The city rezoned an 18-acre parcel of property in south Morgan
Hill, opening up what one real estate person called “one of the
nicest sites” in town to a wider variety of uses.
The city rezoned an 18-acre parcel of property in south Morgan Hill, opening up what one real estate person called “one of the nicest sites” in town to a wider variety of uses.
The property on the northwest side of the intersection of Juan Hernandez Drive and Tennant Avenue was rezoned from industrial to commercial. The property is adjacent to U.S. 101 and Barrett Elementary School.
The owner, the Health Trust, plans to sell the property and wanted to change its classification to make the property more marketable, according to Michael Groves of the consultant EMC Planning Group.
City staff said the commercial zoning, which opens the property up to development for possible retail, dining and other commercial uses such as gas stations, represents the “highest and best use of the site.”
“It would be more compatible than industrial with the adjacent school and residential uses,” Morgan Hill senior planner Rebecca Tolentino.
The council unanimously approved the rezoning request, with a requirement that all uses on the property be reviewed by the council and approved at its discretion.
Shortly following the request, the Morgan Hill Unified School District and a resident asked the city to prohibit all auto-related uses at the site, including automobile dealerships, mechanic shops and perhaps even auto parts stores, in order to limit the traffic danger to Barrett Elementary students.
After the planning commission recommended adding a “planned development overlay” to the site, allowing the council to review specific applications, the school district accepted the zoning change.
Real estate agent Mark Sanchez, who did not claim an affiliation with the property when he addressed the council last Wednesday, said the industrial zoning is “obsolete.” That designation would have allowed only non-retail business uses such as manufacturing.
“It’s probably one of the nicest sites in Morgan Hill now,” Sanchez said. “The zoning there really has to be changed.”
Councilman Larry Carr, who was on the general plan update committee several years ago when the property was initially classified as industrial, said the reason it was zoned that way was specifically to prevent the property from being marketable. He said the site is “the last freeway interchange that can be developed” on U.S. 101 between Morgan Hill and San Jose.
“The PD overlay does give us the ability and discretion to work on the different issues that may come up (such as) how we buffer, where we perhaps mask the development to provide the best development along the highway, without an impact to the school and residences,” Carr said.