Legal action threatened against development

Two residents have threatened legal action against developer
Duffy and Guenther if the firm continues with a controversial
42-unit development close to their home.
Two residents have threatened legal action against developer Duffy and Guenther if the firm continues with a controversial 42-unit development close to their home.

Gail and Jake Williams who live in the 1000 block of Mesa Road, asked their attorney Kevin Cody to speak Monday’s City Council meeting on the Wildflower Court residential development before 30 residents including City Council candidate Russ Valiquette, who opposed the development.

“(The Williams couple) is committed to taking whatever legal action for this development not to go forward,” he said. “Hopefully those actions won’t be necessary with all the presence here.”

Cody said the residents of the area have a right to access streets and the increase in the density of this project makes it difficult for them to do so, making the development subject to injunction.

Ralph Guenther, the applicant, asked the Council to give him more time to reach out to the community and continue the discussion on December 6, at 4:00 p.m. this afternoon, said Mayor Al Pinheiro.

The Council voted 4-3 to review it December 20 instead, so as not to interfere with the seating of the new City Councilmen to be elected Tuesday.

Councilwoman Cat Tucker and councilmen Dion Bracco and Perry Woodward voted in favor of voting on the matter at this session. Other councilmen argued the Council has never not allowed a continuance when requested by a developer, saying the decision to vote today would set a precedent.

“This is when you hate to be the mayor,” Pinheiro told the public. “It’s very important that the community understands how things are done and that if we don’t adhere to them they’ll say that we’re not doing the right thing.”

The Wildflower Court property is a 42-single-family-home proposal for shovel-ready.

The Council previously looked at letting the applicant build a 12-unit development under the city’s normal development allocation guidelines. Guenther recently increased the number of units under the shovel ready exemption.

The exemption, passed by the City Council in August, allowed the property to bypass the normal development allocation process limiting the development growth of the city, provided developers build within 36 months.

Residents say shovel ready allowed for a development density that proved untenable for residents of Mesa Ridge and Mesa Road.

“We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the shovel ready exception,” said councilman Woodward. “We had a lot of stalled projects but I was told ‘you’re opening up a real can of worms if you do this.”

The Gilroy Planning Commission decided on a 6-1 vote to recommend the City Council approve a tentative map of the Monterey Street development on Oct. 7.

Former Councilman and Planning Commissioner Valiquette said he sat through three meetings at Planning Commission and three meetings at the City Council and agreed with a 12-unit development, but not a 42-unit one.

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