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Council Tells Developer: Mow the Grass, Then Get An Extension

Empty lot at 1161 Virginia Ave. will have to be maintained.

A small development of single-family houses approved in 2007 has been untouched in the last four years. And it seems that it may continue to be empty for another two, but not without a face-lift.

At the Jan. 14 Campbell City Council meeting, the council unanimously approved a two-year extension on a subdivision at 1161 Virginia Ave.

The builder, Daniel Sisto, appealed to the council for an extension, claiming that his company has had a difficult time obtaining construction financing because of the lack of credit in the market.

The council originally approved the four-lot subdivision of small-lot, single-family homes in November 2007, but not without some disagreement. A zone change to the planned development had to be made in order to accommodate the homes, and there was also the removal of a large oak tree that caused some controversy.

During previous public hearings, some residents of Torero Plaza, the street near Virginia Avenue, spoke out against the development. They said there was not sufficient setback in relation to their homes.

Opponents also expressed concern over whether the large oak tree on the property was being removed because it was dead or because its location prevented construction.

Steve Prosser, the city's associate planner, made a presentation to the council on Jan. 14 and voiced the planning commission’s recommendation.

“We found the request for the extension is reasonable,” said Prosser. “The planning commission recommends that the City Council approve the extension.”

The council went ahead and followed the recommendation, but not before addressing maintenance issues on the still-vacant lot.

Wesley Suyenaga, a resident of Virginia Avenue, said he’s in favor of the development, but he brought up some safety concerns.

“I’ve observed that people were four-wheeling on that property, and the weeds have grown over 4 feet tall,” Suyenaga says. “I believe that’s a fire hazard. I also think the setback from the neighboring fences should be 15 feet.”

The concerns were heard by council and incorporated into its decision.

“The maintenance of the property is important,” said Mayor Jason Baker.

Sisto spoke before the council and agreed to mow down the weeds, put up a fence and post “no-trespassing” signs.

Warren Volk July 21, 2012 at 04:38 PM
There is no benefit in building additional houses in Campbell if you need to tear down oak trees. Do we want to live in a sterile environment just to line someone's pockets?
cathleen van hook August 11, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Mr Volk I wholeheartedly support your statement. The developer and the city would still have profitted if fewer units were built and the 54 inch oak were preserved. In fact the oak would have made the units more valuable. We have a tree protection ordinance in Campbell that must be pretty easy to circumvent. I think we in the San Tomas neighborhood need to get organized or many more large lots will be stripped of "protected" trees and filled in with as many units as the developer can squeeze in.

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