Stanford University General Use Permit & Community Plan update
In January 2020, Supervisor Simitian, along with his colleague Supervisor Cindy Chavez, asked staff to update the Stanford Community Plan, a part of the County’s General Plan and essentially a “mini” general plan for the Stanford University lands located in the unincorporated County. The original Community Plan dates to 2000 and needed an update when the University withdrew its application for a General Use Permit in late 2019. While processing of the Use Permit ceased, the County, at the request of Supervisors Simitian and Chavez, continued to move forward with updating the Stanford Community Plan. Upon approval by the Board of Supervisors, the updated Plan will replace the existing one and provide a basis for evaluating future development requests by the University.
Grassroots Ecology is a local environmental nonprofit dedicated to caring for public lands and waters across Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. Supervisor Simitian recommended County support for a Grassroots program that, in partnership with the San Jose Conservation Corps, educates and trains young people interested in pursuing a career in sustainable land management.
A long-time admirer of Canopy’s work to grow the urban forest, Supervisor Simitian championed County support for the expansion of Canopy’s education and advocacy programs in the North County communities he represents, including Community Forestry School, Canopy’s marquee program under the umbrella of its adult education classes.
Addressing climate change and emergency preparedness as a community
Built on the Cool Block model, Cool Block Mountain View is a three-year pilot program proposed by Supervisor Simitian to bring neighbors who live on the same city block together to build community, tackle climate change, and address disaster preparedness on their own block.
Alpine Trail: Closing the gap
To mitigate the impacts of development authorized by the Stanford University 2000 General Use Permit, the Board of Supervisors, at Supervisor Simitian’s urging, approved funding for the Alpine Road Regional Trail Improvement Project. This 2.3-mile regional trail for hikers, cyclists and equestrians will close the gap between Page Mill Road and Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District preserves.
Creating park connections
With Supervisor Simitian’s support, the Board approved the purchase of 47 acres of land between Santa Teresa and Calero Parks in south San Jose, a community that was added to District Five after redistricting took place in 2022. Connecting the parks will make it easier for hikers and cyclists to travel between the two parks, which are several miles apart.
Protecting the ridgeline
Supervisor Simitian, with Board colleague Supervisor Otto Lee, championed a Memorandum of Agreement between the County and the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (Midpen), to share enforcement of the ridgeline preservation easement that protects the land adjacent to Rancho San Antonio County Park and Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve, effectively reinforcing the protection of local hillsides and habitat for years to come.
Oversight of Stevens Creek Quarry
In 2020, Harvey Rose Associates, at the request of Supervisor Simitian, conducted an independent review that identified several deficiencies in the County Department of Planning and Development’s oversight of Stevens Creek Quarry. This effort, spurred by Supervisor Simitian’s advocacy for more rigorous oversight of the Quarry, resulted in the improved monitoring and enforcement of use-permit conditions at the Quarry.
Livestock Pass program
To give local communities the tools they need to keep their livestock and livelihoods safe, especially amid the constant threat of wildfires, Santa Clara County, with the support of Supervisor Simitian, implemented a “Livestock Pass” program to give ranchers, livestock producers and managers, and first responders limited access to restricted areas to care for, or evacuate, livestock during natural disasters.
Adopting renewable diesel fuel
Thanks to a Los Altos Hills resident who brought the idea to Supervisor Simitian’s attention, in 2022, the Santa Clara County Central Fire Protection District switched its fleet from operating on traditional (i.e., petroleum-based) diesel to using renewable diesel. The latter is made of renewable and sustainable resources from a variety of organic material – including soybean oil and used cooking oil.
In 2021, Supervisor Simitian joined his Board colleagues in unanimously voting to eliminate lead exposure from operations at Reid-Hillview Airport, and to explore prohibiting the sale or use of leaded fuel.
Free climate education program for middle school students
Championed by Supervisor Simitian, the Board approved a grant enabling Acterra to expand its “You(th) Be the Change” program that teaches students about the effects of climate change and potential solutions.
Improving Lehigh oversight
Since returning to the Board of Supervisors in 2013, Supervisor Simitian has pushed for increased oversight at Lehigh Cement Plant and Quarry, holding Lehigh accountable to environmental regulations and aiding the public’s understanding of and access to the state, federal, and local agencies that have jurisdiction over the site. In 2022, at Supervisor Simitian’s request, County staff compiled and issued a 10-year review of local, state, and federally recorded violations taking place at the site and found there were 2,135 violations and millions in fines. The Board directed staff to further review the record and report back to the Board by the end of the 2022.
A local non-profit that uses hands-on, standards-based science education to promote an understanding of and responsibility for the environment. Among their many programs, they train volunteers to teach natural sciences in eleven subject areas in Santa Clara and San Mateo County schools. Supervisor Simitian recommended County support for Environmental Volunteers to support their in-class science and field study programming for elementary school students.