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Open Space Authority Hillside Acquisitions - Background

The Santa Teresa Foothills Neighborhood Association has been active in trying to convince the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority (OSA) to acquire property in the Santa Teresa Foothills to help preserve that land and avoid any further development. Several members of the association have spoke on the neighborhoods behalf at OSA board meetings, and John Hesler and Matt Freeman, the Vice President and President, met with the OSA’s acquisition committee.

At the acquisition meeting, we had an opportunity to present the case for acquiring the hillsides. We feel this should be a desirable acquisition for OSA for the following reasons:

  • A couple of the property owners have expressed a willingness to sell land to OSA,

  • The land is highly visible from much of the valley floor so preservation would benefit a large population of San Jose

  • Development that has happened on the Almaden Valley side of the hills is an indication that the hills are susceptible to being developed.

  • The city’s long term plan includes a trail on the hillside. This will be much easier to implement if the property is owned by the OSA rather than private land owners.

  • The neighbors along this ridge have continued to support preservation of these hills, and are looking for agencies such as the OSA to help in this matter.

Unfortunately, the acquisition committee does not see this hillside as a high priority for acquisition at this time. They expressed concern with the liability of owning the land, and a belief that the threat of development is not imminent.

20% of the funds that go to OSA are set aside for each jurisdiction to direct where money should be spent. That is to say that 20% of the OSA money that comes from San Jose residents can be directed by the city of San Jose. Similarly, 20% of the OSA money that comes from residents of unincorporated areas of the county are directed the county board of supervisors. Our best hope for convincing the OSA that the hillside is important for acquisition is to encourage the city and county governments to direct their OSA funds to be utilized for this purpose. We are currently working to find out more about these funds and how we can get them utilized for preserving the hillside.

For those that are concerned about this issue, let the Open Space Authority know how you feel about preserving the Foothills. Contact Alex Kennett at


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