Thirteenth Street SNI Redevelopment

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N. 13th St. in 1970's

Latest Agenda for 13th St NAC

Strong Neighborhoods Initiative

Goals and Objectives

"North 13th Street is ideally and centrally situated to become a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood shopping district. It is a gateway to downtown San Jose, to the Northside and to the upscale Naglee Park neighborhood, siphoning traffic directly off Highway 101. It is also adjacent to Japantown and the numerous new condominium developments there, as well as to the office and light industrial complexes along Oakland Road in the 'Golden Triangle' area of North San Jose. A civic investment in North 13th Street promises to bring great dividends to the surrounding neighborhoods as well as to both the residential and business communities of San Jose at large."

Jalisco Restaurant

N. 13th

- NNA Redevelopment Proposal to Councilmember Cindy Chavez, 1999

North 13th St., which was once essentially part of the old highway to Oakland, was re-zoned from light industrial to commercial/residential a few years ago. Several new neighborhood-friendly businesses have located along N. 13th St. in the past couple years, including Cesar's Flowers, to complement older neighborhood businesses such as Rollo's Donuts, the Mission Hardware store, and Chariamonte's Market, an Italian delicatessen which has been family-owned and located on N. 13th St. for more than 90 years.

Northside has helped build the fragile momentum of N. 13th St.'s nascent renaissance by working with Our City Forest to plant trees along N. 13th St., and with San Jose code enforcement to remove excess payphones, which were encouraging loitering and drug dealing. (There were once nearly 30 phones along a five-block strip!) Northside has also worked with the City of San Jose Office of Economic Development to attract new businesses catering to the neighborhood, and has (unsuccessfully) sought Community Development Block Grant funding for improvements to N. 13th St.

Nonetheless, N. 13th St. still has a disproportionate number of auto body and auto parts stores, liquor stores, bars, and cheap motels. It remains a high crime area relative to the rest of the Northside neighborhood and also relative to city-wide averages. N. 13th St. is not inviting to neighborhood residents, especially in the evening. It lacks a quality grocery store or other amenities typically associated with neighborhood shopping strips, such as a coffee shop or a bookstore.

NNA hopes that redevelopment funding will build on the fragile momentum of N. 13th St.'s nascent renaissance. Among the improvements which Northside seeks for N. 13th St. are: Between Empire and Jackson Streets, N. 13th St. abuts one of San Jose's older , most well-used and arguably most beautiful neighborhood parks, Backesto Park, which dates to 1922. Among the improvements which Northside seeks for Backesto Park are:

On June 22, 1999, the San Jose City Council passed a budget for the City's fiscal year 2000 which includes $3 million for taking administrative steps for securing state funding to create new neighborhood redevelopment areas, one of which is N. 13th St. from Highway 101 to East Santa Clara Street. NNA had been actively lobbying for redevelopment funding for the N. 13th St business district for the two years preceding the vote. Downtown councilmember Cindy Chavez, honoring a campaign promise to Northside residents, recommended N. 13th St. as a redevelopment area to Mayor Ron Gonzales, who included the area in his budget proposal.

Don Gagliardi Receives Good Neighbor AwardNNA president Don Gagliardi received the 1999 Good Neighbor Award for San Jose Council District 3 at the Mayor's State of the City Convocation in April 1999 for his work in lobbying for redevelopment funding for N. 13th St. Gagliardi was further recognized as a "Neighborhood Hero" by District 3 councilmember Cindy Chavez on her website.

Under state law, redevelopment funding is provided for areas which are "predominately urbanized and blighted." Blighted areas have conditions such as the existence of buildings that are unsafe or unhealthy to live or work in, depreciated or stagnant property values, abnormally high business vacancies, abnormally low lease rates, high turnover, abandoned buildings or excessive vacant lots, the lack of necessary commercial buildings, an excess of bars or liquor stores, and a high crime rate. NNA has been assured that N. 13 th St. qualifies as blighted.

On December 16, 1999, at a community meeting held at City Hall, the San Jose Redevelopment Agency unveiled a map of its "survey areas" for neighborhood redevelopment initiatives, including the N. 13th St. investment district. Most of the Northside neighborhood, which extends from Julian to Hedding and 6th Street to Coyote Creek, is encompassed by either the N. 13th St. or the Five Wounds survey areas.

The creation of a survey area is one of the first formal steps toward establishing a redevelopment district. Bill Ekern of the Redevelopment Agency (RDA) told the roughly hundred person audience of neighborhood representatives and city staff that, when the process has been completed, the actual redevelopment project areas may be smaller than the survey areas.

A number of additional steps will need to be completed before a redevelopment plan is adopted by the City Council, an action not anticipated before March 2001. Only after enactment of the plan - a legal document providing authority for public improvements in the redevelopment area - can physical improvements actually get underway, explained John Weis, also of the RDA.

In the interim, RDA will be working on planning and design issues. Among the next steps is the preparation and adoption of a preliminary plan, which is slated for May 2000. Weis explained that in furtherance of the planning process RDA will be gathering information from three primary sources: (1) its technical consultants; (2) survey research of residents; and (3) neighborhood groups.

The formal mechanism for involving neighborhood groups is the Project Area Committee (PAC), which will be comprised of formally elected representatives from effected neighborhood groups. The PAC will help write the final redevelopment plan and remains active for at least three years after adoption of the plan to provide comment on all proposed projects within the redevelopment area to the City Council. As a result, the PAC will be an important community voice on any proposed redevelopment initiative. Councilmember Chavez also pledged that the community would be heard before any proposed project is implemented.

Cover of the draft SNI: Thirteenth Street Neighborhood Revitalization Plan, dated October 2001

Ekern explained that the exact configuration of the PAC has yet to be determined. However, the Northside Neighborhood Association anticipates electing representatives to PAC subcommittes concerning both the North 13th Street and Five Wounds PACs. The schedule presented by RDA indicates that election of the PAC will take place in June 2000 and be confirmed in July 2000.

The long process of creating a redevelopment plan for North 13th Street and the other proposed areas will also include the drafting of an environmental impact report in June 2000, which would receive public review before being certified by the Planning Commission in February 2001.

Councilmember Chavez observed during the community meeting that the City-wide initiative to extend redevelopment from its focus on the downtown business core into qualifying neighborhoods near downtown and elsewhere was directly prompted by lobbying on behalf of N. 13th St. by our Northside Neighborhood Association. NNA's efforts promise to reap significant rewards not only for the Northside neighborhood but many others in and around downtown.

Redevelopment Director Susan Shick discussed plans for redevelopment of North 13th Street at the most recent NNA general meeting on Thursday, March 9, 2000. Stay tuned to this site for updates on N. 13th St. redevelopment.

To link to the Strong Neighborhoods Initiative website, click here.

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