Housing project proposed by Dividend Homes at the intersection of Mission View Drive and Half Road. Photo: Courtesy of City of Morgan Hill
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The Morgan Hill City Council at an upcoming meeting will consider approving permits for a proposed new 269-home project on the northeast side of the city. 

The project, known as Crosswinds, is proposed by Dividend Homes, which has developed numerous residential communities in Morgan Hill over the last 30-plus years. Crosswinds is proposed on a 33-acre property at the southwest intersection of Half Road and Mission View Drive. 

The site is across Half Road from the rear side of Live Oak High School’s campus, and is surrounded by currently vacant properties, according to a city staff report presented at the May 23 Morgan Hill Planning Commission meeting. The proposed Crosswinds property is “mostly undeveloped” with grassland and inactive agricultural fields, says the staff report. 

A variety of styles of homes is proposed at Crosswinds—specifically 56 single family houses, 64 duets and 149 condominiums, according to city staff. Fifteen percent of the units are designated as affordable housing. 

“The project would include recreational areas including a clubhouse, pool, children’s play area, and barbeque/picnic areas,” says the staff report. “The project would also include pedestrian paths, and landscaping, including trees and lawn areas.”

Dividend Homes applied for the project in June 2022, and since then has completed an environmental impact report and an impact mitigation program. 

The planning commission on May 23 held a public hearing on the Crosswinds project, and was tasked with making recommendations for approval to the city council. After hearing comments from the public, the commission voted 6-0 to recommend that the council certify the EIR and related documents, and approve a design permit and development map for Crosswinds. 

“The goal of Dividend Homes over the past 35 years in Morgan Hill has always been to develop high quality homes and projects that are well designed for family living, will age well and will contribute to the positive image of Morgan Hill,” Dividend Homes Principal Owner Dick Oliver said during the May 23 public hearing. “We hope to continue that tradition with Crosswinds.”

Some commissioners and members of the public were concerned about findings in the EIR that showed the project would have a “significant and unavoidable” impact related to agricultural resources and transportation, even with mitigation measures. 

Specifically, Crosswinds proposes developing homes on top of 16 acres of prime farmland. Under the city’s agricultural mitigation policy, the developer is required to pay for the preservation of an equal acreage of farmland elsewhere in the county. But even with this mitigation measure, the permanent loss of farmland at the Crosswinds site would still be considered “significant and unavoidable” under state law, according to city staff. 

The EIR also found that the 269 new homes on the site would result in transportation impacts related to the likely vast increase in “vehicle miles traveled” in the area surrounding the development, according to city staff. 

To partially mitigate the transportation impact, the developer will be required to provide annual public transportation passes for the new Crosswinds residents if approved by the council. 

Also recommended by the commission is an adoption by the city council of a “statement of overriding considerations,” an official declaration that the project is beneficial to the city despite the projected impacts. 

Some residents who live on properties in the area of the Crosswinds site told the commission that they are concerned about the expected increase in traffic. 

These residents noted that the area of Mission View Drive and Half Road are already busy with cut-through traffic from nearby Highway 101 and other routes through the east side of Morgan Hill. Crosswinds would only make that congestion worse, some residents fear. 

“It is pure foolishness to turn a blind eye to the traffic impacts that will undoubtedly affect the safety of pedestrians and motorists alike,” local residents Geoff and Debra Ullmann wrote in a letter to the planning commission. 

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Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Re: ” To partially mitigate the transportation impact, the developer will be required to provide annual public transportation passes for the new Crosswinds residents if approved by the council.” As a CalTrain commuter, I am already doing my part to reduce traffic on 101. The planning commission should make it where Dividend Homes provides annual passes to beyond just the 269 new homes as not all 269 new homeowners are going to take public transit so the objective should be to achieve a reduction in at least 269 new drivers getting on the freeway.

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  2. It is very sad what the Morgan Hill City Council has allowed to happen to our beautiful Town, I guess we can no longer call it a Town, can we? It has become a City with all that comes with being a City vs. a Town. My late dear friend Dennis Kennedy told me once, as we sat at the bar sharing a drink on a Tuesday evening at Rosy’s that this was going to happen, and it sure did. He told me that once the moratoriums were lifted Morgan Hill would be destroyed, and he was correct. Sure, this out-of-control growth is bringing a huge amount of revenue to Morgan Hill, certainly what the City Council has become focused on vs. the preservation of our once beautiful Town, but our infrastructure is not established to handle the new volume of commuter traffic (have you attempted to get home on Southbound Monterey Road, Santa Teresa/Hale, or Highway 101 after 3:00 p.m. lately, ridiculous, frustrating!!!!). It appears that our Police Department must be understaffed because they are not issuing citations for the speeders traveling 50-60 MPH through downtown every day. Add to this the graffiti that has now started to show up, the recent shootings, even in downtown Morgan Hill, are you serious? Panhandlers are beginning to creep in (last week I rolled down my window and told a female panhandler at Monterey and Dunn that we don’t do that in Morgan Hill, please go back to the city in which you live and do this). 5 years back I could go downtown on a Friday night, walk right into one of our beautiful restaurants and get a table without a wait, now, if you don’t have a reservation (if the restaurant even accepts reservations) you’re waiting at least 1-1 1/2 hours. And now they want to allow even more growth? Haven’t we caused enough destruction, when is it going to stop?
    This is probably only MY opinion, I might be in the minority, for whom am I that does not have any authority to tell an elderly Family that has held on to their property for years just waiting for the value of their property to increase that they cannot now sell their property, I guess that isn’t fair either, is it?

