintain water quality in the groundswell of Coyote Basin and Santa Clara Basin, where most of the area’s water supply is stored.

“The vision is to protect and restore the greater Coyote Valley for the multiple conservation benefits that it provides…across one of the last undeveloped valley floors in the San Francisco Bay Area,” Mackenzie said

Today, the conserved areas include Santa Teresa County Park, North Coyote Valley Conservation Area, Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve, Coyote Creek Parkway, and Tilton Ranch—a “growing sea of green” along Highway 101 and Santa Teresa Boulevard.

“I think it’s fair to say that in the next couple of years,” Mackenzie said, “you’ll have a seamless green belt of protected lands from Morgan Hill to San Jose along the Fisher Creek Flood Plain.”


  1. Just goes to show. Even a monkey poking at a typewriter forever will inevitably write something sensible.
    The voters actually got one right in 2018 with Measure T.
    Glad to see Coyote Valley safe from development and thanks to all those who spearheaded the movement.

  2. This sort of thing is why Housing cost so much in the Bay Area. Not that i don’t like it, but I already own a home. You can’t have your cake & eat it to San Jose.

  3. At least some honesty. Those that openly embrace these “welfare for the rich” schemes and say I got mine, you’re going to have to go elsewhere to get yours, I tip my hat to your candor. There is real truth to that position, albeit unpopular.

    To those who whine and moan endlessly about the cost of renting and development in Silicon Valley and cheer this on (along with counter productive inclusionary fees, et al), you are either clueless or a hypocrite. You don’t want to build in San Jose, you don’t want to build in Coyote Valley. Guess what? The “welcomed” are just going to drive that many more miles to get to work. Urban Sprawl is sprawl even if it’s over the Altamonte Pass.

    Why can’t you put one and one together?

    Willfully ignorant, masochistic, or just greedy?

  4. While some might see partial relief from more overcrowding in this action, more than might enjoy the environmentalist angle to this, the majority of astute people see the hypocrisy in any government doing this then joining the complaint about the lack of housing, or of affordable housing. This is simply a gap in long, LONG-standing development in the Bay Area proper and to the south that was chosen to remain a gap. As with the Diridon Station area, too, this area could have had some of it taken by the city to build the affordable housing so often the subject of complaints.

    AGAIN, I remind you also not to overlook financial, real estate, other interests at stake with politicians as well as other big “players” in the area from having no development permitted in Coyote Valley and development pressure channeled or directed toward existing developed areas, for “infill” or specific area redevelopment.

  5. Coyote Valley and the hillsides are examples of areas that can be built on, with the challenges being political only, as with a number of other things.

    Meanwhile, the remark about “trans-Altamont” being the commuter shed is interesting. (It began to become a commuter shed extension with Tracy an area household name starting in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but has become more in the news lately with “super-commuter” new nomenclature to appear snazzy as well as some kind of discovery with more people going there now.) Here we have area that’s not only “cis-Altamont,” meaning in the Bay Area, but still local by loose standards or the next closest thing if tighter. No housing to be, though.

    It’s also a reminder that the commuters are beyond Altamont Pass and have been there for two generations now, yet the South Bay political interests got the high-speed rail project (or at least money to be spent) directed south and through Pacheco Pass. Los Banos commuters to San Jose exist and have been in news articles, but are trivial compared to the Altamont area (through Stockton to Sacramento and beyond, as with the I-80 corridor from Contra Costa County.

    With each and all of these, as usual: That’s local leadership for you.

    Will they even try to develop some of Coyote Valley into a park, while trying to keep it clean and safe, another local and area concern now that has developed?

  6. One can never quite understand the lefts mindset demanding to throw old people out of their homes to be replaced with homeless that can’t afford to pay for anything more substantial than a blue tarp tent and a Homer bucket to $chitt in. Yet buying up 200 acer rural plots of buildable land is deemed Saintly in an area that is surrounded with tens of thousands of acers of vacant land. Better yet we turn it into a park that won’t allow visitors.

  7. Building a green zone is how you reduce urban sprawl while increasing urban density. I really like how San Jose is building up high density housing downtown while preserving green space for recreation and mental therapy at the borders.

  8. The above landlord commentator(s) exhibit(s) a mid-20th century “horizontalist” land-use fixation. In the post-war period, orchard farmers and ranchers, the old social classes that dominated local governments and politics for decades, initially sold significant land tracts to Southern Pacific railroad, Ford, General Motors, Lockheed, Varian Associates and other manufacturing and electronics businesses. Such businesses fueled explosive post-war economic and population growth in the Valley.

