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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Future of Stanford University's Green Spaces in the west SF Bay Area to be Decided April 7th

Dear Friend,

4/2/2009--Santa Clara County Supervisors will decide next Tuesday, April 7th, whether to approve the draft Sustainable Development Study ("Study") submitted by Stanford University as part of Stanford's promises it made for development rights in 2000. Please email or fax the Supervisors to tell them not to approve the Study without significant changes to plan a truly sustainable campus.


70 West Hedding Street, San Jose, California

What’s Happening:

In 2000, as part of Stanford's application for a new General Use Permit, the university demanded nearly five million square feet of development rights from Santa Clara County while refusing to give permanent or 99-year protection against development in the Stanford foothills. Stanford did agree, however, to a requirement to protect the hills beyond the Academic Growth Boundary until 2025, and to submit a non-binding, Sustainable Development Study that would show the "maximum planned buildout potential". The Study could help limit areas of future development.

Stanford claims, and County staff agrees, that because the requirement doesn't include a time limitation, they are free to create a reasonable one, and they chose one that is ten years past the current 2025 limitation. Stanford refuses to make even non-binding predictions of its growth past that point.

Why This Is Important:

The testimony and transcript of County Supervisors in the approval process for the Stanford permit clearly reflect that they meant the Study to be permanent or last at least 99 years. Nothing supports the ten year limitation past the current 2025 timeframe, not even anything said by Stanford at the time.

Nothing blocks Stanford from making non-binding forecasts in the Study that limit development in the foothills. While the forecast would be less detailed going further into the future, it can help constrain Stanford development to the appropriate areas, and encourage using the Stanford Foothills appropriately as places for recreation and for conservation biology. Stanford needs to live up to its promise of sustainability.

What You Can Do

Please email or fax Santa Clara County Supervisors by Monday, April 6th and ask them to modify the Stanford Sustainable Development Study as requested by environmental groups, San Mateo County, and Palo Alto. Ask them to extend the time period it analyzes and to apply a working definition of sustainability to the analysis.

Fax Clerk of the Board of Supervisors (408) 298-8460 (ask that the fax be distributed to all five Supervisors).

Or email all five County Supervisors at once by cutting and pasting these emails into your e-mail:;;;;

Better still would be to come speak at the meeting in at 2 p.m. on Tuesday the 7th.

Please send a copy of your message to CGF so we can track our efforts on this issue: fax 650-968-8431 or email: for speaking up. Your voice does make a difference!

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