Kawahara Nurseries applied for an agricultural facility use permit on a 104-acre property that sits on the east side of Highway 101 behind Anzar High School. Photo: Juan Reyes
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Kawahara Nurseries, which is based in Morgan Hill, is looking to open a year-round wholesale agricultural facility on Anzar Road in San Benito County.

The planning commission on June 16 approved Kawahara Nurseries’ application for an agricultural facility use permit on a 104-acre property that sits on the east side of Highway 101 behind Anzar High School.

The agricultural property is currently used for active farming.

The project proposed by Kawahara Nurseries includes an 18,000-square-foot covered shipping and staging area; 36,000-square-foot shipping and handling greenhouse; 18,000-square-foot production greenhouse; and more than 500,000 square feet of “growing block greenhouses in three main blocks,” says a San Benito County Planning staff report.

The proposed wholesale nursery will grow an assortment of plants, including annuals, perennials, herbs, vegetables, ground covers, ornamental grasses and others.

Water for the project would come from an existing well on site, according to county staff. The current agricultural user of the property uses a maximum of 625,000 gallons of water per day. County staff expect the new Kawahara Nurseries project will use about 507,000 gallons per day.

At full buildout, the ag operation is expected to employ up to 15 people on the weekdays and one or two on the weekends, the county staff report says.

Kawahara Nurseries did not respond to a phone call requesting comment on the San Benito County project.

The company was established in the 1940s in San Lorenzo by Sam and Jean Kawahara and their four children, according to the Kawahara Nurseries website. Sons David and John later expanded the nursery to Morgan Hill, where the company’s main offices and a growing operation are located on Burnett Avenue.

Kawahara Nurseries also has a growing facility in Gilroy. Their two existing sites in South Santa Clara County together total more than 140 acres and grow more than 10,000 plant varieties, according to the company’s website.

The company’s mission statement on the website reads, “At Kawahara Nurseries, our goal is to provide an opportunity for anyone to discover the benefits of using plants: to promote health and well-being, to create shared value and to renew and refresh the planet. We welcome you to join us in this journey.”

Details were unavailable at press time on the construction schedule for Kawahara Nurseries’ San Benito County project.

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Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.


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