    In the 1950s, several cities followed Stanford University’s lead and began to develop industrial parks to accommodate and attract more manufacturing and research businesses and, later, to zone more lands for commercial and residential development. This entailed frantic and often uncoordinated annexation and incorporation of unincorporated county orchard lands into urban limits with corresponding changes in their use regimes. This, of course, strongly boosted the value of the incorporated lands to the enormous benefit of landowners who were key proponents of these annexations (see UD_Policies_in_SCC_by_Don_Weden.pdf;

    San Jose city officials in the 1950s were particularly aggressive annexationists who consciously and carelessly allowed growth “to take place not where inhabitants as a whole wanted it, nor where reason dictated, but rather wherever developers chose” leading observers to designate San Jose a “mis-planned city” (Stanford Environmental Law Society, “San Jose: Sprawling City. A Report on Land Use Policies and Practices in San Jose, California,” Stanford Law School, March 1971). Real estate interests’ grip on city government shaped the horizontal urban–or rather the suburban–character of San Jose, creating huge accumulations of real estate wealth where fruit orchards and farms once stood.

    This resulted in almost wall-to-wall, low-density and relatively expensive single-family residential development, rather than denser, multi-unit and relatively inexpensive housing. Not coincidentally, the single-family model had the effect of excluding lower income residents–disproportionately Hispanic, East Asian and Black. The cost barrier was combined with the race-infused discriminatory practices of homeowners’ associations, real estate brokers and banks that helped to create and shape the mainly White West Side and the largely Hispanic and East Asian East Side of San Jose (see 302a7b292855a.pdf?t=qc30qt).

    Given this history and context, rational, environmentally-sustainable and socially equitable housing means preserving open spaces and agricultural lands to the maximum extent possible. It also means building relatively dense housing with easy access to public transport, amenities and services, very much like the housing located on the San Jose State University (SJSU) campus. Such affordable, convenient and efficient housing is publicly-owned, publicly-operated and publicly-maintained and is built on public land (

    San Jose is the third most populous city in California behind Los Angeles and San Diego but has the ninth highest population density among California’s biggest cities. At about 5,500 persons per square mile (about 8.5 persons per acre), San Jose’s population to land density is 70% lower than San Francisco’s, 55% below that of Santa Ana, 40% less than Long Beach’s, about 30% below that of Los Angeles and about 20% below that of Anaheim. Furthermore, with about 188 square miles, San Jose’s land mass is the third largest among California’s most populous cities, behind Los Angeles and San Diego. So there is plenty of room for denser infill growth (–population-density–city-rank.htm;

    The way forward is for the city or county to provide the land from its own holdings, from purchases and/or by use of eminent domain at strategical locations around the city. The city or county can also build, rent and maintain or build, sell and maintain the housing in order to insure supply and quality using SJSU campus housing as a template. Of course, other arrangements could be made, but city or county government must play a dominant role in the process if affordability and availability are to be insured. A century of private real estate development has clearly shown itself to be an utter failure in providing what is needed.

  9. I love it.

    If the above commenters are such evil landlords, we would be cheering this absolute cynical manipulation of the common concern by “ending” or blocking urban sprawl. This is an absolute joke. Blocking development in any form, adding costs to new development, passing regulations that keep new entrants (both landlords and new units) out of the market are a landlords wet dream, a gift of free and tax deferable gains. The entire braindead ideology bespoken for above are the juiciest of the juicy welfare for the rich schemes.

    You want to see landlords cry in the corner like a little baby? Build Build Build. Fill the SF Bay and build house and roads. But if you think landlords shiver on the thought of Ms. Arenas et al being able to build competitive housing what will actually hurt business you are deluding yourself. The best thing ever for a landlord is a society so brainwashed that it thinks it can build public housing to alleviate high rents. Have you not been paying attention for the past 100 years? LIHTC programs can build units at a rapid rate perhaps, but it doesn’t take an afternoon of driving and watching Light Rail pass by as a reminder we have nothing to worry about from the city or county doing anything other that pass higher taxes and waste more money.

    And the clown that thinks blocking development stops urban sprawl, smh at public school indoctrination. Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean San Jose and Silicon Valley aren’t causing sprawl. It is just worse because inhabitants of said “sprawl” now drive 1-2 hours a day instead of 30 min to an hour to get to work, adding more “emissions” and regressively taxing the “sprawlers” (many of which are working to middle class) to pay for your bike lanes (which most are upper middle class to Richie Riches). Those “sprawlers” also get to spend less time with their kids. Thanks!

  10. “A century of private real estate development has clearly shown itself to be an utter failure in providing what is needed”
    A long, wonky description of the development of San Jose followed by this disappointing non-sequitir value judgment of a conclusion.
    The truth is, there are hundreds of thousands of us for whom the private development worked out pretty good and for which we are grateful.

  11. Mr. Galt

    “The truth is, there are hundreds of thousands of us for whom the private development worked out pretty good and for which we are grateful.”

    1.488 million owners in the bay area and 2/3 of all Americans who are very grateful.

    Renting is for the birds…

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