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City of San José Planning Department schedules public hearing to approve Planned Development permit for San Jose Earthquakes proposed new stadium

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After nearly two months of deliberation and reconciliation regarding the noise analysis and lighting plan for the San Jose Earthquakes proposed new stadium, the Planning Division of the City of San José announced earlier today that a public hearing on the plan has been scheduled. On Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at 9:00 a.m. in the City Council Chambers at City Hall, the Planning Department Director will make a final decision on whether to accept the recommendations of his staff and approve the draft Planned Development (PD) permit.

If all goes in the Earthquakes favor that morning, the team will need only wait another two weeks for the permit to clear the appeal process. The collection of renderings that were released by the Planning Department in today's announcement illustrate the design parameters (height of roof, footprint, etc.)  that needed to be considered with regard to the noise and lighting limitations. Following that probationary period, the Earthquakes organization can finally go about discussing more of the specific design elements and amenities they intend to include in their desired $60 million soccer specific stadium.

Back on September 26th of this year, a lengthy community meeting on the stadium project was held at City Hall in order for the Planning Department staff to catalog the concerns of citizens that might be affected by noise and light pollution emanating from the proposed stadium during soccer matches and other events. In a good-faith effort to appease the worries of local residents, the Earthquakes at that time withdrew the provision in the Use Permit that would allow them to host music concerts. Concerned community members seemed pleased at the concession, but still demanded that a more thorough study of the noise and light issues be considered.

Included in the various reports, drawings, and documents that are to be presented to the Planning Department director on December 14th, is an email from the acoustical engineering firm Illingworth & Rodkin, Inc. confirming that the current PD permit for the stadium project is consistent with the requirements laid out in the original Environmental Impact Report (EIR) submitted to the City earlier in the process. As a reference to predict and project operational noise levels in the proposed 18,000 seat stadium, The Home Depot Center in Carson, CA was used. Despite the HDC having a seating capacity of 9000 more than the proposed Earthquakes stadium, the noise profile measured for Los Angeles Galaxy matches was within the limits proposed for the facility in San Jose.

The PD permit that was submitted back on May 26th of this year and discussed publicly at the community meeting September 26th, has some revisions from the original PD permit that are primarily related to the new round of stadium renderings made public two months ago. The preliminary design has a “U” shaped grandstand with an open end and a roof system that covers the entire seating area. Both these design elements are expected to contain and deflect a significant portion of the expected generated noise in the opposite direction from the surrounding residential neighborhoods. Even with some of these minor design modifications made in the current draft PD permit, the stadium project falls well within the noise limitations imposed by the original EIR.

The Planning Department will make the draft PD permit and staff recommendations available seven days prior to the public hearing on December 14th. The complete set of reports and documents related to the Planning Division’s assessment are available for viewing at City Hall by appointment only.

(Illustrations courtesy of the City of San José Planning Department)