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South Valley Urban Reserve Sports Complex

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Friday, July 19th, 2002 @ 9:37 AM
Subj: AYA comments on Sports Complex
From: (Brad Bosomworth)

To: Almaden Valley Community Association (“AVCA”)

From: Almaden Youth Association (“AYA”)

Date: July 18, 2002

On July 8, 2002 AYA gave a presentation to the AVCA regarding the history and status of the youth sports complex being planned for the SJUSD property on McKean Road in Almaden Valley and answered questions regarding the same. We very much appreciated the opportunity to bring you and other community members up to date on the AYA and the exiting progress we have made on the youth sports field project.

South Almaden Valley Reserve Association (“SAVRA”) followed with a presentation and argument as to why the sports fields should not be permitted, at least at any location on McKean Road. Although there was some responsive communication from representatives of Don Gage and Pat Dando, AYA did not have an opportunity to respond to the arguments of SAVRA.

To reiterate a few of the salient points of the AYA presentation, AYA was established as the result of the fact that Almaden is woefully under served with respect to public playing areas for its children. The need for more and better playing fields was overwhelming more than a decade ago and has only increased. AYA represents the literally thousands of families who presently have children playing youth sports in Almaden, and those thousands of families that will have the same needs for their children in the future. As such, we believe that the AYA represents the vast majority of the Almaden community.

There is now a real opportunity, which the AYA has fought for almost a decade to create, to provide our community with at least some of the desperately needed field space. This effort has been supported for years by every community organization of which we were aware in Almaden Valley, including the Almaden Valley Women’s Club and your Almaden Valley Community Association.

We understand that SAVRA represents 20 to 40 residents in the south Almaden Valley, most of whom, apparently, live more than 1/4 mile from the complex site. Their objective would be to have no sports fields at all on the site and, in so doing, completely ignore the needs of the community as a whole and, more importantly, the needs of our children.

Without question, any youth sports fields need to be in Almaden Valley itself, and there is no place but the McKean road site to build fields. Obviously, wherever fields might be established, surrounding residents will object to the change in their environment. With that said, as a group seeking to improve our community, we would not seek to impose on our neighbors an inherent nuisance. But, youth playing fields are not an inherent nuisance. Every school playing field in use in Almaden is surrounded by homes literally across the street. The McKean Road site will have far less impact on far fewer homes than what is otherwise commonplace and accepted in our community.

As noted at the meeting, AYA, as a good neighbor, is pro-actively anticipating use concerns of the area residents and taking all reasonable action to mitigate legitimate issues. We have sought communication with SAVRA to work with area residents to improve our plans. However, SAVRA, neither before nor after the meeting, has responded to our request for dialog.

SAVRA raised several issues or concerns, some of which are clearly well taken. As was pointed out, though, the procedural concern, which was expressed at the meeting as being “the” principal concern of SAVRA, is not in fact legitimate.

The potential for environmental impacts is real. But, that is why there is an environmental review process and all of the noted environmental studies are being completed. As such, at this point there are only potential impacts and no known material impacts. Moreover, the project, by definition, must account for any real impacts.

Of greatest concern is traffic on McKean. Again, a traffic analysis is being completed. From the AYA perspective, we will deal with the traffic and safety issues as best we can based on professional analysis. We recognize, however, that any time anyone takes to the road there are going to be risks and that such risks, unless unreasonable, cannot be the basis for our not providing the needed facilities. Moreover, if there is an existing commuter traffic problem, SAVRA should be dealing with that for what it is (seek widening of the road, reductions in commuter and/or greater enforcement) and not seek to use it as the basis to serve their interests over the needs of our children.

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