2740 hecker pass road
A housing developer is eyeing this land zoned for commercial uses at 2740 Hecker Pass Road. Photo: Erik Chalhoub

City officials say a housing proposal on Hecker Pass Highway does not meet the criteria for the so-called “builder’s remedy,” a provision of state law that allows developers to bypass local zoning requirements.

On Oct. 31, Carlsbad-based Mana Hanalei LLC filed a formal application with the City of Gilroy for 113 homes on land not designated for housing on 2480 and 2740 Hecker Pass Road near Third Street. In its preliminary application filed on May 11, the developer cited the builder’s remedy, which is triggered when a local jurisdiction fails to update its state-mandated housing element, or if the element is not found to be in compliance with California law.

In August, the California Department of Housing and Community Development certified Gilroy’s Housing Element, writing that it is “in substantial compliance with State Housing Element Law,” following a series of revisions after the Gilroy City Council adopted the document on May 1.

In a Nov. 30 letter to the developer, city planner Erin Freitas wrote that because the council adopted the housing element 10 days before the preliminary application was filed, the builder’s remedy does not apply.

“When the Housing Element was adopted on May 1, 2023, it contained everything required by state law, and thus was in substantial compliance with state law,” she wrote. “Although minor modifications and clarifications were made thereafter, these did not alter the fact that the Housing Element as adopted substantially complied with the law.”

The letter went on to state that the application was incomplete, as various information was not included. 

Freitas wrote that the developer has until Feb. 29 to resubmit the application as a request to amend the Hecker Pass Specific Plan, which governs the zoning for the area, and not as a builder’s remedy application. If it is not resubmitted, the city will consider the proposal abandoned.

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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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