Housing or jobs: City of San Jose and Santa Clara University disagree over how to use 3-acres of land

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- ABC7 News is committed to building a better Bay Area and job creation and housing are both important factors. But there's a disagreement in the South Bay over which is more important.

Santa Clara University wants to build housing for hundreds of students and staff, but the land is zoned for something else.

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It's a disagreement over a warehouse. The university wants to build 290 units of housing for faculty, staff and students there-- from studios up to three bedroom apartments. It's part of an effort to stop losing employees struggling with high housing costs.

However, the three-acre site is zoned industrial, and the San Jose planning staff is against re-zoning.

Jared Hart, the San Hose Planning Division Manager, said, "Industrial lands make up less than three percent of our total portfolio. They provide vitally important jobs for residents of all skills."

The University points out there's multi-family housing on both sides of the warehouse, and the site fits the definition of a transit-oriented development because a Caltrain station is yards away. A BART station will be coming in a few years.

Chris Shay, the Santa Clara University Operations Vice President, said, "I think that the taxpayers are putting in a BART station here at the campus as well as Caltrain, we really have to look at the use of this land and make sure that we're getting the highest and best use for that."

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The proposed development will also house an incubator for start-up's, which the university says will create jobs.

"If a mini-warehouse goes into that space with two or three jobs versus 290 families and an incubator, this will be a major loss for San Jose as well as Santa Clara University," said Chris Shay, the Santa Clara university Operations Vice President.

Carly Koebel, the President of the Staff Senate, tells ABC7 News the university staff commute from five of the nine Bay Area counties

"Who wants to drive 90 minutes, two hours, to start their day, then 90 minutes, two hours home? You lose family time. You lose personal time."

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Is this an either or situation? It appears the San Jose City Council will have to weigh in at a meeting next month and determine which is more important-- housing or jobs.

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