A 6-story hotel on Winchester Boulevard may win the approval of the San Jose City Council next week, despite strong disapproval from residents in the neighborhood.
On Tuesday, councilmembers will vote on whether to rezone the land from residential to commercial development and approve the developer’s plans to build a 119-room hotel on a 0.69-acre parcel at 1212 S. Winchester Blvd. If approved, the hotel will replace two commercial buildings that used to be single-story houses.
The property is owned by local San Jose dentist Dr. Adam Askari who is working with Henry Cord of Cord Associates to develop the property.
“It’s a monstrosity of a building that just doesn’t fit,” Jeff Williams, a resident who lives near the proposed hotel, told San José Spotlight.
Residents like Williams are rallying against the project, noting a 6-story hotel would tower over those living in the single-story residential neighborhood. Some say it would also impact the safety and comfortability of the neighbors.
“We’ve been in this neighborhood 30, 40, 50 years and it’s encroaching onto the neighborhood,” said Vince Navarra, president of the Hamann Park Neighborhood Association.
Navarra said if approved, the hotel would increase traffic which the neighborhood cannot not absorb. The hotel would impact the day-to-day lives of residents going to work, the safety of the children who walk to the school half a mile away, as well as pedestrians and bikers along Winchester Boulevard.
Winchester Boulevard is major traffic artery that cuts through San Jose and connects multiple cities from Santa Clara to Los Gatos. Several of its intersections, such as Hamilton Avenue and Stevens Creek Boulevard, become congested during rush hour. These intersections also bookend the location of the proposed hotel.
“Plans show there is no room for fire lanes, for adequate parking or for the Ubers and Lyfts that are going to pick up visitors in the hotel, (or) for bike lanes we were promised,” Navarra said, adding it doesn’t benefit residents and violates elements of San Jose’s Urban Village Plan.
In the city’s plan, the parcel for the proposed hotel has a “neighborhood/community commercial” land use designation defined as shallow lots that can accommodate small commercial businesses with a “strong connection to, and provide services and amenities for, the community.”
San Jose Vice Mayor Chappie Jones, who represents District 1 which includes the proposed hotel site, said while residents are in favor of what the Urban Village Plan promised, the hotel does not fit the standards. He told San José Spotlight he will not vote in favor of the hotel.
“I think that there could have been and should have been some concessions or compromises that took place that I haven’t seen,” Jones said. “The building is just very dramatic and the surrounding communities have been willing to compromise.”
If it was a small bed and breakfast for example, residents probably wouldn’t mind, he said. But the developers are reluctant to make major changes to the size and scale of the hotel. When asked to adjust the plan to fit community asks, the developer offered to plant cypress trees for adjacent neighbors with a price tag of $1 million, Cord wrote in a letter to the City Council. Cord continued it was an offer that was “flatly rejected.”
“We’re in favor of development,” resident Tom Morman said. “We’re just looking for something more suitable for our neighborhood.”
Morman said neighbors asked Jones if they could build senior housing, or a three-story apartment complex with retail space on the first floor instead of the hotel—a move he said Jones supported.
However, the developer’s plans won recommendation from the city’s Department of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement.
“Staff’s recommendation to approve the project is based on consistency with the general plan and Winchester Urban Village Plan for this area,” Cheryl Wessling, spokesperson for the Department of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement, told San José Spotlight. “Hotels play a key role in the economic vibrancy of cities and meet the purpose of providing accommodations to travelers.”
Residents said the proposed hotel, which would be located 1.5 miles away from Santana Row and 1.5 miles away from downtown Campbell, is better suited for a number of other parcels in the area—including others in the Urban Village Plan.
“This vote will show if the City Council has a social conscience,” Williams said. “Are they really concerned about citizens of the city? Or are they just concerned about business?”
Contact Jana Kadah at [email protected] or @Jana_Kadah on Twitter.