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March 25, 2023

Letter to the editor: Is development good or bad?

Although some people in this community would have you believe otherwise, development is not all black or white, good or bad. Some development is beneficial for our county; some is not. And certainly, commercial development should not be viewed the same as residential development. 

As a longtime businessperson and short-time County Supervisor, I believe that most, but not all, commercial development is good for our community. I recognize that the cities of Hollister and San Juan Bautista, as well as the county, are businesses like any other, and they rely on revenue to provide the kind of infrastructure and services that we all want. 

Bob Tiffany

And just as importantly, commercial development—new businesses—provide much-needed local jobs to our residents, getting some of our commuters off of the roads, potentially allowing a better quality of life for them and a reduction in traffic on Highways 25 and 156. 

Should commercial development happen just anywhere in the county? Of course not. Some places make a lot more sense than others. North of downtown Hollister, within the various business parks, is certainly a good spot for commercial development. 

But other places make sense as well. At major intersections and along major roadways, like Highway 101—where there is already built-in traffic and shoppers—is smart planning, and what one sees in virtually every other county. 

But certain elected officials, along with the PORC people/proponents of Measure Q, are trying to tell us that commercial development in the City of Hollister is good, but commercial development on major thoroughfares is bad. How does that make any sense? It doesn’t, except when you consider the reasons WHY they are against commercial development in the areas outside of Hollister. 

It’s clearly self-serving. They’re in favor of anything that benefits the City of Hollister, but against anything that only helps the county…or, in the case of the Aromas-based PORC, adamantly opposed to any commercial development in their own backyard (along 101), and yet totally silent on anything that happens in Hollister. Did you hear a peep from any of these people when it came to the huge Amazon warehouse? 

I’m in support of Amazon coming here. But its arrival clearly shows how inconsistent and hypocritical some people are in our community when it comes to commercial development. 

The county badly needs increased revenue such as that which comes from the sales tax generated by new businesses in the unincorporated parts of the county. The Amazon facility and other businesses in the airport business parks, although good for the community as a whole, do not help the county’s revenues, as they are all within the city limits of Hollister. Their sales tax revenue goes to the City of Hollister. 

And yet, the same people that are fully supportive of these Hollister commercial developments are telling us that a new business on a major thoroughfare like Highway 101, or at the site of other “commercial nodes” identified in the county’s General Plan, are bad. If you’re in support of those developments, you’re somehow against everything good in our community. Obviously, that’s ridiculous. 

I urge everyone to think about this a bit and consider whether it makes sense to shut out San Benito County from the benefits of new businesses in its unincorporated parts, which is exactly what Measure Q would do. 

This is a small community, and we need to think about what’s best for all of it, not just what’s best for the City of Hollister. Please vote NO on Q. 

Bob Tiffany 

San Benito County Supervisor, District 4 

Long-Time Resident and Businessperson

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