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Rezoning Efforts in San Jose Vave Calle Willow Residents Worried

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- Business owners in a mostly-Latino San Jose neighborhood are worried about development plans that could price them out of the area.

Most of the people who live and work in the Calle Willow neighborhood have
been there for years. They run the salons, work in the bakeries, grocery stores and restaurants and attend church at Sacred Heart.

The colorful, mostly Spanish speaking neighborhood is bursting with culture. But now, more than ever, people like stylist Miriam Raigosa are worried how much longer their businesses can survive here.

"With the pandemic we were closed for a long time. And now with this in front of us, it's a little scary," said Miriam Raigoza, a hair stylist and shop owner.

Her concern is over city plans that would allow for big new housing developments in business districts. Building height limit changes could spur new residential high rises.

Estella Padilla, who runs a small money transfer business, says the plans could erase the neighborhood as it currently exists.

"If this happens, it will just be another Willow Glen, only for the rich," Padilla said.

Neighbors have organized to fight the proposal, ahead of a crucial city planning commission vote next week.

"In trying to solve one issue, we can't create another one," said Planning Commission Chair Rolando Bonilla.

Bonilla said he supports more "regional" housing planning, that would take pressure off San Jose neighborhood business districts like Calle Willow.

"We need to look at this through the lens of how do we reach our housing goals without undermining the very fabric that makes San Jose so great," Bonilla said.

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