Morgan Hill

Planning Commission Staff Report



Department:DS (General)Sponsors:
Category:Planning - General Staff Report





1.     Location:               North side of Half Road, south side of Cochrane Road and west of the southerly extension of DePaul Drive. (APN 728-30-006, -008, -009 and APN 728-31-014, -015 and -016)

2.     Site Area:               60.82 Acres

3.     General Plan:              Commercial (30.08 acres), Commercial Industrial (30.74 acres)

4.     Zoning:               Planned Unit Development-CH (Highway Commercial) on approximately 12 acres, CO (Administrative Office) on approximately 18.08 acres and PUD (Light Industrial) on 30.74 acres.


The PUD overlay for the area was established by City Council Ordinances 1047, N.S and 1521, N.S. The applicant is requesting Preliminary Review prior to consideration of project related General Plan Amendment and Zoning Amendment applications that have been submitted for the site. A project EIR scoping meeting was held on April 23, 2019 and the EIR is being prepared.


Project Description

The proposed project would amend the General Plan Land Use Designation for a portion of the 60.82 acres from Commercial (30.08 acres) to Commercial/Industrial (26.6 acres) and Commercial (2.92 acres fronting Cochrane Road) as shown in the graphic below. 




The Zoning designation would be amended from Planned Unit Development-CH (Highway Commercial), CO (Administrative Office), PUD-IL (Planned Unit Development-Light Industrial) to PD (Planned Development) Combining District with CH (Highway Commercial), and IL (Light Industrial) Zoning Districts as shown on the following graphic:



The project proposal contains approximately 1,060,000 square feet of industrial warehouse/advanced manufacturing, supporting office, and similar industrial and commercial uses, 45,000 square feet for industrial office (not owned or controlled by this applicant) on an existing 2.18-acre parcel, and up to 75,000 square feet for retail/commercial development on approximately 2.92 acres


A further explanation of the applicant’s request is provided in the attached Supporting Statement (Attachment 1). The existing General Plan and Zoning Districts are shown in further detail in Attachment 2. The proposed General Plan Designations and Zoning Districts are shown in further detail in Attachment 3A parcel map has been provided showing the reconfiguration of the properties to conform to the highway commercial and commercial industrial portions of the Preliminary Development Plan (Attachment 4).




1.              Purpose of the Planned Development Combining District.


Pursuant to Section 18.30.050.A of the Morgan Hill Municipal Code, the purpose of the Planned Development (PD) combining district is to allow for high quality development that deviates from standards and regulations applicable to base zoning districts in Morgan Hill.  The PD combining district is intended to promote creativity in building design, flexibility in permitted uses, and innovation in development concepts.  The PD combining district provides landowners with enhanced flexibility to take advantage of unique site characteristics and develop projects that will provide public benefits for residents, employees, and visitors.


Permitted land uses in the PD combining district may deviate from the land use regulations of the applicable base zoning district provided the PD combining district allows only those land uses permitted in the applicable General Plan land use designation. The preliminary review hearing provides an opportunity for the Commission and the public to give input on how different uses should be dealt with through descriptions and definitions.  Should a definition of a use in the Municipal Code be too broad, vague or dated for the current time, the PD can further define that use. For example, the definition of warehouse is as follows: 


18.124.050 - Industrial uses.

G.    Warehousing and Distribution. A use engaged in storage, wholesale and distribution of manufactured products, supplies, and equipment to retailers; to industrial, commercial, institutional, farm, or professional business users; or to other wholesalers; or acting as agents or brokers in buying merchandise for or selling merchandise to such persons or companies. Includes merchant wholesalers; agents, merchandise or commodity brokers, and commission merchants; assemblers, buyers and associations engaged in the cooperative marketing of farm products; and bottling works.

1.     Warehousing and Distribution, Large. A warehousing distribution facility seventy-five thousand square feet or more in building area.

2.     Warehousing and Distribution, Small. A warehousing distribution facility less than seventy-five thousand square feet in building area.

3.     Outdoor Storage. Storage of commercial goods in open lots.


Is this definition appropriate for this particular PD?  Should this definition be refined?  Should particular uses of concern, such as a fulfillment center, be independently defined and regulated differently than warehouse and distribution and/or prohibited?  Within the PD there are also opportunities to break up the definition of warehousing and distribution uses into different types freestanding and ancillary as one example.  Different types of uses could also have square footages that govern the type of permit required for such use (i.e. permitted by right, administrative, conditional).


The applicant has provided a list of proposed permitted and conditional uses for the 2.92-acre Highway Commercial portion (Attachment 5) and the 57.01-acre Industrial portion of the project (Attachment 6). In these lists, the applicant has included refined definitions of different uses, added uses that are consistent with the General Plan land use designation and proposed square footages for warehouse uses.


