OPINION: Annexation Would Be Good for Gilroy

721 acres

LAFCO’S 1984 report is the example of what smart growth is truly all about. This same report was then extended in 2006, and again in 2014, without modifications, 30-plus years!

It takes into account land use for agriculture, commercial, and residential for now and the future, and LAFCO was intentionally created by the state of California to prevent sprawl and unmitigated growth as was done in San Jose and other cities of Santa Clara County during the early 1960s.

In fact, this 30-plus year odyssey began in 1969 when LAFCO allowed Gilroy to annex two smaller properties that lay within the boundaries of Subarea 3—this was a whopping 47 years ago.

How can anyone with knowledge of the truth about LAFCO’s 30-year “Sphere of Influence Study for Gilroy” believe that the annexation of Subarea 3 (Rancho Los Olivos) is being “fast-tracked,” as claimed by Gilroy Growing Smarter?

Indeed, over the last 30 years, the city of Gilroy has strictly followed LAFCO’s 30-year-old report and its specified guidelines to a “T.”

Innuendos of conspiracies are merely tactics to prohibit growth, while trying to vilify those like Mayor Perry Woodward, Councilmembers Cat Tucker, Terri Aulman, and Peter Leroe-Muñoz.

These members of the City Council have well served our community for many years and are truly the responsible leaders of our city, who have the political and moral backbone and judgment to do the right thing for Gilroy’s future.

In 1984, LAFCO designated Subareas 2 & 3 as the priority areas slated for future residential growth and it took 33 years for the city of Gilroy to finally decide it is time to consider annexing it into the city for future development 15 to 20 years from now, when the current properties available within the city have been built out and there is no more land available to develop.

In the meantime, the city would have ample time to plan the area layout for the future; gas, electric, sewer lines, sidewalks and streets, traffic flow, stop signs and lights, telephone lines, in order to design the whole project properly and avoid the sprawl that smaller projects are known to cause.

Without this annexation, the city will still have RDOs available but no land to build on, which is hardly a good thing for the future vitality and vibrancy of our city, its businesses, and jobs.

Already, the city of Gilroy finds itself without enough cheap land to build a new school that is necessary to meet our current needs, even though there is enough money available to build it.  The only available land is too expensive for the school district to consider and would take up more of their funds than they are willing to spend.

So citizens of Gilroy, should someone ask you to sign your name on a sheet of paper, before you do, tell them to “show me,” just like in Missouri.

Challenge them to show you the data on why LAFCO’s plan is not smart growth and why theirs is. Don’t sign anything until you are fully informed of what you are being asked to sign. Inform yourself first. Otherwise, you and our city will suffer greatly from the unintended consequences of short sightedness.

Can you imagine? Anytime the school district needs land to build a new school, the city will need to spend $100,000 just to put it on the ballot, not to mention land for any other needs for our community. What a fiasco!

Ron Kirkish is a retired semiconductor engineer and longtime Gilroy resident with two grown sons who attended Gilroy schools. He wrote this for the Dispatch.

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