City Hall Upgrades and Senior Housing on the Tracks

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Mayor Perry Woodward opened Monday’s Gilroy City Council meeting by presenting honorary certificates to Joel Goldsmith, Terri Neidigh, Alex Salinas and Claudia Salinas for their “heroic lifesaving efforts.” The quick-thinking good samaritans rushed in to perform CPR on Joe Lomeli on Feb. 26 when the 75-year-old retired AT&T engineer suddenly collapsed at Snap Fitness. The full story can be found here:

Council updates

Mayor Woodward stated there are now just four unreinforced masonry buildings in Gilroy’s downtown core that are in no stage of remediation, including the old creamery building and water store.

Councilmember Daniel Harney updated the council on his first meeting on April 13 as a member of the Board of Directors of Silicon Valley Clean Energy. Gilroy is one of 12 communities in Santa Clara County that passed an ordinance to form and join a Joint Powers Authority, a local non-profit public agency that will run the Community Choice Energy program. He said the authority will begin work on developing a comprehensive communication plan in preparation for outreach efforts to community members.

Councilmember Peter Leroe-Muñoz sought to remind Gilroyans that despite recent rainfall, the Santa Clara Valley Water District is keeping its call for a 30 percent reduction in water use and maximum twice-weekly landscape watering. The latest figures show Gilroy has received 12.01 inches of rainfall this season, which is 94 percent of average for this time of year.

A fresh lick of paint

The council approved a bid for $320,000 to Everlast Builders, Inc, for upgrades to City Hall and council chambers. The bid includes the proposal amount of $283,000 from the contractor, plus a $37,000 contingency fee. In February, the council directed staff to proceed with planned renovations to the building.

The scope of work will address deferred maintenance projects, including replacement of the facility’s 25 year-old carpet and even older theater-style seating in the chamber hall. The bid covers the removal of old wallpaper, new paint, replacement of the carpet and seating. The work will primarily be done during evenings and weekends to minimize disruption. Completion is expected in about 10 weeks.

Developer Threatens to Sue Each Councilmember

The council continued discussion of the proposed senior affordable housing complex on the east side of Monterey Road. The application for Gateway Apartments, a 75-unit, four-story complex proposed for a 1.86-acre site on vacant land was initially denied by the Planning Commission on February 18. The applicant appealed the decision to the council, which discussed the project at sessions on March 21 and April 4. The applicant, AMG & Associates, has threatened to sue the city and each council member if the appeal is denied by the council, so the issue was also discussed during closed session. The council’s main concern has centered on pedestrian and resident safety, as the project will be located on a thoroughfare with fast-moving and industrial traffic.

The council previously directed staff to reach out to the applicant to determine the feasibility of putting in a sidewalk from the project site to facilities on 10th street. Staff told the council AMG refused a phone conference to discuss reimbursing AMG for the cost of putting in a concrete curb and gutter for added protection. According to their analysis, city staff recommends that the asphalt all-weather path proposed by the applicant include concrete curb, gutter, driveway aprons and storm drain improvements. During council discussions, Leroe-Muñoz said that, “aesthetically alone,” he would like to see a concrete sidewalk as the entrance to the city should give a positive message about “our standards” and a curb and gutter is “nowhere near as appealing as a sidewalk.” However, he said the council needs to be cognizant of the legality of their decision, adding that “our hands may be tied, so the decision may have to be made for us, unfortunately.”

In the end, the council voted 5-2, with Harney and Councilmember Roland Velasco voting no, to grant the applicant’s appeal, creating a new condition for the sidewalk installation, changing it to concrete, as opposed to asphalt.

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