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Developers, Conservationists At Odds Over Future Of Coyote Valley In San Jose

SAN JOSE (KPIX) -- There's a land battle brewing in the South Bay that's pitting conservationists versus commercial developers and will likely determine the future of the San Jose's Coyote Valley.

"Coyote Valley is the last, great open space in the city of San Jose. We know this landscape provides tremendous benefits for the public, for wildlife and for the climate," says Andrea Mackenzie, the General Manager of the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority.

Texas-based real estate developer Crow Holdings Industrial has proposed building two massive warehouses on farmland at the intersection of Santa Teresa and Bailey Roads.

The proposed development is located in the heart of the Coyote Valley and surrounded by hundreds of acres of open space.

"We want to preserve Coyote Valley. And preserving Coyote Valley doesn't mean you allow an Amazon warehouse right in the middle of it and preserve everything else," says San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.

On Tuesday, the city council may vote to change to zoning of the land to agricultural which would effectively block further development.

Attorneys representing the property owners say the city is trying to force their clients to sell while simultaneously preventing them from getting fair-market value from the purchase.

"It is about getting a fair price for their land -- fair-market value. They're willing to sell it but not for zero," says former Mayor Chuck Reed who's representing the property owners.

Over the past several decades, several tech giants — IBM, Apple, Cisco — have had they eye on the Coyote Valley. However, plans to build a tech campus in the valley have come and gone. And in more recent years, the pendulum has swung in the direction of conservation.

"I think it's sad that cities and businesses are getting bigger and bigger and bigger and we're not preserving more of the land for the wildlife," says Melanie Hawk who lives in the neighborhoods north of the valley.

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