Court says dismiss senior housing developer’s claim against city

A row of cherry trees in the orchard that two developers want to

The City of Gilroy is closer to seeing its legal conflict involving a proposed 349-unit housing project in a south Gilroy cherry orchard dismissed after a Superior Court judge ruled the city did not violate the developer’s rights to a public hearing.

The Pacific Grove-based CW Design & Development filed a petition in August 2011 alleging that because the city chose in January 2011 to put hearings related to senior housing on hold until the state certified its new housing plan – it violated the developer’s rights to meet affordable housing standards.

The 349-unit affordable senior housing development was proposed for an active 82-acre cherry orchard on Bolsa Road, southeast of Highway 101 in 2009.

In a July 11, 2011 letter to City Attorney Andrew Faber, Philip R. McCowan, developer Bill Cusack’s attorney, claims that the issue regarding attorney’s fees could be solved through mediation, and there no reason to also delay the hearings.

But City Administrator Tom Haglund maintained that the housing plan contained such guidelines that the state’s housing department needed to first identify how the city might be able to meet its housing needs before further discussion on any new housing project.

Cusack has said that Gilroy failed to fulfill the state’s affordable housing requirements and should take on any projects to help satisfy them.

In a memo to City Council members Wednesday morning – following the judge’s ruling Tuesday – the city’s attorney Faber said Superior Court Judge Patricia Lucas ruled that the City Council’s “findings contained sufficient evidence of an ‘imminent threat’” and Lucas followed the case law that determines courts are not to second guess such “determinations made by local agencies.”’

Judge Lucas denied CW Development to file another claim and the case will be dismissed following the city’s submission of final paperwork.