Planners in San Jose, California, say the massive conversion of industrial lands is eroding the city's jobs and tax Base. Housing developers disagree.
"Since 1990, San Jose has converted 10% of its industrial land to housing and other uses. In the past three years alone, it has rezoned 800 acres and created over 34,000 housing units. Thanks in part to these changes, San Jose is now the 10th largest city in the nation. But according to the city's planners, the rezoning has also eliminated the capacity for up to 110,000 jobs and strained the municipal budget. This fiscal year, the council had to close a $16 million general fund deficit. New housing generates property taxes but requires more services than industry and commerce."
"'We are just adding to the problem of the structural deficit we have been creating, of how we are going to pay for the police, fire, parks and recreation,' said Deputy Director of Planning Laurel Prevetti. To housing developers' dismay, Prevetti and her colleagues are asking the council to make it harder to convert industrial land to housing. The issue challenges elected officials, who typically depend on developers to bankroll their campaigns. San Jose's predicament highlights tensions between housing development on the one hand and fiscal and employment concerns on the other--tensions that are coming to the fore in other cities in the Bay Area and beyond."