Campbell Union High School District

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For the Kids

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 CUHSD Land Development Initiative Introduction
 
The Campbell Union High School District strives to provide each student a quality education with the utmost consideration for equity, excellence, opportunity and engagement. In an effort to increase financial resources for students, the District has put forth a Land Development Initiative that builds a brighter future “For the Kids.”
 

The District has asked the City of San Jose to amend the City’s General Plan for a parcel of land owned by CUHSD, to allow for mixed use development which will include both commercial and residential projects.

 

"At a time when local land use proposals have so often failed to reflect the needs and desires of area residents, we want to engage the community by being open, and upfront. Nothing less would be acceptable to us, because we have the honor and responsibility of educating your children, and cannot do it without your trust." - Dr. Robert Bravo, Superintendent

 
 THE PROBLEM:  Expenses Rising Faster than Revenue
 
The Trustees of the Campbell Union High School District take their role as stewards of public funds most seriously.  This includes ensuring that every asset of the district is maximized for student achievement. Despite California's economic recovery since the last recession, school districts across the state are making tough choices as they plan for dramatic increases in retirement pension costs for their employees. These increases are necessary to ensure that the state teacher retirement system, CALSTRS, and the public employees retirement system, CALPERS, are sufficiently funded, particularly because teachers do not receive Social Security. As stated in a recent Mercury News article, "districts took on the greatest share of those new costs, with payments rising from 8% of their payroll in 2013 to 19% by 2020." Therefore, these costs will have more than doubled within a decade. In addition, rising healthcare expenses and the loss of State funding for Career Technical Education (CTE) are encumbering CUHSD’s general fund.
 
Chart of CALSTRS and CALPERS contributions between 2003 and 2025
In 2014, the State of California mandated all school districts increase retirement contributions
which will more than double within a decade.
 
 
 THE SOLUTION:  Revenue Generation through Land Redevelopment
 

In 2016, recognizing that expenses were rising faster than revenue, CUHSD began a holistic assessment of the 244 acres of property owned by the District to find opportunities to generate revenue to offset the oncoming structural budget deficit.  The consulting firm, Terra Realty Advisors, was hired on a contract basis to analyze district-owned properties for revenue-generating potential. Our guiding principles for this project were simple:

 

  1. Be a good neighbor to those who live near our property;
  2. Maintain fidelity to the City’s General Plan; and
  3. Generate as much unrestricted/ongoing revenue as possible.
 
Image of Land Initiative Development Timeline
 
 
 THE PROPOSAL:  'For the Kids' Land Development Initiative
 
Our holistic assessment of district-owned properties led us to the 12-acre district office site.  This site is a remnant from the sale of Camden High School which accounts for its odd shape.

 

Aerial map showing current use of CUHSD land between Camden and Union Avenues

Current Land Use

Camden Post-Secondary Academy, Maintenance Yard, District Office

 

Acknowledging that the site's current General Plan designation of Public/Quasi Public (PQP) is intended to maintain the City of San Jose’s inventory of employment lands, CUHSD sought commercial developers for the whole 12-acre site in order to maintain fidelity with the City’s General Plan.

 

With guidance from our realty consultants, the district sought commercial development partners that provided commercial uses that the surrounding neighborhoods would find beneficial.  In particular the district sought commercial uses that would not significantly impact traffic, noise, quality of life, and property value.

 

We determined that self-storage and memory care/child day care commercial development partners for each of the property’s end lots were the best commercial uses for the site.  However, during a period of almost 18 months, the district could not find any developers, including the development partners for the two site frontages, that were interested in developing the middle six acres of the site.  Our realty consultants helped us conclude there is no market demand for commercial development for this long and narrow six acres because it is landlocked between two residential neighborhoods with no visibility from the street. The conditions which make this part of the site undesirable for commercial development will not change with time. CUHSD determined that the next best land use would be Residential Neighborhood (RN).

 

Aerial image of proposed land use of CUHSD property between Camden and Union Avenues

Proposed Land Use

Self Storage (Land Lease), Homes (Land Exchange for new District Office), Memory Care & Child Day Care (Land Lease)

To maintain one of our guiding principles of “being a good neighbor,” we sought a residential development solution to conform with the prevailing existing neighborhood character as defined by density, lot size, orientation, and form.

 

With regard to community engagement, CUHSD sought to have the community take the journey with us in order to understand why we are taking this step, and to ensure no surprises by any requirements of the General Plan Amendment process such as the development signs that are posted at the property. To date CUHSD has conducted several community meetings for the residents who live within 1500 feet of the project, and attended community meetings with the Cambrian Community Council, Friends of Cambrian Park Plaza, Branham PTSA, Leigh Home & School Club, Del Mar PTSA, Prospect PTSA, and Westmont PTSA in order to gain feedback on the mixed use development proposal.  There is overwhelming community support for this project. To date, we have received close to 1000 letters of support with no organized opposition.

