The Saga of a Patch of Underwater Land in Silicon Valley

The Santa Clara Water District is buying back a piece of land of very little value from a developer who intended it to be part of a "new town" of 100,000 residents. From dream to discard, here is the story.

In the hills east of Highway 101 near Morgan Hill, California lies over a thousand acres bought in the early 1960s by developer Castle & Cooke. It was the era of rampant development in San Jose, and the developer planned a "massive 'New Town' with stores, schools and 100,000 residents." But the tide turned against the quickly spreading city, and the rising environmental movement killed development in the hills. Castle & Cooke sued the city and lost.

Today, reports Paul Rogers, the Santa Clara Valley Water District is buying the land, including a pretty much useless section that is entirely underwater:

"The agency didn't set out to buy underwater land, said Ann Draper, acting chief operating officer of the water district. It needs the dry parcels to comply with state and federal permits, she said, that require the agency to protect the habitat of endangered species that are disturbed when water district crews perform flood control work in hundreds of miles of streams every year across Santa Clara County."

Full Story: Underwater mortgage? Water district to buy real estate that is literally under water


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