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August 18, 2022

MH eyes growth boundary

Looking to the future, city council begins study of possible
citywide greenbelt
Morgan Hill City Council members took the first step Wednesday
in a yearlong process to set permanent boundaries
– or as permanent as the vicissitudes of politics allow – for
city growth.
Looking to the future, city council begins study of possible citywide greenbelt

Morgan Hill City Council members took the first step Wednesday in a yearlong process to set permanent boundaries – or as permanent as the vicissitudes of politics allow – for city growth.

The urban limit line to be drawn is designed to create a buffer between Morgan Hill and whatever development occurs to the south, west and east. The city’s northern boundary already abuts San Jose’s Coyote Valley greenbelt.

Council members told staff members to start looking for a consultant to conduct the study. A 15-member citizen advisory committee representing various interests will be formed to guide the study, for which $200,000 has been budgeted,

A key element will be the identification of how much land the city will need in the next 50 years for houses, factories, schools, parks and other public and private facilities.

Study participants will draw on information developed in 1998-01 to update the city’s general plan. Studies at that time focused on agricultural land, geologic and seismic hazards, riparian corridors and flooding, groundwater and cultural resources.

David Bischoff, the city’s director of community development, noted that past proposals such as possible industrial development east of Highway 101 and south of Tennant Avenue would provide a starting point.

Also, the owner of land along Edmundson Avenue west of Community Park has sounded out the city about building a golf course as part of a greenbelt development, Bischoff said.

In some areas, the city has built up to its sphere of influence line, in other places it hasn’t – notably on the southeast and along the entire western edge, up to the ridge line of the confining hills.

The advisory committee would recommend, Bischoff said, whether development should push out as far possible or leave a greenbelt on the fringe. Feathering – less intense development near the outer limits – is another possibility, he said.

Mayor Dennis Kennedy noted San Jose’s greenbelt to the north, but asked if there is a way to assure that no development will occur there.

Kennedy also said the city must reach out to San Jose and the county’s advisory committee in unincorporated San Martin to the south as it looks to establish permanent borders.

Councilman Greg Sellers said Morgan Hill must lay the groundwork now for the day that San Martin incorporates.

City administrators want a consultant to be hired by the end of the year and that advisory committee members be appointed in January.

The study itself would last until September, with review by county planners and the board of supervisors as well as city officials scheduled for the last couple of months next year.

Staff Report
A staff member edited this provided article.

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