Profound and Unwanted Changes for Los Gatos

 

Village House of Books does not regularly take political stances, but we feel that this issue is one of paramount importance to the survival of the local businesses we know and love in Los Gatos and our business itself, so we can’t be silent.

Village House of Books is in opposition to the proposed North 40 Development. Many things define our community, but probably the most important is our charming downtown. The Downtown cannot be replicated by any development, but it can be harmed grievously by an unwise one. The North 40 development before you will do serious damage to the economic vitality of the downtown. The Los Gatos downtown is a fragile entity and it requires a critical mass of people to be vibrant: people walking the streets and the shopping. The North 40 Specific Plan allows for 400,000 new square feet of retail (60,000 sf in the first proposal). That is not much below the mammoth 525,000 sf of retail at Santana Row. Our downtown has not more than 230,000 sf of ground floor retail. Combine the North 40 project with the damage already done to the downtown from competition by the revitalized downtown Campbell and we have the potential for a serious drop in people visiting our downtown. What happens if 10 to 20% less people visit the Downtown? The North 40 will have beautiful walking streets, plenty of new restaurants with outdoor seating, national retail stores, and abundant parking conveniently off the Lark Ave exit of Highway 17. As one of the current council members wrote during the North 40 study session: “It is difficult to see what specific restaurant and retail providers would not impact our downtown”

The North 40 proposal stands in direct contradiction to the Town’s North 40 Vision Statement. How is 400,000 sf of retail “seamlessly woven into the fabric of our community…complementing…other Los Gatos residential and business neighborhoods.” And supposedly the North 40 will “…address the Town’s…commercial unmet needs.” Does Los Gatos have 400,000 sf of “commercial unmet needs?” Does anyone really believe that?

Do we want the downtown to become like Saratoga’s? The North 40 will do to our downtown what Valley Fair and Santana Row has done to Downtown San Jose: destroy it. Los Gatos has suffered without a bookstore for years since the closure of Borders…North 40 will destroy Village House of Books. Our Downtown is under attack from traffic congestion, lack of parking, and competition. The planning Commission and Council should be working to promote our Downtown, not voting for a second one.

This is a revised letter as originally prepared by the Committee to Protect Downtown Los Gatos.

Sincerely,
Steve and Cheryl Hare, Owners of Village House of Books
Kendrick Hough, Social Media Coordinator for Village House of Books

The Official Website of the North 40 Plan:
http://www.losgatosca.gov/1729/North-40-Specific-Plan-Area

The Planning Commission
North 40 Proposal
110 E. Main Street
Los Gatos,  CA 95030
Email

Council Members
Town Council
North 40 Proposal
110 E Main St
Los Gatos, CA 95030
Mayor Spector
Vicemayor Sayoc
Council Member Jensen
Council Member Leonardis
Council Member Rennie

The Official Website of Town Not City, a grassroots organization committed to defeating the plan.
Town Not City Facebook

Please add your voice by copying and personalizing the form letter below and add your feelings on the North 40 plan and email it to the Planning Commission.

[Name of your business or property] I am writing in opposition to the proposed North 40 Development. Many things define our community, but probably the most important is our charming downtown. The Downtown cannot be replicated by any development, but it can be harmed by one. The North 40 development before you will do serious damage to the economic vitality of the downtown. The Los Gatos downtown is a fragile entity and it requires a critical mass of people to be vibrant: people walking the streets and the shopping. The North 40 Specific Plan allows for 400,000 new square feet of retail (60,000 sf in the first proposal). That is not much below the 525,000 sf of retail at Santana Row. Our downtown has not more than 230,000 sf of ground floor retail. Combine the North 40 project with the damage already done to the downtown from competition by the revitalized downtown Campbell and we have the potential for a serious drop in people visiting our downtown. What happens if 10 to 20% less people visit the Downtown? The North 40 will have beautiful walking streets, plenty of new restaurants with outdoor seating, national retail stores, and abundant parking conveniently off the Lark Ave exit of Highway 17. As one of the current council members wrote during the North 40 study session: “It is difficult to see what specific restaurant and retail providers would not impact our downtown”

The North 40 proposal stands in direct contradiction to the Town’s North 40 Vision Statement. How is 400,000 sf of retail “seamlessly woven into the fabric of our community…complementing…other Los Gatos residential and business neighborhoods.” And supposedly the North 40 will “…address the Town’s…commercial unmet needs.” Does Los Gatos have 400,000 sf of “commercial unmet needs?” Does anyone really believe that?
Do we want the downtown to become like Saratoga’s? The North 40 will do to our downtown what Valley Fair and Santana Row has done to Downtown San Jose: destroy it. Our Downtown is under attack from traffic congestion, lack of parking, and competition. The planning Commission and Council should be working to promote our Downtown, not voting for a second one.

I strongly urge you to vote against this North 40 Development Proposal.

[Your Name]

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