Alviso residents angry over fencing structure blocking the bay
A rendering of the proposed fencing structure in front of the Alviso Bay to shelter the county's boat.

Some Alviso residents are shaking their heads over a proposed fencing structure on the Alviso County Marina Park, raising concerns that they were not notified about the project after the framework for the structure went up earlier this week.

And now county officials have put that work on hold to solicit community input — something locals say never happened.

“How can the county parks and recreation have that kind of authority to build something and not notify the community?” said Richard Santos, an Alviso resident and Santa Clara Valley Water District board member. “Right now, the frame is up. And that’s very disrespectful to anybody who has been visiting out there for years, and never got the chance to be notified if they want it or not.”

Santos said the proposed structure will block the view of the Alviso Bay, and he’s angry that the community was not asked to participate in a public meeting, especially since the project is on public land. Instead of placing the structure — which holds the county’s boat — on the parking lot, Santos proposed storing the boat in a rental space in town.

“We don’t want to block the views that’s always been open for the last 60 years,” added Santos. “People go up there to walk, see the river and see all the restoration. And it’s always been open, there’s no need to put a building there.”

The proposed structure will shelter the county’s boat used for educational and environmentalist tours around the salt marshes at the park. County officials said a possible site for the structure is being considered on the park’s parking lot to prevent the boat from getting damaged.

“It is more of a fenced structured enclosure to cover a large 40-person safari boat that’s used for tours for youth groups and environmentalists of the Marina,” said Don Rocha, chief of staff for Supervisor Dave Cortese, who represents the Alviso area. “It’s sitting there right now exposed. We weren’t able to identify a docking area, so they were building this enclosure on the parking lot to provide a space for that to be stored.”

Rocha said Cortese didn’t know about the project until a day ago, when local residents started complaining that they were not notified about the proposed structure. But Rocha said the parks and recreation department posted a flyer on site notifying residents that the project was underway.

Following the backlash, the county parks and recreation department said work has been temporarily suspended until a better site for the project can be found. Parks and recreation officials said community outreach was not planned for the proposed site, which only needs a permit.

“We have stopped work on the project and are considering holding a site meeting in the near future to discuss reasons for the location of the storage structure,” said Tamara Clark, a spokesperson for the county’s Parks and Recreation department.

Now, Cortese and County Executive Jeff Smith’s office are working in partnership with the Santa Clara Valley Water District to identify a better place in the park for a docking structure. Cortese’s office suggested county officials hold off until a meeting with the water district and the community takes place.

“We passed along a suggestion that we work with the water district on identifying a place in the marina because they kind of oversee the watershed areas where we can store or dock the boat,” added Rocha. “So we’re suggesting county staff hold off on completing this or proceeding until that conversation takes place and see if there’s an opportunity to store somewhere else.”

Contact Nadia Lopez at nadia@sanjosespotlight.com or follow @n_llopez on Twitter.

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