Battle Brewing Over Anson Ct. Development

Plans to build six homes where one now stands may draw ire
similar to Miller Avenue project
Gilroy – The latest bout of not-so-neighborly fighting between residents and developers has broken out over a housing proposal in northwest Gilroy.

Invoking the specter of a controversial housing project approved earlier this fall, neighbors complained to councilmen Monday about the increase in traffic, noise and density that could result from a proposal for 1645 Anson Court. The one-acre project, just north of Mantelli Drive, involves the construction of six homes where a single house now stands.

“I think you kind of got two tensions here,” one resident said. “There are people who want to make money. That’s fair. And you have a community that likes their area. I think some compromise (is needed) to reduce the number of those houses to something reasonable – that’s your task to try and accommodate both these tensions.”

The council juggled similar concerns this summer over a six-unit project for Miller Avenue, one of Gilroy’s showcase streets. A split council led by Mayor Al Pinheiro pushed through the project in September despite widespread opposition from dozens of neighborhood residents and their sympathizers.

On Monday, Councilman Craig Gartman, who voted against the Miller Avenue project, noted that the Anson Court proposal shared traits with past housing controversies.

“We have a battle between what is being proposed to be developed and what the neighbors would like to see,” he said. “I’m hoping we can … have the neighbors and developers get back together again and resolve some of these differences.”

Mayor Al Pinheiro responded that “there’s a difference between a developer going back and trying to work things out” and the all-out opposition developers faced on Miller Avenue.

“If the premise is that no matter what the developer does you don’t want it there, you’re going to have a hard time convincing me that there’s nothing that’s going to happen,” he said. “You can’t take away the ability of a person that’s got a piece of land to develop it in a way that makes sense.”

The Anson Court neighbors may have less hope than their Miller Avenue counterparts, who won greater sympathy on the dais in the run-up to the Nov. 8 election. Councilmen Bob Dillon and Russ Valiquette, who voted against the Miller Avenue project, said they do not believe the current proposal runs foul of the neighborhood’s character.

“Look at the size of the parcels, at the neighborhood. It’s not a historic area of the community,” Valiquette said in an interview. “It’s a completely different situation.”

Dillon’s motion to approve the project was defeated and council voted instead to continue the public hearing on the matter in hopes that developers with Glen Loma Group could hash out differences with neighbors.

Project representative Tim Filice pledged to continue addressing traffic, noise and other concerns, but did not make any promises with respect to reducing the number of homes.

“This is going to be a very difficult compromise,” he said. “We can try, but I just want the expectations to be realistic.”

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