Now is an exciting time for the City of Morgan Hill as the City embarks upon a major planning process, called Morgan Hill 2035, to help guide development, land use, growth, and conservation in the city over the next 20 years. Specifically, the City is undertaking a comprehensive update to the major policy documents that guide the city’s economic and physical growth as well as maintain and improve our community's quality of life.Morgan Hill 2035 includes updates to:
- The General Plan, including the Community, Economic Development, and Housing Elements
- The Zoning Code
- The Growth Management System
- Infrastructure (water, sewer, storm drainage, and telecommunications) Master Plans
In addition, the City will be coordinating with the Countywide Climate Action Plan (CAP) to ensure that the CAP prepared for Morgan Hill is properly integrated into the General Plan Update.
Each component of Morgan Hill 2035 is described below. All of these project components will play a role in coordinating future development and investment in Morgan Hill to increase economic opportunity and enhance community characteristics valued by residents.
To develop planning documents that reflect the community’s values and goals, Morgan Hill 2035 will be a highly participatory process. The process will rely upon feedback and input from the public, a General Plan Advisory Committee (GPAC) made up of Morgan Hill residents and business owners, City decision-makers, and City staff to ensure that the community’s vision and priorities are correctly captured. To view a calendar of upcoming meetings and events, click here.
The City anticipates the project will be completed in Spring 2016.
California State law requires every county and city to adopt a General Plan. The General Plan outlines the City’s goals for physical growth, land use, transportation, and housing, and contains the policies and actions necessary to achieve those goals. The General Plan is the foundation of all local land use decisions about zoning, permitted development, and allowable activities.
Typically, a General Plan begins with a Vision Statement and then establishes specific goals and policies related to a range of civic issues. These issues are organized into a series of topical “Elements” or chapters of the General Plan. The following seven Elements are required by State law: Land Use, Open Space, Transportation, Housing, Conservation, Safety, and Noise. These Elements can be combined or presented in any order that best fits the community.
The City of Morgan Hill’s General Plan addresses all State requirements and organizes the General Plan in its own unique format as described below. The General Plan was last comprehensively updated in 2001 with focused updates to the Housing and Transportation Elements in 2010. The City’s existing General Plan can be found here. Morgan Hill 2035 will work from the existing General Plan Vision Statement, completed in 2001 and remains largely relevant today, to update each of these Elements.
- Introduction: contains the City’s Vision, explains how the General Plan was developed and how it is organized, and presents a brief history and profile of the community.
- Community Development Element: addresses land use policy, public services and infrastructure, and parks and recreation.
- Economic Development Element: addresses the economic and fiscal goals of the city.
- Circulation Element: identifies the planned circulation network for all modes of transportation, including cars, bikes, pedestrians, and goods movement.
- Open Space and Conservation Element: plans for Morgan Hill’s open space, biological resources, agriculture, water and energy conservation, and historic preservation.
- Public Health and Safety Element: addresses water quality, noise, and hazards associated with landslides, earthquakes, flooding, fire, and hazardous material.
- Regional Coordination Element: identifies ways the City can participate in planning for regional growth.
- Housing Element: identifies potential future housing sites to accommodate the City’s housing need for households at a range of income levels
In addition, a new Growth Management Element will be added to the General Plan that sets the policy framework for regulating the amount of residential development.
These updated elements will effectively guide future growth, development and the enhancement of our quality of life over the next 20 years.
While the General Plan sets the broad-level goals and policies for the city, the Zoning Code is the primary way that General Plan policies are translated into the physical dimensions of the city, its land use patterns, and activities. The updated Zoning Code will set parameters of design, location, and building and other permit conditions. The City’s existing zoning code (Title 18 of the Municipal Code) can be found here.
Growth Management System
Established in 1977, the City of Morgan Hill’s unique growth management system regulates population growth through the provision of residential building allotments. The current growth management system permits a 2020 population ceiling of 48,000. (As of 2011, the US Census reported that Morgan Hill’s population was about 38,000.) Most substantive changes to the growth management system must be approved by voters. While the growth management system has resulted in high quality residential development, the implementation of the program is time consuming and expensive for the City to administer. Morgan Hill 2035 provides an opportunity to simplify implementation of the growth management program while maintaining the goals for the ultimate size of the community, the pace and quality of development, and diversity of housing types desired by the community. To learn more about the current growth management program, click here.
Infrastructure Master Plans
Infrastructure Master Plans help ensure that new growth is served by affordable water, sewer, and storm drainage systems. As part of Morgan Hill 2035, the City will undertake updates to the Water, Sewer, and Storm Master Plans. In addition, the City will also prepare a Telecommunications Infrastructure Master Plan. These Infrastructure Master Plans will assess existing demand and capacity and will determine what types of improvements are necessary to meet projected future demand. Click here to view the City’s Sewer Master Plan and here to view the City’s Storm Master Plan.
Climate Action Plan Coordination
The County of Santa Clara is currently undertaking a Climate Action Plan (CAP) for seven jurisdictions within the county. The CAP will identify strategies and measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions countywide. As part of the Morgan Hill 2035 project, the City will coordinate with the Countywide Climate Action Plan to ensure that the CAP prepared for Morgan Hill is properly incorporated with the overall Morgan Hill 2035 project.