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02 March 2009

Herhold: Get ready for the NIMBYs... in San Jose

Remember when the residents of Warm Springs got their pitchforks and torches polite signs and protested the A's invading their neighborhood? If you thought that San Jose was somehow immune from NIMBYs because it's downtown, think again. Merc columnist Scott Herhold writes about residents of the Shasta/Hanchett neighborhood west of downtown. They're getting ready to make their voices heard amidst the renewed ballpark efforts in San Jose.

This is not a new or inconsistent stance. When the ballpark EIR commenced in 2006, these very same residents had plenty of concerns about traffic and light and noise impacts. Back then, the ballpark was expected to hold up to 45,000 people with a height over 200 feet including light standards. Cisco Field is expected to hold 32-35,000 and based on drawings, would be much lower than 200 feet thanks to its two-deck design.

NIMBYs have more to worry about than just a ballpark. Diridon Station is eventually going to be a massive transit hub with BART running underground and HSR running above ground. Preliminary sketches of the HSR platform could have its canopy be 100 feet tall or more. High speed trains also make noise, though it's not of the diesel engine variety. The whole Diridon area is slated for medium rise development, which means lots of future construction, including piledrivers. Adobe bought the nearby San Jose Water Company land and plans an expansion at some point.

Proponents of the ballpark point to all of the naysaying regarding the arena's development. The arena didn't destroy either Shasta/Hanchett or the further away Rose Garden, and it actually led to redevelopment of downtown and the Cahill Park neighborhood immediately west of Diridon Station. A ballpark promises to bring 30,000 people into downtown 81 times a year, at many times simultaneously with a 17,000-person HP Pavilion event. A resident's approval may simply depend on whether or not bringing that many people into SJ is considered a good thing. San Jose isn't forever gripped in a small town/big city conundrum as Fremont is. San Jose's inferiority complex is palpable and pols for the last 20 years have tried to address it in numerous ways.

Herhold's status as a Shasta/Hanchett resident adds a twist. He acknowledges that so far, residents are majority opposed. At the end of his column, he proclaims his support of the ballpark, as long as it's a good deal for the city. He noted the success of HP Pavilion and its effect on the stretch of The Alameda that runs north of his neighborhood. I live closer to SJSU, so I don't have a stake in Shasta Hanchett. However, I may move there at some point to raise a family and take advantage of the schools there. It's also not a bad place if, in the future, I want to walk with my growing child to an A's or Sharks game. That said, I'm with Herhold on the ballpark issue. If the city can make a good deal, let's do it.

Note: I originally posted this without mentioning the neighborhood that would be most affected by a ballpark: Delmas Park.
It's directly under the approach to SJC airport. Sadly, Delmas Park isn't a moneyed enclave like Shasta/Hanchett or the Fremont neighborhoods. It's naturally going to be more difficult for them to have a say in all of this.

For my comments on the original SJ Ballpark EIR, see this post.

23 comments:

Marine Layer said...

Some anon posted a large quote without attribution or a link. Provide either and it'll pass. Next time, try to keep it related to the topic at hand.

Anonymous said...

sorry ML,

i found it in the east bay express...

i actually thought that it was in fact a little related to the topic, but i guess it's more of an FYI...

http://www.eastbayexpress.com/blogs/the_san_jose_a_s__why_it_won_t_happen/Content?oid=935004

Marine Layer said...

It may end up being a quixotic effort, but I suspect that SJ partisans won't be packing up and going home based on Robert Gammon's blog post.

SeligMustDie said...

I live in Cahill Park and most of the neighbors I speak to are VERY much opposed to this development. Usually the discussion turns heated very quickly. I expect a large outcry over a ballpark so close to so many homes. It's sad since a ballpark would do so much good for downtown and in turn the city as a whole.

Anonymous said...

How stupid are these people? They already live next to the arena AND train tracks, and what's happened as a result? Nothing. At least the Fremont people were without clear evidence to the contrary. I suspect they will be won over as with many non-suburban developments in the area.

Dan said...

I have a feeling Cahill Park's objections will largely be ignored, particularly if the rest of the city wants the stadium.

Anonymous said...

These neighbors expressed similar concerns when the arena was built and this didn't stop the arena from being built and rejuvenating the broader area. They have valid concerns around parking, traffic and noise that is addressed in the EIR---

Bottom line work to mitigate as much as possible but it won't stop the ballpark from being built--you chose to live in an urban environment and they tend to have large train stations and large gathering places including arenas and ballparks--

Anonymous said...

call me a "nimby" if you'd like but I'm a baseball fan who lives in downtown sj and I for one am dead set AGAINST this proposal. I've seen all the stunts that wolff has pulled first in oakland, then in fremont ... he has not revealed a sound financial plan and I have real fears that the taxpayers will end up footing a large portion of the bill. also, I have HUGE concerns over the traffic and congestion near my home. those who don't live near by have NO RIGHT to claim that we "nimby's" don't know what we're talking about!!! how would YOU like a huge ballpark built in your backyard with young kids????? I am going to fight this tooth and nail just like the fremont folks did and I know many others in my neighborhood that will do the same!!!!!

a's should stay where they are in oakland!!!

Marine Layer said...

So you're not going to wait until an actual proposal is out before rendering judgment? How democratic of you.

Anon, I guess I'll be seeing you at the HSR sessions coming up? Or did I see you at the BART sessions? Will you show up at the ballpark sessions when they get going?

Or does your posting style reveal that you're a certain anon who doesn't actually live in downtown SJ and just comes around here to troll? Hint: Try using CAPS for things other than emphasis.

Dan said...

