"Strategies to Balance Planned Growth and Agricultural Viability" is a joint policy document adopted by the Gilroy City Council, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors and the Local Area Formation Commission (LAFCO) in the fall of 1996. These Strategies were prepared and adopted after completion of a study of agricultural issues in South County.
The purpose of the South County agricultural study was to identify ways to ensure the long term maintenance of agriculture as a viable land use in the area south and east of Gilroy. This area is designated in the County General Plan for "Large Scale Agriculture" and has long been identified as an "agricultural preserve."
The study, which was initiated in 1994, was undertaken in response to concerns about the impacts of incremental urbanization in this area. The study was jointly sponsored by LAFCO, Gilroy and the County.
The City of Gilroy, LAFCO and Santa Clara County and the Santa Clara County Farm Bureau are actively implementing the action items outlined in the Strategies to Balance Planned Growth and Agricultural Viability. Activities include:
- The City of Gilroy is currently involved in a comprehensive update of the City's General Plan, including a review of polices relative to their 20 year growth boundary, consistent with the Strategies.
- LAFCO is revising policies regarding annexations to allow annexations within the City's current 20 year growth boundary in exchange for a renewed commitment on behalf of the City of Gilroy to their existing 20 year boundary.
- Santa Clara County has reviewed and evaluated the use regulations for agricultural lands, in order to simplify review of agriculturally-related projects, allow additional processing and agricultural-serving uses, and discourage or limit uses incompatible with long term agricultural viability. Revised zoning ordinance provisions went into effect in February of 1998, the overall intent of which is to promote the long term viability of agriculture and to conserve agricultural lands in South County.