I. LAND USE AND PLANNING

Discussion

The project area is located in Santa Clara County and specifically within the City of San Jose and the City of Santa Clara. The area is comprised of varied land uses including industrial, commercial, open space, parkland, residential and institutional uses. The area is located within the heart of Silicon Valley, an area that is currently undergoing rapid development.

  1. The proposed Nortech Substation site is located immediately north of State Route (SR) 237 and east of North First Street in the northern portion of the City of San Jose. The proposed 115 kV transmission lines would run from the existing Kifer Receiving Station in Santa Clara and Trimble Substation in San Jose northerly to the new Nortech Substation. The area around the substation site is characterized by industrial/office uses and vacant land. The transmission line routing traverses a variety of land use types in both the City of Santa Clara and City of San Jose, including industrial, residential, commercial, institutional and open space designations. The San Jose 2020 General Plan land use map designates the Nortech Substation site as Light Industrial. The Light Industrial designation is considered appropriate for low-density industrial uses (i.e., manufacturing, research and development). Utilities are considered an allowed use under this designation. The substation site is zoned as Industrial (I), a district which permits utility facilities. Because it is industrial in nature, an electrical substation is considered to be compatible with the Light Industrial land use designation and Industrial zoning. Therefore, the Nortech Substation would not conflict with land use or zoning designations.
  2. Land along the proposed Trimble-Nortech line is designated in the San Jose 2020 General Plan as Industrial Park, Light Industrial, Public/Quasi-Public, and Public Park/Open Space. Applicable City of San Jose zoning along the proposed Trimble-Nortech line is designated as Industrial (I), Residence District (R-3-B), Manufacturing (M-4), Agricultural (A), and Agricultural Planned District (APD). Utility facilities are permitted in the Industrial District, and are allowed, with a conditional use permit, within the R-3-B, M-4, A, and APD Districts. The Trimble-Nortech line would therefore have no impact with respect to compatibility with general plan and zoning designations.

    Lands along the Kifer-Nortech line lies primarily within the City of Santa Clara and is designated in the City of Santa Clara General Plan as Industrial Transition (IT), Light Industrial (LI), Moderate Density Residential (MOD), Single Family Detached (SFD), Single Family Attached (SFA), Institutional (Inst), Urban Reserve (UR), Parks & Recreational (P&R) and Open Space (OS). Applicable City of Santa Clara zoning along the proposed Kifer-Nortech line is designated as Light Industrial (ML). Utility facilities are permitted in the ML district with a conditional use permit. The Kifer-Nortech line would therefore have no impact with respect to compatibility with general plan and zoning designations.

  3. Discretionary approval of the project is held solely by the CPUC. Although approval of the proposed substation and line construction would not be under the jurisdiction of the City of San Jose or City of Santa Clara, both cities have indicted their support for the project as identified in the May 1998 Proponentís Environmental Assessment. Therefore, the project would have no impact with respect to agency jurisdiction.
  4. The Trimble-Nortech power line route lies primarily within the Rincon de Los Esteros Redevelopment area of north San Jose. The new line would not change the land use within the redevelopment area, and therefore, the project would have no impact with respect to the future redevelopment plans. The Kifer-Nortech power line alignment lies primarily within the City of Santa Clara. The new line would not change the land use within the plan area, and therefore, the project would have no impact with respect to the future redevelopment plans.

    Crossing U.S. Highway 101 at one location and State Route 237 at two locations would require encroachment permits from Caltrans.

  5. The currently vacant 3.3-acre substation parcel is located in an industrial area, bounded by a church, office/parking to the north and east, vacant land to the west, and SR 237 to the south. The proposed Nortech Substation would be compatible with adjacent land uses since it would be constructed in a Light Industrial zone, and would not interfere with normal activities expected in those use areas.

The Trimble-Nortech line would run adjacent to areas with industrial and office parks as the primary land use. These business parks, which are occupied primarily by high-tech companies, would not be significantly affected by construction of the line. At the northern end of the proposed line is an existing medium high density residential area. Residential uses are considered sensitive receptors and would be affected in the short-term by project construction, as well as by visual and noise effects from long-term operation. These are indirect effects to land use as they potentially affect existing activities associated with residential uses. The project would not directly alter existing residential uses; e.g., would not require moving or demolishing any residences. Thus, project impacts to vicinity land uses would be less than significant. In addition, the following proposed project mitigation measure would further reduce potential indirect impacts of noise and visual conditions on existing activities: at least two weeks prior to line construction, PG&E will give notice to potentially affected property owners, residents and businesses by both posting bulletins locally and publishing them in local papers. PG&E will designate a public affairs representative to respond to all public concerns regarding the project. Construction of the Trimble-Nortech line would therefore have a less than significant impact on land use.

The Kifer-Nortech line would run adjacent to a variety of land uses, including industrial and office parks, single and multi-family residences, and several recreational-use areas, including the Police Activity League recreation area and Santa Clara Golf and Tennis Club. Residential and public land uses are considered sensitive land uses. As discussed above, line construction would not directly alter existing residential uses; e.g., would not require moving or demolishing any residences. Thus, the impacts to vicinity land uses would be less than significant. Mitigation measures discussed above would also be implemented during construction of the Kifer-Nortech line. Construction of the Kifer-Nortech line would therefore have a less than significant impact on vicinity land uses.

d) The land uses surrounding the substation site and along the line routes are primarily industrial, commercial, public use and residential. While a small portion of the Trimble-Nortech line would pass along land zoned for agricultural use north of SR 237, no impacts to agricultural resources or operations would occur as a result of either the Nortech Substation or power line construction.

e) Neither the proposed substation site nor the new transmission lines would result in physical features that would disrupt or divide the area, or induce changes in land use that would be expected to have this result. The transmission lines would be constructed primarily along existing right-of-ways, or adjacent to them. Therefore, the project would not disrupt or divide the physical arrangement of an established community.

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