Anon,
You do realize that IF any public money were to go to the A's there would have to be a public vote first right? The city would have to agree that it wanted to spend public money. So you'd get your say.

Anonymous said...

Those of you who are rooting for the HSR to deliver folks from Fresno or Los banos to a downtown SJ stadium , you should have seen the vehement protesting from Palo Alto residents when an HSR rep met with them recently when they heard the HSR would not run on CalTrain tracks through the Peninsula but on separate elevated tracks requiring taking out significant chunks of a lot of backyards in the heart of Palo Alto,Menlo Park,Atherton,Hillborough, and Burlingame, etc- you know the home to " po' folks" w/o a voice like those living near Diridon who can be steamrolled by the politicians .

Tony D. said...

Maybe it's just me, but if I choose to buy a condo, loft, or row-house west of Diridon Station, I'm looking for a lifestyle filled with urban amenities and a downtown vibe. I'm not looking for quiet, suburban living ala Hollister or Los Banos. That's why I don't buy all this nonsense that all residents downtown will be against a ballpark. Heck, HP Pavilion is already in existence and Diridon Station on steroids is coming.

anon 3:13,
Enough with your NIMBY peninsula nonsense! It's not all Palo Alto residents who are against high-speed rail, hence the 65% approval for Prop. 1A on the peninsula. It's a few, loud hard-core deniers who can pack scoping meetings and organize marches. They don't represent the greater electorate, and you know it! Anyhow, back to baseball...

Paul said...

I work down the street from AT&T Park and have watched a Safeway, townhouses and other sorts of buildings all springing up around the ballpark in the past few years. That's right, folks, people are moving near the ballpark instead of moving out, despite ballpark traffic, "light pollution," and all. If a ballpark is death for the neighborhood and property values, these folks near AT&T Park haven't gotten the message.

Apparently, when the San Jose arena was put up for a vote, it passed in all the neighborhoods except the one where it actually is. There were even supposed to have been complaints that the arena would cause traffic backs up miles away in Willow Glenn. Never happened and the arena is the jewel of San Jose. The San Jose ballpark would be another jewel.

Go A's to San Jose!!

Eryn said...

I lived in San Diego for many years and watched downtown SD change quite dramatically. Sure there was gentrification, and now empty condos no one can afford, but that's not what this blog is about... I'm just trying to say I agree with those who believe a downtown ballpark is a good thing. It's fun, and it makes going out to a game an all day or all night event, because there is plenty to do around without getting into a car. I don't have any numbers on how much the park cost, how much taffic increased (still not as bad - depending on the direction you're coming from- as Mission Valley gets during a Charger game), or how well business has been doing downtown after the park was built. I just have my experience, and I love Petco Park. I think it might even be better (in some ways) than the Giants stadium, only because the downtown area is concentrated around the stadium and had previously been designed to be a downtown shopping and dining area. The weather helps too..

Anonymous said...

We have many friends in San Diego area . When PETCO opened , they say restuarant/merchant biz in the area dropped instead of rose as anticipated . They suspected a lot of customers who aren't Padres fans just avoided the area on game days -esp evening games of which there are a lot more in SoCal. Most of the attendees probably ate hot dogs and dranks beer at the park , then got back in their cars . Maybe it's better now for the surrounding area .

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:09---we have a data point for San Jose---when the Sharks are in town or there is an event at the arena the downtown is hoping with many of businesses benefiting from those who, like myself, grab a meal and a drink before heading into the arena---double the attendance with a stadium and you have double the positive impact---Ask any of the downtown businesses if they support a baseball stadium and if I was a betting man I'd put my money on overwhelming support--and I mean overwhelming...

Jesse said...

All this talk of how ballparks change areas make me think Oakland needs the ballpark more.

I dont care where the A's end up in the bay area. Maybe all of the arguments against Oakland can be cured by building in Oakland. I remember the old China Basin. I've heard the stories from Baltimore and Cleveland and San Diego, etc..

I wonder if Schott 15 years ago and now Wolff 5 years ago had been as passionate about Oakland as they have been about the South Bay, would they have a new ballpark right now in Oakland.

Paul said...

Keep in mind that the Fremont project was not killed off because it was unworkable. It was killed off by fear. Don't let the same thing happen in San Jose

Anonymous said...

ML - don't forget the troll's prodigious use of exclamation points and question marks!!!!!!!!!!! It's hard to believe he actually thinks he's fooling anyone.

Anonymous said...

Who is going to build a ballpark in this economy? The Oakland A's will be in Oakland for the foreseeable future until a new ballpark can be built in Jack London Square or in the Coliseum area.

Why do cities covet other city's teams? Has Oakland come after the Sharks? If San Jose wants to have pro teams they should get their own and leave Oakland's teams alone.

If Fremont and San Jose would stop working against Oakland, a ballpark would have already been built in Oakland. This is a region and Oakland is centrally located in this region to anyone who wishes to to attend an Oakland A's game.

How about each municipality keeping their hands off other cities teams?

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:36

Really? Did you really mean that?

God Bless Oakland and its citizens. However, progress and growth dictates change and relocation. You'll enjoy the new San Jose Cisco park trust me.

Anonymous said...

Yes, if only Fremont and San Jose weren't forcing the A's to explore options in their cities, while simultaneously forcing Oakland to allocate all its available land to other projects there would already be a new park in Oakland today! Of course! They would already have won four straight championships in the new park too!

I know Children's Fairyland is in Oakland and all, but try to hover somewhere near reality.

bartleby said...

God bless Oakland for keeping their hands off the San Francisco Warriors and the Kansas City Athletics.