The City of Morgan Hill is looking for residents and business owners representing a cross-section of the community to serve on the general plan update advisory committee, which is just part of a widespread effort known as “Morgan Hill 2035” to update all of the City’s growth, conservation and development goals for the next 20 years.
City staff recently launched a website - morganhill2035.org - that provides details, time tables and reasons for the updates which are expected to take place over the next three years.
Included in Morgan Hill 2035 are updates to the City’s general plan, residential development control system, zoning ordinance and infrastructure master plan.
“We also are interested in integrating the City’s growth management practices into the General Plan so that it continues to provide for paced growth and community benefits, without the burdensome and expensive unit allocation process,” Mayor Steve Tate said about the forthcoming update processes.
The entire process is expected to cost about $1.5 million. Of that amount, the general plan update will cost about $900,000; the infrastructure plan about $317,000; the zoning code update about $121,000; and the growth control update about $121,000.
The City Council hired the consultant, The Planning Center/DC&E to conduct the updates.
The process will be a “highly participatory” one, according to Morgan Hill principal planner for economic development Edith Ramirez.
“The process will rely upon feedback and direction from the community at a planned series of five community workshops and numerous public meetings, as well as a General Plan Advisory Committee made up of Morgan Hill residents and business owners, and special study sessions with City decision makers,” Ramirez said.
State law requires every city and county to keep an updated general plan, which outlines the city’s goals for physical growth, land use, transportation and housing for the next 10 years. The general plan contains the policies necessary to achieve those goals, and includes separate elements for housing, land use, open space, transportation, housing, conservation, safety and noise.
At the Jan. 23 Council meeting, the Council is scheduled to appoint a committee of residents to serve as the General Plan Advisory Committee. The committee will consist of 11 to 15 members, ideally including representatives of the Morgan Hill business community, residents, commercial and industrial land owners, senior citizens, youth, environmental or social advocates, faith-based organizations and the school district.
The committee will meet up to 15 times over the three-year update process, City staff said.
Anyone interested in serving on the committee can submit their names on the Morgan Hill 2035 website, but staff and Council members are likely to submit names for consideration.
The City’s zoning code is also in need of a comprehensive update, City staff said. This code sets specific parameters for designated land use for all property in the city limits.
And since the housing crash of 2008 revealed how complicated the City’s residential growth control ordinance is, Council members have wanted to update and simplify that system as well. The growth management system was approved by voters in 1977, and is designed to regulate the population growth through an annual competition for home construction allotments.
The current population cap enforced by the ordinance is 48,000 in 2020.
Also as part of Morgan Hill 2035, City staff and the council will update the water, sewer and stormwater master plans, which together comprise the infrastructure master plan. The purpose of that update is to ensure these facilities will support the growth-related goals laid out in the general plan.