City will not appeal Mi Pueblo decision

The colors for the Mi Pueblo Food Centers are typically pink,

The Gilroy City Council decided not to appeal the Planning
Commission’s decision to let Mi Pueblo foods store keep its colors
The Gilroy City Council decided not to appeal the Planning Commission’s decision to let Mi Pueblo keep its colors Monday.

Mayor Al Pinheiro, who asked city staff to place a motion to consider the appeal on Monday’s agenda, was the only one to vote in favor of the item. Councilman Perry Woodward who arrived late, decided to abstain from voting.

The appeal would have questioned the decision-making process of the Planning Commission.

At the Oct. 7 Planning Commission meeting, the issue was the Planning Department’s claim that the Hispanic foods store’s bright cranberry, yellow and blue corporate color scheme was out of place with the all-beige stores on the 700 block of First Street in Gilroy. The result was a 5-2 vote to approve Mi Pueblo’s appeal against the Planning Department’s decision.

The mayor’s request was put into question by Councilman Craig Gartman who said the Planning Commission process should be discussed directly with the Planning Department rather than appealing.

“We need to define if the decision is to appeal or change, the code or if it is an issue of color,” said Gartman. “Because if it’s a process issue, we should be working with the Planning Department.”

Richard Spitler, president and chief executive officer of the Gilroy Economic Development Corporation, took the podium during the public comment session and said the Council should be revising the City code because it is too vague.

“The problem lies with your code, and I don’t believe you should take it out on the Planning Commission,” he said.

City Zoning Ordinance Section 50.44 requires any planned building needs to be harmonious with the adjacent development.

Pinheiro said little attention was paid to the Zoning Ordinance and too much on the economic benefits of the foods store, which is not the Planning Commission’s job.

After watching the Planning Commission’s meeting, Pinheiro said he decided to bring the issue to the Council because the Commission had not properly questioned whether the grocery store chain was complying with city code.

Section 51.50 of the Zoning Ordinance allows the City Council to appeal a decision made by the planning commission within 20 days, but it’s not common for the Council to appeal the Planning Commission’s decision, Pinheiro said.

The San Jose-based Hispanic foods chain has 17 locations throughout Northern California with $2.8 million invested in the Gilroy store.

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