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March 3, 2021

Council OKs North Hecker Pass housing plan

The Gilroy City Council unanimously approved the last phase of the North Hecker Pass project at its Aug. 6 meeting. The project will build 72 single-family homes on the east side of Hecker Pass Road and is part of the larger Hecker Pass Specific Plan.

The city Planning Commission had accepted the plans for this development at a June 7 meeting, requesting only minor amendments. The commission was concerned with parking at the new neighborhood park, and unsure if the uphill topography would allow all residents to easily walk to the space.

What exactly those designated parking spaces will look like will be discussed at future meetings between the city and the developers and monitored by the homeowner’s association. The commission also suggested the council mandate that the park must be completed at the time of the 37th dwelling’s completion.

The council also chose to amend the plans to include a disclosure to families purchasing the homes, making clear which schools children would be attending and that no busing system would be available. The council vote gave the green light for Meritage Homes to begin work on the project.

When driving on Hecker Pass Road west of Santa Teresa, the sign for the Hecker Pass North development is surrounded by large piles of dirt. According to developer Skip Spiering, this is utility work being done to prepare for the roundabout that will eventually slow traffic in the middle of CA Highway 152 to help mitigate traffic coming from developments on both sides of the highway.

Spiering said that Meritage Homes has begun the utility work on the roundabout.

The proposed area for the homes sits between the Gilroy Municipal Golf Course and Santa Teresa Boulevard. The 72-home development was originally designated to have 57 housing units, but developers have transferred 15 units from other housing clusters being developed along Hecker Pass.

Four architectural styles will be included in the North cluster: Spanish Craftsman, French Country, Farmhouse and Mediterranean. At the Aug. 6 meeting the council and public were shown illustrations of each of the home styles.

O’Strander said that following the City Council vote, the developer may begin work on the project, but plans must comply with what was approved by the council.

Don DeLorenzo, operator of the Gilroy Municipal Golf Course, spoke in favor of the project at the meeting. He said Spiering “has really shown (himself) to be a good neighbor of the city golf course.”

Developers agreed to give the golf course $175,000 in anticipation of possible closure or disruptions that may be caused by construction.

Proceeding his vote, Councilmember Peter Leroe-Muñoz said, “This development exceeds the standards we hold for this region.”

On July 2 the City Council narrowly approved plans for another segment of the Hecker Pass development, across Highway 152 from the new houses. The “agri-tourist” development drew opposition from a standing-room-only crowd at the meeting, and eventually was approved 4-3.

Susan Mister, Gilroy community member, spoke against the development at the Aug. 6 meeting and said she did not want the North cluster approval to proceed the same way the “agri-tourist” development had.

“I strongly urge you to take your time with this project,” said Mister. She urged the council to vote against the additional 15 homes transferred to the North cluster.

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