The process to create a blueprint for how Gilroy will grow in the next 20 years was halted last year when the citizen-led initiative to place an Urban Growth Boundary around the city started gathering momentum. Now that Measure H is the law of the land, city leaders aim to get General Plan 2040 back on track, while calling for greater community participation.
“A lot of things in the pipeline will follow the adoption of the General Plan,” said Mayor Roland Velasco. “The sooner we get this done, the sooner we can get back to other items.” At a joint study session with the planning commission last week, the city council chose the most comprehensive–and expensive–of three options submitted by city staff on how to resume the lengthy process, which determines not just land use policy but everything from transportation to public safety. City administrator, Gabe Gonzalez told the council, it was not so much impacts over the next five to 10 years that need to be reexamined, but what will happen to the city 10-plus years from now when land for new development becomes harder to find and fees collected from developers the city relies on to create new transportation infrastructure dries up. The Urban Growth Boundary reduced the area of land for future residential development by 450 acres/4,344 dwelling units and for non-residential development, by 327 acres, which equates to approximately 5,900 jobs, according to an independent report the city commissioned last year, at a cost of $150,000.
When GP 2040 was paused in April 2016, pending the results of Measure H, the city had already spent nearly three years and $854,398 (of a $1,063,112 total budget). Staff estimates the additional analysis and community input will take 24 to 36 months to complete and cost $677,000. In 2015, the city council approved the establishment of a fee surcharge to help pay for future updates to the general plan and combined with what is remaining of the original budget, city staff estimates the city council may need to approve $268,000 in General Fund monies to pay for the shortfall. Follow the process at www.gilroy2040.com.