San Jose 2/22/12 Planning Commission Meeting Liveblog
9:15 PM - Appeal denied, Planning Commission approves permit 6-0, Chair Hope Cahan not present. Vice Chair Bit-Badai urges Earthquakes to continue working with residents.
9:07 PM – In a follow-up to an issue brought up earlier, City staff indicates that FAA audit will likely not be successful, and would have little financial impact. Commissioner Kamkar wants to approve project.
9:03 PM - Commissioners have been speaking, trying to define scope of what they are discussing. Commissioner Platten emphasizes that the soccer stadium is not a harbinger of what will happen for the ballpark. The issues are: 1) Adequacy of noise study, 2) Proper communication with other governing bodies, 3) Proper communication with community. Platten urges permit to be passed and appeal denied.
8:52 PM - Newhall resident asks for SoundPLAN study in order to be thorough. Asks for the gap between the rim of the seating bowl and the roof to be closed. Re-emphasizes that residents are not against Quakes or stadium in general.
8:48 PM - Lew Wolff implores commission to make a decision and not delay things any further. Planning commissioner Kamkar asks about a 31-foot sound wall that was in the original EIR that is not in the new stadium concept, and the use of aluminum risers. Keith Wolff says that the design of the stadium blocks the noise so the sound wall won’t be needed, and that as long as the aluminum risers are constructed without gaps they should not leak noise.
8:44 PM - Keith Wolff is taking his five minutes, Lew Wolff at his side. Keith Wolff mentions that the City came to the Quakes with the site, not the other way around. Talks about concessions made (no concerts, distributed sound, meetings with residents four times a year).
8:43 PM - Last two speakers are in favor, after Marc Morris (S/HNPA) also implores more study. Planning commissions should have questions for the applicant next, followed by the vote.
8:29 PM - Quick point – SJC Airport noise contours are set to expand for 2017 and 2027. The Newhall neighborhood would fall within the 60 dB noise contour. That’s a good deal greater than the “comfortable” 55 dB ambient noise, though not double (+10 dB = double).
8:15 PM - A group of Newhall Neighborhood Association residents have put together a presentation about the neighborhood. They appear to be sequenced to complete the preso. Apparently soccer has impacted quality of life in their “quiet” neighborhood. Planning commissioner asks what “quiet” means, considering the location near trains and planes. Speaker says he is referring to loud bursts of noise (crowd cheer, drums). Another speaker says that ambient noise is <50 dbA, 90% of the time. Noise with stadium would go up 862% (disturbing peak events of >58 dbA) with stadium. Use of aluminum risers as opposed to concrete (at Home Depot Center) may increase noise. Newhall residents are arguing that the stadium approved via the EIR are not what the Quakes are presenting, and that time should be taken to reflect that change.
8:09 PM - Someone from MLS in New York flew out to speak. Big surprise there. Mentions that this is the first time he’s spoken for a stadium project in which he wasn’t asking for public money.
8:08 PM - Supporter quote of the night: “I’m married to a Brazilian and I would appreciate it if you could work to keep our marriage together.”
7:54 PM - More supporters have spoken. Balandra is part of the Shasta Hanchett Park Neighborhood Association, as are Jonathan Martinez and Helen Chapman. Sounds like at least a few individuals are practicing their arguments for the next round. As Chapman speaks, several fans hold up “BUILD IT NOW” signs. S/HNPA’s argument is that the neighborhoods and the process should be respected, and that their arguments are not against soccer or the Quakes in general. I get the feeling that the fans don’t want to hear anymore about process.
7:40 PM - Terri Balandra, citing her own question of Lew Wolff at the Rotary Club luncheon, asks Wolff to “go overboard” to mitigate light and noise. Also mentions an FAA audit which may show that the City misused federal funds on Airport West in that the funds were supposed to go towards potential airport expansion and eventually did not. Those funds may have to be returned, and if that’s the case Balandra asks if the land deal could fall through. My instant response to that is that the City did evaluate using the land for expansion, but the project was too costly and not cost-effective. Because of this they’ve chosen to sell the land to Wolff. If someone wants to extract blood from that turnip, they might as well try to build a time machine to send everyone back to 2007, before the economic crash. Then they’d might get something out of it.
7:36 PM - Chris Wondolowski‘s aunt is speaking in favor. How often do you get a player’s relative speaking in favor of a stadium? I haven’t seen it before.
7:35 PM - I’m not keeping a tally of for vs. against speakers, but so far it is only two against, everyone else for.
7:29 PM – Jonathan Martinez asks the question(s) of the night: “Noise? In that neighborhood? Are you kidding me?”
7:25 PM – Belated stream link.
7:16 PM - At least two sponsors of the team have spoken in support, as well as a youth soccer coach and a worker for a community-based nonprofit.
7:14 PM - A speaker from Tracy mentions his brother, who recently passed away. He said that having the Quakes here helped him get through the tough times.
7:11 PM – The team’s official Twitter feed is livetweeting the event.
7:02 PM – A speaker says he is opposed to the sites for both the Quakes and A’s stadia. Would prefer the A’s to move to Airport West, while Quakes go to 237/Zanker.
6:59 PM - Soccer Silicon Valley’s Don Gagliardi is speaking. Asks fans to stand up. My guess is 95% of the crowd is Quakes fans. Claims that in 10 years the Quakes will be more important to San Jose than the A’s (if the A’s move).
6:56 PM – 1906 Ultras (supporters club) are holding up scarves in unison as Kaval speaks.
Kaval notes design of stadium (turned towards airport) and lack of concerts as a form of noise mitigation. Mentions that Quakes have not gotten a noise complaint in last two years at Buck Shaw Stadium.
6:53 PM – Lew Wolff is speaking in support and thanks. Considers soccer a “community asset”. Claims that even if the number of games were doubled, the actual impact on the area would be only 170 hours per year. Introduces David Kaval. Applause from crowd. Crowd admonished for applause.
6:48 PM – A representative for the appellant (who is not present?) is at the podium. Notes a petition that has been signed by 210 people. Asks to uphold appeal, deny the application, and reopen the EIR on the grounds that the noise analysis is flawed.
- No computer simulation noise analysis for conceptual stadium design or proposed stadium design
- Diridon Analysis with SoundPLAN would should noise would be 3-5 dbA higher for baseball games and 5-7 dbA higher for concerts – than in the approved EIR noise study.
This could be important for a future ballpark fight, as we can expect the same issue to be brought up.
6:45 PM – City staff is going over new/amended noise analysis, the idea that the stadium’s design and use should mitigate noise, and the restrictions on noisemakers that should further make the stadium “a good neighbor”.
6:42 PM – Planning commission is going over rules and consent items. Item 3F, the Quakes stadium proposal, has been moved to go first.
6:24 PM – Council Chambers is filling up quickly. Lew and Keith Wolff, and David Kaval are present, doing brief interviews with local media.
Read the KQED interview with Earthquakes president David Kaval that Nina Thorsen posted. About any linkage between the Quakes’ project and a future A’s ballpark, Kaval says this:
We’re really run as our own entity. This process is really a stand-alone process. Since our ownership is basically the same as the A’s, any learning from this, best practices, and how to work with communities, can be helpful to them. But they’re not linked in the way that some people might assume. The financing is completely separate, and obviously it’s a different sport, different league, different location.
Coincidentally, 95.7 The Game is doing one of their Lucky Break radio gig auditions tonight at 4th Street Pizza, which happens to be across the street from San Jose City Hall. Lucky Break will happen at the same time as the planning commission meeting, so you’ll have to choose which one to attend.