Signatures valid for Strada Verde initiative, Registrar of Voters reports

Supervisors to consider placing measure on ballot

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EARLY LOOK A conceptual plan for the Strada Verde Innovation Park shows the scope of the project. Submitted drawing

The San Benito County Registrar of Voters has certified an initiative that would create a plan for a major development at the northern end of the county.

The Board of Supervisors will decide July 21 whether to approve the initiative outright or put it to the voters in November.

The 2,777-acre Strada Verde Innovation Park project, which would be accessed from the Betabel Road interchange on Highway 101, is located between highways 25 and 101, bordered by the Pajaro River to the northwest. It is near the Santa Clara County border line, roughly seven miles south of Gilroy.

Early proposals call for automotive testing facilities, including a three-mile straightaway and high-speed tracks, which are in “high demand by automakers and emerging technology companies,” the proposal by Newport Beach-based developer Newport Pacific Land Company states.

An e-commerce center including up to 5.8 million square feet is also envisioned.

The project proposes 562 acres for agriculture, as well as a 209-acre park adjacent to a three-mile stretch of the Pajaro River, where a multi-use trail and wildlife observation areas for the public would be built.

According to the campaign committee in support of the project, San Benito County Residents for Job Creation, 3,205 signatures were collected over 10 days.

In a report to the supervisors, County Clerk staff Angela Curro and Francisco Diaz wrote that a random sample of signatures found 2,538 valid signatures, above the 2,060 needed to qualify.

The supervisors will now decide to adopt the initiative, or submit it to the voters for consideration in November. The Registrar of Voters estimates that the cost to place the measure on the ballot would be approximately $5,000-$15,000. 

If placed on the ballot, the following question will be asked of voters:

“Shall an initiative be adopted enacting the ‘Strada Verde Innovation Park Specific Plan,’ and making County General Plan and Code Amendments, for approximately 2,777 acres in northwest San Benito County, allowing various uses (including Research/Development, Automotive Testing/Tracks, Distribution, Offices, Business/Professional Services Commercial, Light Industrial, Hospitality, Retail, and Public/Private Services) and requiring the creation of a 209.5 acre Pajaro River Park and preservation of 561.7 acres exclusively for agriculture?”

The Board of Supervisors will meet July 21 at 9am. To view the agenda, visit tinyurl.com/y6n6v2eu.

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