Ask LAFCO to Protect Gilroy Farmland and Residents’ Safety

farmland outside the Gilroy city limits
Photo of the proposed development site. Image from the Mitigated Negative Declaration (environmental report) prepared by EMC Planning Group.


Update: LAFCO has postponed the vote on this topic until August 2, so if you haven’t yet submitted an email, please do so using the form at the bottom of this page.

On Wednesday, June 7, the Santa Clara County LAFCO will decide whether to allow residential sprawl on farmland outside of Gilroy city limits. If this happens, it will hurt Gilroy’s climate resilience, residents’ safety, and taxpayers’ wallets throughout the county. Please use the form below to email the LAFCO Commissioners and ask them to deny the application.

What’s Happening

Developers want to build a residential subdivision on unincorporated farmland just north of Gilroy city limits, west of 101 and south of Day Road. Although no official development application has been submitted, the city has indicated that the development could include over 300 units, most of which would be low-density tract homes.

But before this development can move forward, Gilroy must expand its Urban Service Area and annex the land into its boundaries. The decision of whether to grant this rests with the Santa Clara County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO). LAFCOs are local agencies charged by state law with preventing sprawl, preserving open space and farmland, and ensuring orderly growth of cities and efficient delivery of services, such as fire protection.

Gilroy’s request is a textbook case of sprawl and should be denied by LAFCO. It would expand the city’s Urban Service Area to allow new development outside the city when there is still plenty of available land within city limits for residential development. That’s the classic definition of sprawl: gobbling up open space for new low-density development when you could build infill housing instead.

Why It Matters

Sprawl isn’t just bad for the environment, it’s bad for taxpayers. Low-density development out on the edges of cities costs more to provide with urban services such as police and fire protection, sewer service and water supply, trash collection, road maintenance, and schools, parks and libraries. In this case, the city of Gilroy’s own economic analysis found that this development would have a negative fiscal impact on both Gilroy and Santa Clara County. In addition, Gilroy is already struggling to provide adequate fire protection and keep the roads in good repair; adding acres of new development out beyond city limits would strain those services even further.

The Santa Clara Valley has lost the vast majority of its historic farmland. We need to protect what remains in order to provide communities with locally grown food. Also, in an era of climate change, it’s irresponsible to build sprawl development on open space far from transit. Not only does this result in more driving and thus more greenhouse gas emissions, it destroys the carbon-absorbing open space we need to protect.

What You Can Do

Please use the form below to email the LAFCO Commissioners and ask them to deny Gilroy’s application.

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