gmhTODAY 06 gmhToday Jan Feb 2016 - Page 28

City Beat Council Changes Following Mayor Gage’s resignation Gilroy Mayor Don Gage announced his resignation as Mayor effective December 31, 2015 during the City Council meeting on December 7, 2015. Mayor Gage, who was born and raised in Gilroy, has provided decades of service to Gilroy and the citizens of South County. He served on the Gilroy City Council from 1981-1991, as Gilroy Mayor 1991-1997, Santa Clara County Supervisor 1997-2010, Santa Clara Valley Water District 2010-2012, and Gilroy Mayor from 2011 to present. In accordance with the City Charter, on January 4, the City Council will appoint a member of the Council to serve as Mayor for the balance of the term which ends in December 2016. Because the Charter requires the next Mayor to be appointed from within the Council, a vacancy on the Council will be created. It is anticipated that the Council will appoint the new councilmember at the meeting on January 25. Downtown Update Improvements continue in downtown Gilroy. Retrofits were completed on all down- town ornamental streetlights, converting them to LED fixtures with more energy efficiency and color rendition. A new sports center expected to accommodate a South County boxing club was recently opened at 7400 Railroad Street, with an adjacent parking lot accommodating 61 public parking spaces serving downtown. Significant progress has been made with making Gilroy’s unreinforced masonry (URM) buildings safer, with over 1/3 of them having been retrofit in the last two years and with many others under construction, and a number of businesses have recently started or expanded in downtown, including restaurants, retail, and arts uses. In terms of long- range planning efforts, Gilroy is now updating its Downtown Specific Plan, largely in response to the future downtown high speed rail station. Find more information on that effort at Council Approves Application for Inclusion of 721 Acres to Urban Service Area The City Council has certified the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and approved an application to the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) for inclusion of 721 acres into the City’s Urban Service Area. (USA) The area is designated as the “North Gilroy Neighborhood District” in the General Plan and already lies within the Urban Growth Boundary, although outside the City limits. If approved by LAFCO, the area could be annexed to the City. The application for inclusion in the USA is sponsored by property owners in the area who have asked the City of Gilroy to be responsible for the Specific Plan that might lead to eventual development of the area in accordance with the neighborhood district standards of the General Plan. If approved by LAFCO, the Specific Planning process might get underway within a few years and take at least two years to complete because it will provide specific guidance on the type and location of development and how the City will deliver and pay for services to the developed area. The City’s Specific Planning process requires extensive community outreach and engagement as well as separate environmental analysis. Any future residential development will also be subject to the process and scheduling of the City’s growth management system known as the Residential Development Ordinance. (RDO) It is anticipated that LAFCO will hear the application for the North Gilroy Neighborhood District USA in April 2016. United Natural Foods Inc. Update In February 2016, United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) is scheduled open their new, approximately 450,000 square-foot distribution center on the south side of Venture Way in the McCarthy Business Park. They will employ approximately 250 people in their early stages of operation. 28 UNFI is one of the United States’ largest distributors of natural, organic, and specialty foods, and they also have facilities in Canada. The new UNFI construction here in Gilroy is targeting LEED Gold certification with the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016 in Energy and Environmental Design program. A second phase of development, planned for construction in the coming years, will increase the square footage at the site to over 800,000 square feet, which will accommodate approximately 450 employees.