City unveils draft long-range plan for 18 downtown properties - Morgan Hill Times: City Local Government

City unveils draft long-range plan for 18 downtown properties

Future parking structure, plans for Granada, Downtown Mall, Simple Beverages identified in property plan

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Posted: Monday, October 21, 2013 4:06 pm | Updated: 5:18 pm, Mon Oct 21, 2013.

The City of Morgan Hill Monday released a draft of a state-mandated long-term plan to develop, sell or otherwise dispose of 18 properties formerly owned by the now-defunct Redevelopment Agency. 

All of the 18 properties except one are in downtown Morgan Hill, and almost all are slated for future development in the draft Long Range Property Management Plan, which is required by the State Department of Finance as part of the dissolution of the RDA. 

“The former Redevelopment Agency acquired 17 parcels in the downtown to revitalize this area into a vibrant hub of the community,” the draft plan reads. 

These properties include the Downtown Mall/Granada Theater, the BookSmart shopping center on Depot Street and the VTA commuter parking lot on Butterfield Boulevard. 

The other parcel acquired by the former RDA sits just outside the downtown area, and is identified in the draft plan as the “El Capri/Gateway” property at the intersection of Monterey and Cochrane roads. The RDA acquired this property “as a first step to revitalize the ‘Gateway to Morgan Hill’ on historic Monterey Road,” reads the draft plan. 

The draft LRPMP released by the City will be discussed and acted on at the Nov. 6 City Council meeting. The Council at that meeting will serve as the board of directors for the Redevelopment Successor Agency, which now owns the properties. 

After that meeting, the plan will be considered by the Morgan Hill Redevelopment Oversight Board at an unspecified date, and submitted the state DOF in time for a Dec. 4 deadline, according to a City staff report accompanying the draft LRPMP. 

The draft LRPMP divides the 18 property into seven opportunity sites, and specifies the City’s preferred future use for each site as well as background information on each property. Most of these future plans have been identified in previous City planning documents, such as the 2009 Downtown Specific Plan and an RDA “five year implementation plan” adopted before 2005. 

Plans for the properties, as listed in the draft plan, include a multi-story parking structure for the Depot Street BookSmart site; mixed-use residential, retail and office projects on sites fronting Monterey Road and at the VTA lot; and a four-screen cinema on the 17200 block of Monterey Road. 

Most of the downtown properties were acquired by the RDA in 2008 with funding from bond proceeds, according to the draft. 

“The strategy was to use public investment to attract and stimulate private investment, encourage the retention and restoration of older buildings and the redevelopment of vacant and underutilized properties, which both are often sources of blighting conditions,” the City’s draft LRPMP says. 

Only one of the properties - a residential rental complex at 50 East First St. - is labeled “for sale” in the draft LRPMP. One property - the lot on Butterfield Boulevard currently leased by the Community Garden - is listed for future “government purpose,” specifically a new fire station or park. 

The rest are slated for “future development” in the draft LRPMP. 

The LRPMP is a requirement of the state law that shut down RDAs in California as of Feb. 1, 2012. Cities whose RDAs retained assets such as property and cash are permitted to continue using the assets for the former RDAs’ original purposes if the state approves of their long-range plans. 

The draft plan notes that individual properties and future projects listed in the LRPMP should be considered as one large plan to “maximize their collective value and achievement of community objectives.” 

Before the Nov. 6 Council meeting, City staff and downtown organizations will continue to review the draft to ensure it is consistent with the 2009 DSP, and highlight recommended revisions, according to the city staff report. 

City staff worked with the Morgan Hill Economic Development Corporation, Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Association in developing the draft LRPMP. 

To view the full plan, go to the City’s website at www.morgan-hill.ca.gov

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