 

The proposed project also creates more employment land for the City of San Jose given the fact that the identified commercial use along both Union and Camden will double the current jobs on the site. Additionally, this 12-acre site will be added to the property tax roll, for the first time, generating additional revenue for the county, city and school district.

 

In order to implement the mixed use development proposal, District staff members submitted a General Plan Amendment application to the City of San Jose requesting that the 3.28 acres at the Camden frontage be rezoned from PQP to Commercial Industrial Commercial (CIC) and that the 6 acres in the narrow middle section be rezoned from PQP to RN. At the December 11th San Jose City Council meeting, city council members will vote on the District's application.

 

If the City of San Jose approves the District’s request for a general plan amendment, the residential land will be exchanged for ownership of the Heritage Village Office complex near downtown Campbell, enabling the district office to relocate with room to spare, and providing immediate tenant lease revenue. The frontages of the property are slated to become 66-year ground leases. Between all the leases and tenant income, CUHSD expects to receive $1M to $1.5M in UNRESTRICTED annual revenue for the general fund without raising taxes.  This amounts to over $100M over the 66 year term. Additionally, CUHSD will retain ownership of the leased property, and at the end of the lease, will own the buildings that our development partners construct.

 

Image of Heritage Village Office Building exterior

Heritage Village Offices

 
 
 THE GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT APPROVAL PROCESS
 
There are several steps that are required when a request for a General Plan amendment with the City of San Jose is submitted. The approval of the General Plan amendment is the first of many steps in the For the Kids Land Development Initiative. The following outlines the General Plan amendment process:
 
 I. Public Notice Signage
 

Date: May 30, 2018

Action: Signs posted at Camden and Union Avenues

 

Image of City of San Jose Notice of Development Proposal sign posted at Camden & Union Avenues

 
 II. Public Information Meeting Hosted by the City of San Jose
 

Date: August 2, 2018

Time: 6pm

Place: Camden Community Center

Invitees:  Residents living within 1,500 feet of the property were invited by mail

Attendees:  Approximately 31 attendees  

 

The land development initiative was well received.

 

 III. Planning Commission Hearing
 

Date: November 7, 2018

Time: 6:30pm

Place: San Jose City Council Chambers

 

The Planning Commission voted 4 to 1 to recommend to the City Council that the District’s General Plan amendment application be approved. The Planning Commission noted that in CUHSD’s application, compatibility with the surrounding neighborhood had precedence over economic viability. The Planning Commissioners were also impressed by the overwhelming community support for the project. Learn more about the Planning Commission here. 

 
 IV.  City Council Meeting 

 

Date: December 11, 2018

Time: 6:00PM

Place: San Jose City Council Chambers

 

The city council members will vote on the district’s General Plan amendment.

 
 
 NEXT STEPS UPON APPROVAL OF GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT
 

If the District’s General Plan amendment is approved by the City of San Jose on December 11th, 2018, the next estimated timelines are listed below.

 
  1. Feb 2019: The Exchange Agreement with Robson Homes, and Ground Lease Agreements with Toenisketter Development and Silverado Memory Care, are finalized and approved by the Board.
  2. Feb/March 2019: Robson Homes prepares and submits for a rezoning and Tentative Map approval with the City of San Jose.
  3. March 2019: Toeniskoetter Development prepares plan for self-storage and submits, along with a rezoning application to the City of San Jose.
  4. March 2019: CUHSD & Development partners work on processing a Parcel Map with the City of San Jose to subdivide the lands.
  5. April 2019: Silverado & Montessori submit plans to the City of San Jose to develop their parcels.
  6. Feb 2019: CUHSD begins the transaction to acquire the Heritage Village Office Complex.
  7. September 2019: Preliminary Close of Escrow.  Probable Close of Escrow is more likely 12-31-19 or Q1 2020.
  8. Q2 2020:  Start construction on road access, demo, etc.
  9. Q1 2020:  District moves to Heritage Village Office. 
 
 
 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
 
Please contact Sarah Kennedy at skennedy@cuhsd.org with any additional questions.
 
1. What prompted the Board to create a land development proposal?
 
The need to generate ongoing unrestricted revenue to offset the rising costs impacting school districts throughout the state, including contributions to state pension programs and healthcare, which are increasing at an exponential rate.
 
2. How can CUHSD increase revenue?
 
By law, school districts are restricted to the following mechanisms for revenue enhancement:
    • Charging fees in accordance with the Civic Center Act for the community use of school facilities;
    • Leasing unused properties;
    • Levying a Parcel Tax which must be approved by a two thirds majority of voters; and
    • Fundraising through an educational foundation.
 
