wren hewell property annexation
A map shows the 55 acres that are proposed to be annexed into Gilroy’s city limits.
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A plan to annex 55 acres of land into Gilroy’s city limits, which could eventually house 307 residential units, may be considered in early 2023 after more than 20 years in the works.

Known as the Wren Investors and Hewell Urban Service Area Amendment, 50 acres of the property extends west of Wren Avenue, south of Vickery Avenue and north of Tatum Avenue. Another five-acre property nearby, northeast of the intersection of Vickery Lane and Kern Avenue, is also included in the proposal.

Most of the property sits across from the former Antonio Del Buono Elementary School, now the Santa Clara County Office of Education’s South County Annex.

The project was listed as an informational item on the Santa Clara County Local Agency Formation Commission’s (LAFCO) Dec. 7 meeting, but no report was given, said Executive Officer Neelima Palacherla. LAFCO is the agency that oversees boundaries of cities in the county.

Palacherla said LAFCO is currently reviewing new information submitted by the city, and once the application is deemed complete, it will go before the commission during a public hearing for consideration.

City spokesperson Rachelle Bedell said the application for the annexation project was submitted to LAFCO in April 2021, and staff have continued to provide information as requested.

Bedell added that the city has asked for the application to be placed on a LAFCO agenda in February, but it has not been confirmed by the agency.

The annexation proposal has taken different shapes since Wren Investors first began the process in 2000. That early plan, which included the current property under review as well as one additional parcel, was rejected by the City Council for various reasons, such as negative fiscal impacts on the city and school district, according to a 2020 staff report.

The application was revised in 2012, and another proposal for the additional five acres was submitted by Mark Hewell in 2014. In addition, another proposal to annex 721 acres in northern Gilroy was submitted in 2014, which included the two other plans.

That larger proposal was eventually scrapped by the council, but the smaller annexation requests continued to go through the process.

The Wren Investors and Hewell properties are within the 2016 voter-approved urban growth boundary.

A 2019 report determined that the annexation would not have a significant impact on the environment.

No development proposals have been submitted for the property. However, a conceptual plan by the developers suggest the property could house 307 residential units, with 102 of those being high-density on 10 acres.

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Erik Chalhoub joined Weeklys as an editor in 2019. Prior to his current position, Chalhoub worked at The Pajaronian in Watsonville for seven years, serving as managing editor from 2014-2019.


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