Some city planners and the public agreed Dec. 10: The revised plan for a proposed industrial complex is a good start, but it’s still not enough to satisfy concerns.

The Morgan Hill Planning Commission reviewed conceptual plans for Trammell Crow Company’s Morgan Hill Technology Center, located adjacent to De Paul Health Center, just off the intersection of Cochrane Road and De Paul Drive near Highway 101.

New plans submitted to the city show six buildings, ranging in size from 79,900 square feet to 219,600 square feet. Original plans proposed three buildings, at 191,160 square feet, 320,340 square feet and 533,220 square feet. 

Loading docks were reduced from 192 to 124, and trailer parking was removed.

Will Parker, principal of Trammell Crow’s Northern California Business Unit, said the expected tenants are those in the advanced manufacturing and research and development industries. No specific tenants are lined up so far, according to Parker.

But Commissioner Liam Downey said that while he appreciated Trammell Crow’s efforts in revising the plans, he still struggled with the number of service doors.

“I want to believe you that this is going to be advanced manufacturing, R&D, what you described it to be,” he told Parker. “I believe that is your intention. But still, your conceptual drawing isn’t showing that.”

Most of the 11 speakers during the meeting, many of whom were residents of the Mission Ranch community near the proposal, said the number of loading docks is still characteristic of a large distribution center.

But Parker said the buildings are designed based on speculation, and tenants could choose to not use all of the docks. Flexibility is crucial to attract companies in a highly competitive market, he added.

“These are not large-scale distribution buildings,” he said. “In no way should this project look like a distribution project. That’s not what it is.”

Ernie Tibaldi of Morgan Hill said it would be easier to believe the proposal was a technology project if it had roughly 30 loading docks.

“Who is going to need 124 docks unless you are going to run some type of distribution center?” he said.

Rick Kent, CFO of Morgan Hill-based Paramit, which manufactures medical equipment, said his company has four docks for its roughly 150,000-square-foot facility. A one million-square-foot advanced manufacturing project—the size of Trammell Crow’s proposal—should have about 24 docks, he estimated.

“I thank Trammell Crow for the adjustments to this project, but they have a long way to go to mitigate the concerns of the residents of Morgan Hill,” he said.

Commissioner Malisha Kumar said she liked the redesign, but still expressed concern over the quantity of loading docks.

“I think the dock doors are what’s scaring people because there are so many of them,” she said.

Morgan Hill Assistant City Manager Leslie Little said the release of the draft environmental impact report, currently in development, will be pushed back due to the new plans. It was originally estimated to be released in late fall.

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Erik Chalhoub joined Weeklys as an editor in 2019. Prior to his current position, Chalhoub worked at The Pajaronian in Watsonville for seven years, serving as managing editor from 2014-2019.


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