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SAN JOSE, CA-In a decision that angered but did not surprise critics, city planning commission members last night gave their go-ahead for software titan Cisco Systems to build its controversial 20,000-worker campus on the southern edge of the city.

The $1 billion project now goes before the City Council on Oct. 24. City officials, including mayor Ron Gonzales, have been highly in favor of the project.

Cisco, San Jose’s largest employer, wants to develop 688-acres within San Jose’s North Coyote Valley Campus Industrial Area, located 11 miles south of downtown in the northern most portion of Coyote Valley. The commission voted 6-1 to approve the project’s environmental impact study as well as a shift in area zoning. The parcel, San Jose’s last substantial piece of undeveloped property, is being reclassified from agricultural use to planned development.

Environmentalists and neighbors say the development will increase traffic, raise rents, and worsen the environment. Cisco says that its workers will have a reverse commute, will not worsen traffic, and will not all elect to live in the Coyote Valley area, thereby not raising rents.

The North Coyote Valley Campus Industrial Area includes approximately 1,400 acres specifically designated for large, high prestige corporate campuses more than 15 years ago in San Jose’s General Plan. In 1994, the City of San Jose adopted General Plan 2020, reaffirming Campus Industrial uses in North Coyote Valley.

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