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.