Retailers, Hotel, Senior Housing Favored for Los Gatos' North 40 Development

Meeting of North 40 Advisory Committee tonight will review area's proposed land-use map.


The North 40 Specific Plan Advisory Committee will meet tonight, Wednesday, Aug. 15, from 6-9 p.m. at the Los Gatos Town Council Chambers, 110 E. Main St.

The North 40 area is bounded by Highway 85 on the north, Lark Avenue on the south, Highway 17 on the west, and Los Gatos Boulevard on the east.

This development could include residential, retail, and office components.

The Council established the committee to guide the plan's development process.

On the agenda tonight for discussion is a so-called draft district map (see attached PDF documents) of the area, draft development standards and a parameters table.

The map shows four districts for the land being called Lark, Transition, Northern and Lark/Los Gatos Boulevard overlay, which address additional development standards such as height limitations.

According to a summary from committee meetings held this past spring and early summer, planners believe there seems to be support for restaurants and outdoor dining on the land, with a mix of eatery types, which should be carefully thought out to avoid duplication of other regional draws such as San Jose's Santana Row and to complement the downtown of Los Gatos.

Conference facilities and live theater have been identified as unmet needs in Los Gatos, according to the meetings' summary as part of a 200-250 person-capacity hotel. There's also support for allowing office use, particularly innovative and incubator-type space.

Retail targeted for the North 40 neighborhood - including neighboring employers such as Good Samaritan Hospital - is being considered, but it should not be the site's predominant use, according to the summary.

"There are concerns with how to regulate retail in a way that will complement downtown and Los Gatos Boulevard uses instead of competing with them," the summary states.

There's also support for 400 mixed residential units that will minimize impacts to schools and traffic, focusing on residents older than 55, "empty nesters" looking for affordable housing, and "Generation Y" products according to the summary.

Town officials hope to complete the plan by early 2013. The project would also need to have an environmental impact report conducted.

The committee will make plan recommendations to the Los Gatos Planning Commission and Los Gatos Town Council, holding additional hearings in late spring or early summer of 2013, according to Los Gatos Community Development Director Wendie Rooney.

Members of the North 40 Advisory Committee include Council members Joe Pirzynski, Vice Mayor Barbara Spector, Planning Commission members John Bourgeois, Marcia Jensen and Marico Sayoc, among others.

In an Aug. 9 memo, Rooney says on June 5 the committee reached consensus on the plan's six land-use categories of retail, hotel, office, residential, recreation/entertainment and restaurants.

Rooney writes that agreement was also reached on using the town's commercial highway zone district development standards, specifying setbacks, height, lot coverage, and others, as a starting point.

The committee is scheduled to meet again at 6 p.m., Aug. 21 at Town Council Chambers to further review materials prepared by staff outlining the plan with a summary for each section. Rooney said staff and consultants would like to to include the committee's input into the plan, which they hope to have ready for review in early 2013.

Please see attached PDF of meeting agenda tonight, a North 40 Advisory Committee staff report and North 40 Advisory Committee exhibits.

Larry Arzie August 16, 2012 at 04:52 AM
I just got back from the N40 meeting. Staff is up to their old tricks and attempting to allow a whole lot of 45 foot high buildings (regulations allow for only 35 feet in Los Gatos) in certain sections of the project because the grade is lower there. I got up and spoke against this. I see no reason to not allow a 45' building but they need to ask permission instead of handing them a blank check. We need them to tell us why a 45' building is required. (4 stories as apposed to 3) . They need to justify the reason. What if it is an ugly building? This way we can make sure there is excellence in design and it doesn't obstruct views and provides a need for the community. Staff also has paid little attention to protecting the existing downtown retail district after so much has been said about this. They want to give the developer the ability to build over 30 shops less than 3000 sq ft or around the size of our downtown shops. Staff is only asking for 22 3001 to 50K square foot shops as apposed to 30 small shops. The developer has been quoted as saying he would be happy to talk with anyone in downtown los gatos that wants to move there....... Of course I got up and spoke against this asking that no shops 3000K or less be allowed to be retail except for local service needs. i.e 7-11 wine, etc. There is a lot more work to do in making this a mutually compatible project. Sheila, where were you. Taking a well needed rest I hope.
Sheila Sanchez August 16, 2012 at 04:58 AM
Hi Larry, I had interviewed Don Capobres, senior VP of Grosvenor Americas, this afternoon at Great Bear Coffee. He gave me useful information I intend to include in a follow-up. Sorry I missed you, Larry. Tres besos!
Jennifer Croll August 16, 2012 at 05:29 AM
Let's encourage retailers that we all NEED and go to outside of our town limits that don't conflict or sabotage the integrity of our charming downtown. Examples? Michaels (every "Mission Project," etc.,), Sports Authority or Play It Again Sports (sporting equipment, uniforms), Bowling Alley (BowlMor, family/kid/teen fun). Retailers that need in excess of 5000 sqft that keep tax dollars IN Los Gatos and save our residents the gas expenditures of having to go outside our town for their services.
Jesse Ducker August 16, 2012 at 05:43 AM
Planning for mixed use is always a tricky situation. Hopefully the Advisory Committee works everything out to the best of their ability.
Danielle August 16, 2012 at 06:01 AM
I am completely opposed to restaurants and retail on this property. I have watched the city of San Jose make mistake after mistake while wasting tax dollars in the form of "redevelopment money". First they bult up downtown with a vibrancy that was missing since the early 80's. Then they let Valley Fair expand which pulled shoppers and the Santana Row that pulled the restaurant and bar scene. The North 40 needs to be housing and offices. Maybe a retailer that sells things that are not in downtown but as the Town Council keeps pointing out, the use goes with the land so as the tenants change so does the product. If you allow restaurants that have outdoor dining you will rip a significant percentage of sales from your downtown restaurants. Think long and hard about the decision. Thats why I say residential and office, you bring more revenue to your existing coffers.


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