2740 hecker pass road
A housing developer is eyeing this land zoned for commercial uses at 2740 Hecker Pass Road. Photo: Erik Chalhoub
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A developer has filed a formal application for 113 homes on land not designated for housing on Hecker Pass Road, citing a state law that allows developers to bypass local zoning.

But whether that law still applies to the project will be determined, as the City of Gilroy had its eight-year housing plan certified by the state in August.

Carlsbad-based Mana Hanalei LLC submitted the application for an architectural and site review permit on Oct. 31, as well as a tentative map on Nov. 1, according to Gilroy’s Community Development Director Sharon Goei.

The plans call for 113 single-family homes at 2740 and 2480 Hecker Pass Road, with 23 of those designated as “affordable” and the rest at market rate.

The land is adjacent to the roundabout at Hecker Pass Road and Third Street. It is zoned “agricultural commercial,” according to the city’s Hecker Pass Specific Plan.

An “agri-tourist” commercial development was once planned for the site following the Gilroy City Council’s 2018 approval. But the project never broke ground, and the land was sold earlier in 2023.

In May, Mana Hanalei filed a preliminary application with the city for the project, and included a letter from Holland & Knight, representing the applicant, citing a state law that is known as the “builder’s remedy.”

The builder’s remedy allows developers to bypass local zoning laws and build certain types of housing projects, even if those plans do not comply with a city or county’s zoning ordinance or general plan. A provision of the Housing Accountability Act, the builder’s remedy 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.

“We look forward to working further with city officials to promptly advance the consideration of the project in a manner consistent with state law,” the letter read.

Goei said city officials will now review the application.

“During the review, city staff will analyze whether or not the builder’s remedy applies to this particular application and will take a formal position on that subject as the application is reviewed,” she said.

In August, the California Department of Housing and Community Development approved Gilroy’s Housing Element, writing that it is “in substantial compliance with State Housing Element Law.”

In July, another preliminary application was filed citing the “builder’s remedy” for 504 multi-family units at 315 Las Animas Ave.

According to Goei, the city has not received a formal application for that proposal.

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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.


  1. Gilroy, you are destroying your own town with these gross, out-of-scale housing developments. Stop this shitty project.

    Thank you for reporting on this and for all your great reporting work!

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  2. We spent a tremendous amount of time and money to develop the Hecker Pass Specific Plan. I hope the City will be able to keep it in place.

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