Citing uncertainties over environmental reports, the council voted 4-3 - with Council members Dion Bracco, Bob Dillon and Craig Gartman dissenting - against two annexation requests that would eventually lead to residential development. Gillmor's Lucky Day Ranch application proposed the incorporation of 285 hilly acres straddling Burchell Road north of Hecker Pass Highway for up to 193 homes and 244 acres of open space and parks - just a sliver of the applicant's original proposal to annex 2,014 pristine acres stretching up to the Corde Valle Golf Course in San Martin. The council also rejected a separate application from Wren Investors to annex 48 acres near Christopher High School for up to 430 dwellings.
Environmentalists, rural residents and county representatives encouraged the rejections by arguing that at least 2,100 additional residents, about 4 percent of Gilroy, will tax the city's stressed school and emergency services. That many new residents could cost the county and Gilroy hundreds of thousands of dollars over a 10-year period, according to staff projections that considered property and sales tax revenues against city and county expenses on the hypothetical residents.
"We've just gone through a huge budget crisis and are looking to hire more police (officers) and (firefighters) just to catch up," Council member Peter Arellano said. "I'm not looking forward to trying to find another amount of money to catch up with these developments."
Opponents also stressed that Gilroy - which has exceeded its self-imposed growth limit - already has enough vacant land to develop 3,500 homes over the next 11 years, according to conservative city estimates. They also decried the projects' preliminary environmental reports as lacking carbon footprint analyses and avoiding scenarios based on an exact number of homes. Other residents had simpler concerns about the region's tranquility.
Friday, October 23, 2009
(I just wanted to put a link to this Gilroy Dispatch article, and we'll add more later. -Brian)