Glass buildings may help people inside feel more connected to the outdoors, but they’re a death trap for birds that crash into them. To curb avian collisions, San Jose will consider requiring developers to abide by bird-friendly architectural guidelines if they want to build along the city’s riparian corridors.
The proposal, which comes up for a vote at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, is modeled after rules in San Francisco and would apply only to development north of Highway 237.
Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society and other environmental groups have been urging the city to adopt bird-safe building requirements for years. Hundreds of millions of birds in North America die by flying into reflective buildings each year, according to the American Bird Conservancy.
Millions of those deaths are estimated to occur in San Jose, which lies along the Pacific Flyway avian migratory passage.
A couple years after a fledgling Peregrine falcon fatally struck a window at San Jose City Hall, the city drummed up a voluntary checklist for builders and homeowners to prevent such deaths. If the council codifies those guidelines, San Jose would join San Francisco, Oakland, Sunnyvale, Mountain View and Palo Alto as cities with bird-friendly design rules on the books.
The Committee for Green Foothills, however, would like to see those rules extended to all the city’s riparian corridors, not just the ones north of Highway 237.
Mayor Sam Liccardo wants to gather more data before adopting the policy. In a memo co-signed by council members Ash Kalra, Chappie Jones, Raul Peralez and Vice Mayor Rose Herrera, he suggests that the city consider rules that wouldn’t impose unreasonable costs to new development.
More from the San Jose City Council agenda for August 23, 2016:
- The city will consider spending close to $1.4 million on two crash-and-rescue firefighting trucks for Mineta San Jose International Airport.
- San Jose may modify its new rent control ordinance, which cut the annual allowable rent increase from 8 percent to 5 percent, by granting an exemption to landlords who can prove that they need to raise the rent higher to see a “fair return” on investment. The 5 percent annual increase should give the “vast majority” of owners a fair return, according to the city. But landlords who can prove that they’re operating at a loss will be able to petition for a higher rent hike under the guidelines.
WHAT: City Council meets
WHEN: 1:30pm Tuesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260