Diane Blum

Freelance Writer

"Hillside Development"
posted Oct 25, 2013 in the Evergreen Times
Young Ranch Development Goes Before Santa Clara County Planning Commission

Young Ranch, a long-time home to cattle ranching, is a privately owned 2,150-acre property located in southeastern Santa Clara Valley. The property borders Silver Creek Valley Country Club and Silver Creek Valley Road to the north and Metcalf Road to the south, just about a mile east of highway 101. It is home to sensitive habitat, including grassland, wetlands and intermittent streams; as well as a variety of plant and endangered wildlife species, including the Bay Checkerspot butterfly.
In December 2012, YCS Investments (YCS), who represent the owners of Young Ranch, submitted an application to Santa Clara County (SCC) to develop a portion of the property. If both phases of the development are ultimately completed, the end result would be about 10% of the overall land being used for rural development, with the remaining 90% dedicated as a natural preserve in perpetuity. YCS is now set to go before the SCC Planning Commission next month as an initial step in the lengthy planning/approval process.
The plan (which is being managed in two distinct phases as part of the land is under the City of San Jose and part under SCC) is to develop a cluster of rural homes in a 200 acre area on the northern side of the property; with 87 custom homes planned on 2 acre lots, built on the existing landscape (no lots will be flattened). Within each 2 acre lot, actual house size will be limited to about 25% of the lot’s acreage. No sidewalks or boundary fences will be allowed, to maintain the open space and rural landscape, and there will be stringent guidelines relating to both home design and landscaping strategies. Homes will be on septic systems, and the source of water will be wells or via Edenvale/Great Oaks Water Service.
Entry to the development would be off of Silver Creek Valley Road. A stop light, ramp or some type of traffic redesign will have to be determined. Future homeowners would be assigned to Evergreen Elementary or Oak Grove Elementary School Districts, and East Side Union High School District.
For nearly thirty years, YCS has leased Young Ranch for cattle grazing. By limiting the growth of non-native weeds through grazing, this has encouraged the growth of native plants that the Bay Checkerspot butterfly depends on; the property is now home to the largest habitat of the butterfly in the area. As grazing has failed to generate enough income to cover ongoing property costs, a plan for a rural community development that would also facilitate dedicating land for open space was determined, with some 1,950 acres of habitat preservation being proposed.
For more information, there are a variety of sources that are available. You can read the development application online here. Email marina.rush@pln.sccgov.org to receive updates. YCS has two websites which have additional information, and you can also sign up to receive updates: www.youngranchcommunity.com and www.checkerspotpreservation.info.
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