SAN JOSE, CA-In a vote destined to change the face of southern San Jose, City council members on Tuesday night gave unanimous approval to Cisco Systems’ 688-acre campus proposed 11 miles south of Downtown in the North Coyote Valley area.

Although decried by environmentalists and neighbors, the $3-billion project is supported by San Jose mayor Ron Gonzales. Gonzales says a high-tech presence in the area will not bring about environmental and traffic problems and will be a financial boon to the area.

Cisco is San Jose’s largest employer. It has worked for more than a year and a half to convince the city to allow the 688-acre, 6.6-million sf campus to become reality. As part of the approval, the city is sharing the financial burden of preparing the formerly agricultural area for the high-tech presence.

Representatives from environmental groups Sierra Club and Greenbelt Alliances protested the campus at the meeting. Those organizations, along with several nearby cities, are threatening legal action over approval of the campus.

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