The PD allows a project to deviate from development standards in the base zoning district (except the maximum floor area ratio).  The applicant is requesting the following deviations:


a.              Building height restriction to allow parapet height up to 55 feet and two cell towers up to 90 feet in height (in the industrial (IL) PD); Base zoning in the IL district allows 50 feet in height.


b              Parking standards to accommodate truck trailer storage parking; and,


c.              A 10-foot screen wall.


The maximum floor area ratio (FAR) for the proposed development would be less than 0.45.  The Industrial designation allows for a maximum FAR of 0.60. Preliminary project plans have been provided (Attachments 7 - 11).


2.              Planned Development (PD) Master Plan Findings


In addition to providing feedback to the applicant regarding their proposed Preliminary Development Plan, the Planning Commission should also provide preliminary input on the proposals consistency with the PD Master Plan findings in Section 18.30.050.H.7 of the Zoning Code.


18.30.050.H.7 PD Master Plan Findings


a.     The proposed development is consistent with the General Plan, Zoning Code and any applicable specific plan or area plan adopted by the City Council.


b.     The proposed development is superior to the development that could occur under the standards applicable in the existing zoning districts.


c.      The proposed project will provide a substantial public benefit(s) as defined in Paragraph 8 Substantial Public Benefit Defined (Attachment 12).  The public benefit provided shall be of sufficient value as determined by the Planning Commission to justify deviation from the standards of the zoning district that currently applies to the property.


d.     The site for the proposed development is adequate in size and shape to accommodate proposed land uses.


e.     Adequate transportation facilities, infrastructure, and public services exist or will be provided to serve the proposed development.


f.        The proposed development will not have a substantial adverse effect on surrounding property and will be compatible with the existing and planned land use character of the surrounding area.


g.     Findings required for the concurrent approval of a Zoning Map Amendment can be made.


18.114.060 - Findings for approval for Zoning Map Amendments


The city council may approve a zoning code amendment or zoning map amendment only if all of the following findings are made:


A.     Findings for all Zoning Code and Zoning Map Amendments.


1.     The proposed amendment is consistent with the general plan and any applicable specific plan as provided by Government Code Section 65860.


2.     The proposed amendment will not be detrimental to the public interest, health, safety, convenience, or welfare of the city.


B.     (Zoning Text Amendment finding)


C.    Additional Finding for Zoning Map Amendments. The affected site is physically suitable in terms of design, location, shape, size, and other characteristics to ensure that the permitted land uses and development will comply with the zoning code and general plan and contribute to the health, safety, and welfare of the property, surrounding properties, and the community at large.




Staff recommends the Planning Commission provide feedback regarding the proposed land uses and Preliminary Development Plan.  Input is not a recommendation for approval or denial of the project.  At this point in project review, any recommendation to the applicant is advisory only and shall not be binding on either the applicant or the City.


3.              California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA):


An Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is being prepared for the project to identify the significant environmental effects anticipated to result from development and operation of the project as proposed.  The Draft EIR will be completed and circulated for public review and comment in December 2019.  Subsequent to the preparation of the EIR, public hearings will be scheduled to consider and take action on the project.

Meeting History

Oct 15, 2019 7:00 PM Video Planning Commission Special Meeting
draft Draft

Community Development Director Jennifer Carman presented the staff report at 7:11 p.m.

Chair Muonz-Morris opened the Public Hearing at 7:36 p.m. The following individuals addressed the Planning Commission:

· Will Parker

· Ben Sigman

· Tom Jordy

The meeting recessed at 8:31 p.m. The meeting reconvened at 8:41 p.m.

Chair Monuz-Morris re-opened the Public Hearing at 8:42 p.m. The following individuals addressed the Planning Commission:

· Carol Corsrsy

· Skip Hovston

· Joe Baranowski

· Terry Williams

· Miguel Jimenez

· Susie Jimenez

· Shawnie Mclaughlin

· Ernie Tibaldi

· Debra Ullmann

· David Wendt

· Rick Kent

· Allan Abrams

· Robyn Carrillo

· Oscar Carrillo

· Georgia Tassos

· Doug Chloupek

· Javier Eehvarria

· Rachel McMillan

· Max Bushman

· Natasha Wist

· Hussein Aly

· Eve Marie Bay

· Tadan Christopher

· Julie Hutcheson

· Bryan Espirlin

· John Foggiato

· Dan Medeiros

· Israel

Hearing no further requests to speak, the Public Hearing was closed at 10:43 p.m.

The meeting recessed at 10:43 p.m. the meeting reconvened at 10:49 p.m.


Continue this item to the October 22, 2019 Planning Commission Meeting. The Planning Commission requested this item be the first one on the agenda.

MOVER:Joseph Mueller, Planning Commissioner
SECONDER:Laura Gonzalez-Escoto, Planning Commissioner
AYES:Juan Miguel Munoz-Morris, Mohammad Habib, Joseph Mueller, Wayne Tanda, Laura Gonzalez-Escoto, Malisha Kumar, Liam Downey