The owners of nine properties in and around Morgan Hill are on deck in negotiations with the city to develop or sell the land for new public baseball and softball fields.
City staff and the council are in the process of narrowing down the options of privately owned properties from the southeast quadrant to south of town. The plan is to purchase one or more of the properties to develop the new fields.
The city has about $7.6 million in park impact fund dollars to buy the property. They are looking for a parcel with at least 20 acres.
At a meeting last month, the City Council set their negotiation parameters on nine properties with city staff in a closed meeting.
Most of the properties are in unincorporated areas close to the city limits.
As of Thursday, city staff were still in the process of evaluating the properties and contacting their owners, according to city services director Steve Rymer.
Five of the properties are in the area known as the city’s “southeast quadrant,” which is about 800 acres east of U.S. 101 between Dunne and Middle avenues.
The southeast quadrant is mostly residential, though it also includes the city’s Outdoor Sports Center and Aquatics Center. The city has long had a plan to annex the southeast quadrant and control its land uses while protecting the greenbelt with zoning regulations.
Jim and Clorinda Sergi own two of the properties that were on the council’s initial list - one at the northeast corner of Condit Road and Tennant Avenue and one farther east on Barrett Avenue.
Jim Sergi said even if the city doesn’t buy his family’s property, they should strive to secure a ball-field site in the southeast quadrant. There are already complementing sports facilities nearby, and part of the city’s longtime plan for the quadrant is to include more sports-related uses.
Sergi said he has held off developing or farming the two properties he has offered to the city for several years out of respect for the city’s plans, which are currently the subject of an environmental report that will be submitted to Santa Clara County’s Local Agency Formation Commission.
The two properties are currently unused. The property at Condit and Tennant is only 9.2 acres, but Sergi said neighboring properties are available for sale and together with his would add up to more than the 20 acres the city needs. Plus, it’s next door to the Aquatics Center.
Another nearby property the city is considering for new sports fields is at the southeast corner of Tennant and Murphy avenues. That 20-acre parcel is owned by the Di Vittorio family.
Jim Di Vittorio said his family has had brief discussions with the city’s real estate consultant, David Heindel, about the property. But he has not been given any indication how close the city is to making a purchase, or where his property stands on the city’s preferred choices.
The Di Vittorios have tried to sell or develop the property for several years, and at one time proposed a golf driving range that was rejected by the county planning office.
“Trying to get a use out of (the property) is very difficult,” Jim Di Vittorio said.
Most of the other properties the city is looking at are in the southeast quadrant or on Monterey Road south of town. One is near the intersection of Railroad and Maple avenues, where the new Butterfield Boulevard southern extension is being built.
There are currently no city-owned baseball fields, and only two softball fields at the Morgan Hill Community Park between Cosmo and West Edmundson avenues.
Local baseball organizations including Morgan Hill Pony Baseball use Morgan Hill Unified School District fields to play games and practice.
When city staff have narrowed down the options in line with the council’s preferred prices and terms - which have not been disclosed to the public - they will present a proposal to the elected body at a future meeting.