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  3. For all of the “Sacramento is making Morgan Hill approve every housing project and there isn’t a single thing city leaders can do about it” and / or “don’t you know that Newsom signed a legislative order and he’s the one to blame” people out there, you may just want to consider a recent example that has been in the news lately and ask how exactly Sacramento / ‘the Governor’ is “forcing” the City of Morgan Hill to do this:

    Crosswinds is a 259 market-rate housing project that will sit right next to Trammel Crow’s Redwood monstrosity It will have entrances / exits on DePaul and Mission View. It’s been in the news and on social media a lot recently and by now you are probably familar with it.

    Hopefully by now, you also have looked at actual facts not just the nonsense being thrown around about Sacramento bogymen and know that the City has ALREADY approved far more market rate housing units than the state ‘mandates’ for the next eight YEARS. 380 MORE ‘above moderate income’ units have already been approved or are in process of being approved than what the state ‘mandates’ ALL THE WAY OUT TO 2031.

    Crosswinds is one of the few projects where what the developer is proposing to build (269 units) is actually LESS intensity that what was assumed in the 2035 General Plan (345 units). (FWIW, my issue with Crosswinds is not the developer of their proposal but how the traffic impact analysis, which must consider CUMULATIVE effects, was done just pretending that Redwood isn’t under construction.)

    I’m not going to explain all the details of the Environmental Impact Review (EIR) or the (bogus) Traffic Impact Analysis that were done for the project except to note that the EIR found that two impacts could not be mitigated and would be “significant and unavoidable”. Of course, ‘could not be mitigated’ is ALWAYS associated with money. As the say, nothing is impossible, but the City decided to declare that impacts on agricultural and forestry resources and Vehicles Miles Travelled (VMT) which has a direct dependcy on the number of additional vehicles that are going to be put on our streets, would be significant and unavoidable.

    The City could say, sorry no approval. What the City can NOT say is oh well, this project is going to cause significant impacts but Newsom signed an executive order and so go ahead and build it anyways because he has done no such thing.

    But, there has always been the magic “statement of overriding concerns’ which allows a City to ignore significant impacts. As should not surprise you, Morgan Hil is expert in those. Of all the ones I’ve read, this one takes the cake. It doesn’t even really try to make some sad story of why the project is so important, the City Council should ‘override’ an EIR outcome that would allow them to say NO.

    This ‘statement of overriding concern’ is explained in the resolution of approval which the Planning Commission voted to pass on May 23rd.

    CEQA requires the decision-making agency to balance the benefits of a project against its significant and unavoidable impacts when determining whether to approve a project. 𝗜𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗲𝗻𝗲𝗳𝗶𝘁𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗷𝗲𝗰𝘁 𝗼𝘂𝘁𝘄𝗲𝗶𝗴𝗵 𝗶𝘁𝘀 𝘂𝗻𝗮𝘃𝗼𝗶𝗱𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝗮𝗱𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗲 𝗲𝗻𝘃𝗶𝗿𝗼𝗻𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗮𝗹 𝗲𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗰𝘁𝘀, 𝘁𝗵𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝗲𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗰𝘁𝘀 𝗺𝗮𝘆 𝗯𝗲 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗮𝗰𝗰𝗲𝗽𝘁𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲. (CEQA Guidelines Section 15093(a)). CEQA requires the agency 𝘁𝗼 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗶𝗻 𝘄𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘀𝗽𝗲𝗰𝗶𝗳𝗶𝗰 𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗷𝗲𝗰𝘁 𝗮𝗰𝗰𝗲𝗽𝘁𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝘄𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝘀𝗶𝗴𝗻𝗶𝗳𝗶𝗰𝗮𝗻𝘁 𝗶𝗺𝗽𝗮𝗰𝘁𝘀 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗮𝘃𝗼𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗱 𝗼𝗿 𝘀𝘂𝗯𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘆 𝗹𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗲𝗻𝗲𝗱.
    Those reasons must be based on substantial evidence in the Final EIR or elsewhere in the administrative record (CEQA Guidelines Section 15093(b)). The proposed project would result in significant and unavoidable impacts related to agricultural and forestry resources, even after incorporation of mitigation measures MM AG-1.1 and MM AG1.2, which require a minimum of one acre of agricultural land (1:1 mitigation ratio) to be preserved for each acre of agricultural land changed to a non-agricultural use and acquisition and/or dedication of agricultural conservation easements over approved agricultural mitigation land, or payment to the City of the agricultural preservation inlieu fee, and VMT, even after incorporation of Mitigation Measure MM TRN-1.1, which requires a financial contribution to the City’s on-site demand rideshare service or issuance of transit passes to residents.

    So, what are the specific reasons, the City is claiming that approving a 269 unit market rate housing project outweigh the unavoidable adverse environmental effects?

    𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐂𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐟𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐣𝐞𝐜𝐭’𝐬 𝐛𝐞𝐧𝐞𝐟𝐢𝐭𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐯𝐢𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐠, 𝐢𝐧𝐜𝐥𝐮𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐁𝐌𝐑 𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐬, 𝐨𝐮𝐭𝐰𝐞𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐣𝐞𝐜𝐭’𝐬 𝐬𝐢𝐠𝐧𝐢𝐟𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐮𝐧𝐚𝐯𝐨𝐢𝐝𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐞𝐧𝐯𝐢𝐫𝐨𝐧𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐥 𝐞𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐬.

    That’s it. That’s the enirety of the statement of overriding concern – 𝗯𝗲𝗰𝗮𝘂𝘀𝗲 𝘄𝗲 𝘄𝗮𝗻𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝗮𝗽𝗽𝗿𝗼𝘃𝗲 𝗺𝗼𝗿𝗲 𝗵𝗼𝘂𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗴 That NOBODY is “forcing” the City to build. Not Newsom, not Sacramento, NOBODY

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