In September 2016, we wrote a blog about the controversial Los Gatos North 40 project. Much has occurred behind the scenes since then, prompting an update to our original article.
For over two decades, the future of the 40-acres once owned by the Yuki family has been the topic of much discussion. The acquisition of the land in 2009 by Grosvenor, a London-based real estate developer, fast-tracked the planning process in an attempt to design something that would meet the requirements of the town, its residents as well as the developer. The Los Gatos Town Council devised a two-phased plan to transform the former walnut orchard into a mixed-use development. Phase 1 would utilize approximately 20 of the 40-acres.
On September 1, 2016, the Los Gatos Town Council denied Grosvenor America’s plan for the North 40 project. The developer chosen to make the North 40 come to fruition, Grosvenor America filed a lawsuit against Los Gatos, which a superior court judge granted in Grosvenor’s favor in June 2017. In July, the Town Council rescinded their denial of the developer’s design, reluctantly passing the plan by an 8 to 1 vote. The town has no plans to appeal the judgment but is taking steps to make changes to the town’s Specific Plan.
In August, the Town Council voted in favor of an urgent interim moratorium, temporarily halting future development of 20 acres of parcel. This 45-day ordinance was renewed mid-September to allow for a Specific Plan review in early October. The Council voted for the moratorium out of concern that new developer applications would be submitted for the outstanding 20 acres of the parcel as a result of the superior court’s judgment in Grosvenor’s favor.
The Specific Plan focuses matters such as building height, required conditional permits, residential restrictions and the amount of commercial square footage allowable. By making changes to the Specific Plan, the Town hopes to address residents concerns and at the same time, mitigate some of the items that resulted in the original plan’s denial a year ago.
The town’s attorney, Rob Schultz, states that Los Gatos has a small window of opportunity to change the Specific Plan while no other development applications are in the queue.
The current approved North 40 plan intends to construct 320 homes and over 66,000 square feet of commercial space. The original plan only proposed 33 homes and 367,000 square feet of hotel, office and commercial space. The revised plan reflects resident’s inputs while still striving for a mixed-use development that is what former Mayor Brent Ventura calls a “self-contained, self-sustaining village”.
Word is, the North 40 will also be renamed the North 20. Many involved in the project feel it creates an opportunity to brand Los Gatos as a technology and innovation hub. The decision on whether to include a hotel remains a much-debated topic as does the issue of adequate senior and affordable housing.
To see a detailed layout of the latest North 40 plan, click here.