2023 is in the rear-view mirror and with the 2023-2024 legislative work plan already established, the Gilroy City Council will dive right into many items that need to be completed in 2024.
Once the new City Council is seated after the Nov. 5, 2024 election, a new legislative work plan will be established.
Year-to-date my office has worked with our state and federal legislators to secure $4.85 million for project funding that directly benefits our residents from the westside, eastside and a senior housing project on the southside.
I am proud of the future housing plan that the Gilroy City Council, Planning Commission, staff and the public have approved. We commit to advancing the 40 opportunity sites for multi-family homes, downtown expansion district and First Street mixed-use corridor flexibility program, 429 corner lots for the middle income housing program, housing for farmworkers program, and our inclusionary housing ordinance. Through incentives, funding, local control and programs we can offer with other partners, this will further a Gilroy that’s livable for all.
Gilroy places a high priority on providing quality housing opportunities for all residents. The creation of a focused division within the Community Development Department and establishing the Housing and Community Services Manager position will enable the city to make more concentrated efforts on affordable housing production, preservation and protection of residents. The Housing and Community Services Manager will lead a division focusing on housing functions. With the division consisting of the manager and technician position, it will implement projects and programs to address housing needs for a diverse community and provide assistance to families and individuals that are experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness.
Empowered through our local control, we will implement these programs and follow through with what we have promised to our residents. By doing this we will become eligible for funding toward implementing our programs and provide housing for all. We are now pulling in the same direction as the region’s long-range plan for housing, transportation, economy and the environment known as Plan Bay Area 2050. It calls for creating compact walkable communities by promoting high-density housing and mixed-use development near transit stations and in existing urban areas.
We advocate for building and planning that considers future generations as well as current residents who don’t own cars. Advancing mobility options reflects what we are teaching the youth in our community through Safe Routes to School and why we are nationally recognized as a Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community from the League of American Bicyclists, as well as recognized by the World Health Organization as an Age-Friendly Community. The City of Gilroy is a Complete Streets and Recreation Destination community by resolution.
My office sponsored, tabled, hosted a booth, and attended more than 100 community events in 2023. We provided free resources, bike lights, bike helmets, and listened to constituents, at events including Chalk Fest, La Ofrenda Festival, Registrar of Voters High School Education Events, Free Bike Repair and Bike Days, Community Posadas, and School Family Resource Fairs.
Each year the mayor assigns councilmembers to represent the City Council on regional and local committees. For 2024, I will continue to serve on the Silicon Valley Clean Energy Authority JPA Board, Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) Policy Advisory Committee (PAC), and CalTrain Local Policy Maker Group (LPMG) (Alternate).
This year I will continue to move Gilroy into the 21st century, building upon relationships I’ve made, legislative items in our work plan, and introduction of new items. We will focus on our zoning ordinance (bike parking, noise impacting residentially zoned properties), safe storage of firearms, inclusionary housing ordinance, opportunity sites/programs in our Housing Element, Community Plan to End Homelessness, climate action plan/vehicle miles traveled, transit first policy, plan for a community center/youth center, and state legislative bills.
All of these legislative changes will make Gilroy more livable for all. The path forward is
clear to me. It will require everyone’s voices to be heard during public comment and focused work from my student interns. I’ll be here to guide you through it.
From my office and family, I wish you all a happy and healthy new year.
Zach Hilton is a Gilroy City Councilmember.