Hundreds of demonstrations are expected again this week over the
John McKay in a recent column said the city must grow. But how do you define growth? He mentions the good work of General Plan Advisory Committee (GPAC), but does not mention the 30,000 additional residents the GPAC is considering adding to the 40,000 already here. Such numbers would overwhelm our community, change it and put it at risk.Thirty thousand new residents will place overwhelming demands upon municipal services and infrastructure. You would think that the city will gain from the new property tax but the city receives very little of that as the state, county and school districts siphon most of it. Cities that relied on a residential tax base suffer and are at risk of becoming insolvent.This city struggles to meet its current demands. It has difficulty in maintaining what we have. The city has deferred millions in needed street and other projects but it does not have resources to address them. We spend millions on property for ball fields we don’t need for which we have no resources to build. Point being we cannot grow without revenue to support such growth. We have to grow with all other considerations, including our quality of life. It must be a planned and balanced approach.Realtors and developers have been engaged, and are salivating at paving over precious farmlands and open space. I attended a number of the public meetings of the GPAC and attendance was few in number and always the same people: property consultants and developers. But that is not public engagement. If you want to gather information from the community, you also scientifically survey and/or present the projects for municipal vote, neither of which has happened. At the moment, county landowners and developers run this city and gave the council an ultimatum last week to which this weak council yielded. So who is running this city?When you start addressing interest in the downtown, John, I would expect you would have many business owners interested as the effects are immediate and close by. But many consider the Southeast Quadrant, where most of the growth will occur, as a distant project and cannot fathom the impacts of traffic, crime, noise, pollution, sewage and the need for higher taxes to support a massive new population.The City has thousands of acres of land within its existing city limits. There is plenty of land to grow up, if not out. Building within the existing city limits/framework is the most cost effective and efficient means of growth—no ifs, ands or buts. Annexing county land and paving over farmlands in light of climate change without a mitigation and adaptation plan and a constrained city budget is irresponsible leadership.John McKay, if you want to discuss the future and growth of Morgan Hill, I would surely like that conversation. Your perspective in my opinion is not aligned with what I believe the residents of Morgan Hill really want and more importantly the protections they absolutely need.—Mark Grzan is a former Morgan Hill City Councilmember/Vice Mayor.
Not too late for change