Downtown Specific Plan

"Strengthening Downtown as the gathering place, a connecting force, the social and activity heart of Morgan Hill, is the overriding aspiration of this Plan - a place where residents from all segments of the community can live, work, meet, shop, dine and participate in public celebrations, and share in the richness of Morgan Hill’s community life. It will be a place like nowhere else - a place with its own scale, character and uses." Vision Statement - Morgan Hill Downtown Specific Plan.
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Overview
The effort to plan and implement regulations and activities to support revitalization of Downtown has been going on for many years. The Downtown Design Plan was adopted in 2003, many of its policies remain sound, and many of its action items have been completed. However, in 2007, it was determined that a Specific Plan and a Master EIR should be prepared in order to refine and streamline development regulations and review procedures that apply to downtown development. The Parking Strategy also needed to be revised and completed. The Specific Plan is not intended to “re-do” or “re-vision” the community’s vision for downtown, but to provide a reality-based strategy for achieving the Vision contained in the 2003 Downtown Plan.

Downtown Morgan Hill currently has many of the necessary elements for a successful Central Business District, including proximity to a transit station, street trees, textured crosswalks and wide sidewalks, great shops and restaurants, and popular community activities such as the Farmers Market, Taste of Morgan Hill, and Fourth of July celebration. The revised Downtown Plan aims to build on the success of Downtown by encouraging policies and design guidelines that promote redevelopment in the 20 Blocks addressed by the Plan. The key focus of the Downtown Specific Plan is to modify certain land use development regulations in order to make future development in the downtown are more feasible, which will facilitate achievement of the community’s vision for Downtown.

The Downtown Specific Plan was adopted by the City Council on November 4, 2009.

Urban Design Goals
The primary urban design goals and objectives addressed by this Specific Plan include:
  • Creating an active Downtown village through intensifying residential, retail, restaurant, and entertainment uses, within an urban setting improved with unified landscaping and streetscape improvements;
  • Making Monterey Road and Third Street more pedestrian and retail friendly, and improve other roads with better street lighting and streetscape improvements;
  • Strengthening Downtown’s identity and scale with new design related to a traditional character; and
  • Creating visual and physical linkages to Downtown with landscaping, bike paths and entry area features; and with linking downtown commercial uses to common parking areas available to the general public.
Master Environmental Impact Report
A Master Environmental Impact Report (MEIR) was prepared to provide information about potentially significant environmental impacts of the Downtown Specific Plan and mitigation/avoidance measures that address certain impacts. The Final Master Environmental Impact Report (MEIR) for the Downtown Specific Plan was certified by the City Council on November 4, 2009.
Important Notes
Note that the Summary of Impacts and Mitigation/Avoidance Measures is also provided at the end of the Downtown Specific Plan Addendum

It should be also noted that the Downtown Specific Plan Master EIR presents information about the possible impacts of possible downtown circulation network and LOS policy amendments, because the changes are reasonably foreseeable. However, it is important to emphasize that actual decisions about circulation and LOS amendments, including the possibility of narrowing Monterey Road to 2 lanes and exempting the downtown core from the LOS policy standard, will be made through the General Plan Circulation Element Amendment process. Please use the Transportation link on the city’s website to access information about the Circulation Element Amendment and related transportation studies and projects.