UPDATE: We’re excited that Measure H passed in the November 2016 election!
Measure H creates an Urban Growth Boundary for the City of Gilroy, protecting thousands of acres of threatened natural and agricultural lands from sprawl development.
The City of Gilroy, located in southern Santa Clara County, has a deep history as a farming community, and its annual garlic festival is known across California. (McDonald’s just gave the city an extra publicity push with its new “Gilroy Garlic Fries”.)
But sprawl development is threatening to undermine the city’s agricultural heritage, replacing it with traffic and congestion, air pollution, strained drinking water supplies, and loss of prime farmland and habitat.
For example, the city is trying to annex 721 acres of land north of town for new sprawl development and a developer has proposed 4,000 housing units for the area, paving over rich farmland. The proposal was so controversial that another government agency, the Santa Clara County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo), sued the City for its shoddy environmental review of the project. The city was forced to withdraw its initial proposal, but they’re very likely to try again.
It’s time to draw the line on sprawl in Gilroy.
An urban growth boundary draws a clear line beyond which major development isn’t allowed. It’s a tried-and-true method for stopping sprawl development and preventing the many environmental, social, and economic problems with poorly planned growth. Today, about forty cities and towns around the region are protected by a growth boundary. Unfortunately, the City of Gilroy isn’t one of them yet.
Measure H, which would finally establish an urban growth boundary for the city, protecting the farms, ranches, and natural lands at the city’s edge. That means that any major development outside the line would have to be approved by voters, rather than the City Council. Those voter-protections would expire in 24 years, providing a generation of protection.
Gilroy’s Measure H represents a careful, thoughtful method to protect Gilroy. If passed, it will help turn the city’s attention to improving Gilroy’s downtown, strengthening its local economy, and improving its quality of life–rather than focusing on outward expansion onto open space.
Greenbelt Alliance urges everyone in Gilroy to vote YES on Measure H.