Cisco Systems announced in late October that it would not construct an enormous new campus in San Jose's Coyote Valley (see CP&DR, June 2000, September 1999). Instead of building a 6.6 million-square-foot campus for up to 20,000 workers, Cisco said it would build 1 million to 3 million square feet of facilities — eventually. The announcement came only five days after Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Leslie Nichols ruled that the environmental impact report for the proposed 688-acre campus was adequate. Nichols ruled against Santa Cruz County, the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments, the Sierra Club and the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society. They argued that the EIR did not adequately address housing needs, traffic, provision utilities and loss of open space. Like many tech companies, Cisco has seen business slow dramatically, and earlier this year the company reported its first fiscal year loss since going public. Besides the Coyote Valley campus, Cisco has also put a hold on planned campuses in Fremont and Milpitas. The company already has about a dozen empty buildings in Silicon Valley. Cisco is not the only outfit sitting on empty buildings. Office vacancy rates in the Bay Area, especially in San Francisco, the Peninsula and the South Bay, have increased up to tenfold in a short period. In October, San Francisco commercial real estate brokers reported some of their worst numbers ever: A Class A office vacancy rate of 16% and a Class B vacancy rate of 22%. In San Mateo County, office vacancies increased from less than 2% to about 19% in about 18 months. At the same time, rents have reportedly dropped by at least 50% in many areas. The state Department of Housing and Community Development has issued a report that says local development fees "significantly contribute to … high housing costs and prices." The October report contains findings from a 1999 survey of 89 cities and counties that identifies fees for a 25-home subdivision, a single infill house and a 45-unit apartment building. The report found the average fee for the subdivision was $24,325 per unit, the average for the infill home was $20,327 and the average for the apartments was $15,531 per unit. The report calls California's fees "extremely high," and says shifting to other capital financing sources could result in a 4% to 8% increase in housing purchase affordability, and 1% to 4% increase in rent affordability. The report, called "Pay to Play, Residential Development Fees in California, 1999," includes recommendations for improving administration of permit fees and offers policy options for long-term capital improvements and financing mechanisms. The report is available at Participants at a two-day workshop for environmentalists and coastal management experts were told that urban growth and sprawl are threatening the East and West coasts. The group, composed of members of the Pew Oceans Commission, met in Portland during October to hear that coastal areas are being developed much faster than the rest of the country. U.S. coastal areas are home to two-thirds of the U.S. population. The 19-member commission is headed by former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta. The commission was formed last year with a $4.5-million grant from Pew Charitable Trusts. The commission is charged with finding solutions to the coastal pollution and marine habitat damage. The full commission will meet in November to begin drafting formal recommendations to present to Congress next year. Orange County residents are most concerned with growth-related issues, a survey released in late September revealed. The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) and UC Irvine survey shows a significant shift in opinion from just one year earlier when residents ranked crime and schools as Orange County's top problems. In the recent survey, residents listed population and development as the number one growth-related problem (21%), followed by the El Toro Airport controversy (14%), housing issues (13%), and traffic and transportation (12%). Despite their concerns, Orange County residents remain positive about their community. Most residents say they are satisfied with the local economy and quality of life. The survey is available at The San Clemente City Council unanimously approved a scaled-down plan for Marblehead, one of a few remaining undeveloped, privately owned coastal parcels in Southern California. The revised plan approved in September calls for Irvine-based Lusk Co. to develop 358 homes and approximately 750,000 square feet of commercial space, and to preserve 80 acres for open space. City officials expect that the commercial development will provide about 50% of San Clemente's future sales tax revenue. In exchange for city approvals, the developer also agreed to a more than $3.5 million package to provide for city improvements, including beach and downtown improvements, a new senior center and library expansion. For two decades, environmentalists protested development of the 250-acre property, which was once considered for the Richard M. Nixon library. But residents and activists concede that the approved plan is better than previous proposals. The California Coastal Commission must approve the plans before the project moves forward. The U.S. Congress in October approved $50.6 million for further cleanup of San Francisco's Hunter's Point Shipyard. The bill was shepherded through the Senate by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction. The bill is a $10.5-billion package for military construction projects, $529 million more than President George W. Bush requested. If signed by the president, the bill will provide $600 million for construction projects at California and Nevada military bases. The Navy has been under pressure from Feinstein and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown to finish the cleanup of the 500-acre Hunter's Point facility. The shipyard closed in 1974 and since 1989 has been on the federal government's Superfund list of the nation's worst toxic sites. The former shipyard is one of the largest unused sites in San Francisco. A task force to evaluate how best to clean up and protect the state's watersheds was created in October. The Joint Task Force on California Watershed Management is headed by Secretary of the California EPA Winston Hickox, Secretary for Resources Mary Nichols, and State Water Resources Control Board Chair Art Baggett. The newly created task force selected 10 programs as exemplary examples of watershed protection projects. Among the top state projects are those at Humboldt Bay Watershed, Los Penasquitos Watershed, Codornices Creek Watershed, and Arroyo Seco Watershed. The task force was established by AB 2117 (Wayne) and must submit a report evaluating the pilot projects and making recommendations for cooperative watershed projects to the Legislature by February 1, 2002. The Los Angeles County Sanitation District is pursuing the purchase of 14,000 acres in Kings County, east of Kettleman City, to use as a sewage sludge composting facility. The district and other metropolitan Los Angeles sanitation agencies have encountered opposition from southern San Joaquin Valley counties in the last couple years over the practice of spreading sewage sludge on farm fields (see CP&DR Environment Watch, July 2000). Some counties, including Kings, have placed tight restrictions on the practice. Before the district completes the land purchase and begins trucking 100,000 tons of sludge to the site annually, the landowner must receive a conditional use permit from the county. The San Diego City Council in October voted to kill plans to convert lightly used Brown Field into a large cargo airport (see CP&DR Economic Development, July 2000). The proposal had received widespread opposition from area residents and from officials in cities near the airport, which lies two miles north of the Mexican border. San Diego County officials also raised concerns about incompatibility with plans for a large business complex near the airport. The Martinez City Council has adopted an ordinance requiring stores that sell primarily tobacco and tobacco-related products to receive a conditional use permit. Correction. The correct name of the development featured in the September edition of Places is Sailhouse. Scheurer Architects designed the project.