3. How did CUHSD identify this opportunity?
 

In September of 2016, the Board directed that the District initiate a study of our potential to generate ongoing unrestricted revenue from a variety of sources. It was concluded that the District owns an oddly shaped and currently under-utilized strip of land that could be repurposed to much better serve student needs.

 

4. Why this piece of land?
 
  • The District currently uses the land to house our district office, bus lot, maintenance yard, and The Camden Post-Secondary Academy.
  • This is an interim location for the Camden Post-Secondary Academy and analysis for where and when to relocate this program is already underway.
  • Last year CUHSD implemented a plan to decentralize maintenance operations to the school sites, greatly reducing the needs for a centralized maintenance yard.
  • The land is an awkwardly narrow strip that widens at either end and separates two neighborhoods of single-family homes. The value of this land is high, while its shape makes its potential utilization for student learning very low.

 

 5. What will happen to the District Office?
 
If the narrow portion of the land is successfully rezoned to RN, the District will exchange that land for the Heritage Office Complex at the corner of Winchester and Campbell Avenue.  It has the capacity to house our operations and still yield considerable lease revenue as it already has existing tenants.
 
 6. What will happen to the Camden Post-Secondary Academy?
 

Prior to the identification of this site to provide ongoing revenue, the District had already made plans to upgrade and relocate this program to different location because of the potential to better serve students. The new location has not been determined.

 

 7. Where will the school buses be stored? 
 
CUHSD is looking into many different options.  At this time, it has not been determined where the school buses will be stored. When the facilities staff have completed their evaluation and are ready to make recommendations, CUHSD will hold community meetings to gain feedback prior to any final recommendation to the Board.
 
 8. How will CUHSD generate revenue from the two wider pieces of land at either end of the property?
 
CUHSD will enter into a 66 year ground lease with our selected development partners.  Lease payments are considered UNRESTRICTED revenue for the general fund. There are increases in the lease payments built into the lease agreement over time.  By executing a ground lease, CUHSD maintains ownership of the land. At the end of the lease term, CUHSD will take possession of all buildings and improvements made by the development partners.
 
 9. What considerations have guided the Board in creating this initiative?
 
The Board, as the fiscal stewards of the District, wants to ensure that all land use at this site meets the goal of maximizing revenue without negatively impacting the existing neighborhood with regard to:
    • Traffic;
    • School enrollment;
    • Public services such as fire and police;
    • Building height and view scapes; and
    • Surrounding homeowner property values.

 

 10. What is "zoning?"  What is a "General" Plan?
 
  • “Zoning” is the process of dividing land into zones within which certain land uses are permitted or prohibited.  For example, houses cannot be built on land zoned for commercial buildings.
  • A “General” Plan is a broad planning guideline expressing a city’s future development goals.  It must express the vision, goals, and objectives of the city taking into consideration eight different elements: land use, housing, circulation, conservation, noise, safety, open space, and environmental justice.

 

 11. What is the zoning of the identified piece of land?
 

Currently the land has a General Plan designation of PQP (Public Quasi-Public). It is a land use designation the City of San Jose uses to “protect” land for public use. The PQP zoning includes allowable uses such as schools, colleges, corporation yards, homeless shelters, libraries, fire stations, water treatment facilities, convention centers and auditoriums, museums, hospitals, governmental offices and airports.

 

To implement our mixed use development proposal, our General Plan amendment application requests that a portion of the land be rezoned to CIC to enable the development of self-storage, and RN to enable the residential housing. The land where the District Office currently resides will be kept PQP because the proposed memory care and daycare development are allowable land uses under the PQP zoning.

 
 12. What steps has the Board taken to date?
 
  • The Board initiated a holistic assessment of all CUHSD’s property to determine opportunities to increase unrestricted revenue.
  • A comprehensive mixed use land development proposal was created.
  • Development partners were selected by a thorough competitive bidding process. Letters of Intent memorializing the agreed upon terms of the development were ratified by the Board.
  • An application to Amend the City of San Jose’s General Plan to accommodate the mixed use development proposal was submitted.
  • Community meetings have been held to inform the community, get feedback on the proposal, and secure community support.
  • CUHSD has received close to 900 letters of support from community members.  There is no organized opposition to this proposal.
  • The proposal has been endorsed by a dozens of community leaders who have hailed it as “smart development” and complemented CUHSD’s community outreach activities.
  • At the City of San Jose’s Planning Commission meeting of November 7, 2018, the Commission voted to recommend approval of our General Plan amendment application to the City Council.
  
 RESOURCES 
 
1) To stayed informed on the District’s Land Development Initiative, please sign up for our mailing list or attend a local community meeting:
 

2) Review Dr. Bravo's Presentation on the Budget in September 2018, below.

3) Review the School Services of California, Inc., (SSC) comprehensive Budget Review for Campbell Union High School District, below.
 
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