22 vying for eight task-force seats

GILROY
– A large and diverse group of people – ranging from city
officials to builders to a former state Assembly candidate – have
cast their names into the ring to help plan the future of Gilroy’s
historic downtown.
GILROY – A large and diverse group of people – ranging from city officials to builders to a former state Assembly candidate – have cast their names into the ring to help plan the future of Gilroy’s historic downtown.

With an application deadline come and gone, 22 people have submitted applications to serve on the city’s Downtown Specific Plan Task Force.

The document that the eventual members of the group will work to create – the Downtown Specific Plan – is expected to have a big influence on downtown’s future and revitalization efforts there.

Unlike some past plans on downtown which were more advisory in nature, the plan will hold actual authority over much of what occurs along the city’s historic commercial core along Monterey Street over the next two decades.

So far, it’s shaping up to be a crowded field for the eight non-governmental slots on the task force, which Council has set to include two downtown property owners, two downtown business owners, two citizens at large and a member each from the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce and Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Several downtown-area property and business owners have cast applications, among them David Peoples, who is president of the city’s downtown association; Jim Gailey; Joan Buchanan; Jim Habing; Pamela Martin; Richard Young and Mary Jenney.

Other applicants include former Councilwoman Connie Rogers; Arthur Darden, a computing manager at Abbott Laboratories; Diane Greer, a property manager for Brandenburg Properties in San Jose; city Economic Development Director Bill Lindsteadt; former school board president and assembly candidate Jane Howard; Dispatch publisher William Barry; redevelopment committee veteran Rick Mello; Realtor Chris Ordaz; city commission veteran Donna Pray; contractor David Sheedy; business owner Darlene Sotelo; builders James Suner and Gary Walton; Brad Bannister and Hispanic Chamber leader John Ceballos.

Gilroy Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Susan Valenta and Hispanic Chamber of Commerce board member Dennis Gaxiola have also applied for slots.

The task force’s role will be to interpret the general policy statements and visions laid out in the city’s overall master land-use policy “Bible,” the General Plan, that was adopted by City Council this summer.

Those statements and visions will be turned into a more specific series of regulations and rules affecting key issues in the downtown. The list may include everything from residential building standards to parking rules and regulations to the kind of financial incentives offered by the city for renovations or new construction in the area.

The members Council eventually choose will potentially join Council members Al Pinheiro and Roland Velasco, who have put in bids for two seats reserved just for their elected body. Cat Tucker and Russ Valiquette have also put in bids for two seats reserved for the Planning Commission.

Council was scheduled to review applications at a 7 p.m. meeting tonight, but rescheduled it for Jan. 21 to allow councilmembers to attend a meeting with state legislators on local impacts from the state budget crisis.

Applicants for the city’s Downtown Specific Plan Task Force:

Joan Buchanan

Jim Gailey

Jane Howard

Rick Mello

Donna Pray

Darlene Sotelo

John Ceballos

Diane Greer

Bill Lindsteadt

Chris Ordaz

Connie Rogers

James Suner

Arthur Darden

Jim Habing

Pamela Martin

David Peoples

David Sheedy

Richard Young

William Barry

Mary Jenney

Gary Walton

Brad Bannister

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