315 las animas avenue site plan
Gandolfi Investments submitted this site plan showing how a 501-unit housing project on 315 Las Animas Ave. could be laid out.
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A developer is hoping to build a 501-unit housing project on Las Animas Avenue, filing a formal application Dec. 14 that cites a state law that allows housing to be built on sites not designated for it.

Illinois-based Gandolfi Investments originally filed a preliminary application for the project at 315 Las Animas Ave. in July. Plans call for 501 multi-family units, consisting of 50 two-story, 13,317-square-foot townhomes, three four-story, 81,121-square-foot apartment buildings, a 13,808-square-foot clubhouse building and a 1.6-acre central green space.

The site, a vacant lot zoned for industrial uses, is at the intersection of Las Animas and Murray avenues.

In a July 4 letter to the city, Russell Morse of Meyers Nave, representing Gandolfi Investments, cites 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.

Gilroy had its eight-year housing plan certified by the state in August.

In a statement, city officials said they would review the project to see if the builder’s remedy applies, and will take a formal position.

In November, city officials rejected another builder’s remedy application on Hecker Pass Highway, saying that the Gilroy City Council adopted the housing element on May 1 that was eventually certified by the state with some modifications.

“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,” Planner Erin Freitas wrote to the developer who was seeking 113 homes on Hecker Pass Road near Third Street. “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.”

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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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