West San Carlos: Part 2

Last month, I wrote about West San Carlos Street as one of the major boulevards in San Jose. West San Carlos is the strategic link between our city’s downtown and the Santana Row/Valley Fair area. A major parcel on West San Carlos is the site of the former Fiesta Lanes bowling alley and retail/auto center. The City Council voted this month to remove the final hurdle in the transformation of this strategic parcel by funding the construction of a housing complex that would be exempt from property tax. The vote was 10-1 in favor of approval, with my vote as the only one against this proposal.

The parcel’s transformation started back in 2002, when the council rezoned it from commercial to residential usage. The composition and nature of the land changed during this process, going from a parcel that was previously comprised of approximately 50,000 square feet of retail/commercial space to one that will eventually become all affordable housing with a token 3,600 square feet of retail. As a result of rezoning, the parcel was transformed from one that could have created more employment opportunities for San Jose residents—and, thus, much-needed revenue for the city—into something quite different. Although eliminating job opportunities may not have been the intention of those who voted in favor of the change, this may very well be the result. 

As we move forward with future development in San Jose, I am hopeful we will review similar opportunities with a long-term vision that takes into account that San Jose has already done more than its fair share in providing housing for the region. We should focus more on the creation of greater and more diversified employment opportunities. This is particularly true when dealing with parcels that are large in size and/or strategically located within San Jose. Such opportunities are seldom, and the decisions we make can have far-reaching implications and repercussions that stretch well into the future.

Pierluigi Oliverio is a councilmember for San Jose’s District 6.


  1. I just watched the video of the 4/9 Council meeting.

    It was item 4.5.  The Mayor gave you the opportunity to move to approve the staff recommendation on this project.  At that point you could have voiced your opposition.  Instead you turned things over to Constant, as the representative “of the district closest to the area, I defer to him to make a motion”, or something like that.  Constant says something like, “I don’t know much about the project, other than what I see here, so I move to approve”.  At that point there’s a vote, and you vote no.

    Here’s the link.  Click on item 4.5.  It’s less than a minute long.


    Sorry, but if you really believe something is wrong, say so.  You are either part of the solution.  Or you are part of the problem.

  2. Pier,
    While it is ostensibly noble of you to always be the lone vote, you aren’t much of a leader if you can never sway other people on the council to vote your way.

  3. I agree that we shouldn’t be building housing exempt from property taxes… however, its not like we have any lack of developable land for employment, just a stranglehold by the NIMBY crowd (partially represented by Oliverio) which prevents most city land from being used for its maximum potential.

  4. Its Not so much what your stance is on everything , its the simple fact that you misrepresent EVERYTHING that you do . Its kinda sickening , this grandiose vision that you have of yourself.  I guess your mom and dad never told you ” just be yourself” . Real leaders lead from the front and step up when needed but never step aside ( something you do on the regular) .Why on gods green earth would San Jose continue to build housing that is exempt from property taxs . If this city needs revenue , then why does San Jose continue to give money away ( other than to lien the pockets of Mayor Reeds Developer buddies pockets)

  5. This is unbelievable, and unfortunately, standard operating procedure for this Council.  For the last several years, employees have been told that revenues are down, and would be raised as part of the City’s attempt to balance the budget.  Citizen’s had simply been told that employees cost too much, with nary a mention of the revenue problem.

    However, no attempt has been made at all to raise general fund revenue, and this demonstrates how the Council cannot even see straight to solve a problem.

    Approve a development that is not only exempt from property taxes, only has a token commercial element for sales tax revenue, but more than likely will generate a huge demand for City services, such as police and fire?  Why, and how serious is this Council about raising revenues?

    City employees cannot continue to ask these questions, the citizens of San Jose need to wake up and demand accountability.

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