A controversial South Bay development will not move forward-full speed ahead.
Los Gatos leaders decided Tuesday to more fully involve community members with the massive North 40 retail and housing project on Highway 17.
Although the development has been under discussion for several years, it is likely to impact Los Gatos as no project ever will again.
Just phase one of North 40, as planned by Grosvenor Americas, would replace land that is currently mostly covered by orchards with 320 residential units and 58,000 square feet of retail space.
Housing, traffic, education, the quaintness of this town – the council wants to get it right with the help of residents.
“I think it behooves all of us, the Planning Commission, the council, the school board and the public to be on the same page of information,” said Vice Mayor Marico Sayoc.
The Town Council on Tuesday called for the formation of a joint study group, as it is called, consisting of those three panels to educate residents on what exactly is on the drawing board.
“Most people are not informed of the density of this project impacting schools in traffic,” said Tony Alarcon of Los Gatos. “The town is in a position where we have to inform the citizens.”
At Tuesday’s meeting, people opposed to what they consider to be high-density housing wore orange in silent protest.
“I can't believe a town the size of Los Gatos would allow a project of this magnitude to go through,” resident Stephen Miller said.
North 40 has won vote after vote from the council and planning commission, all of it after public discussion, but some citizens believe, the project can still be stopped.
If it isn’t, “the history of our town, the quaintness is gone. We will be another Santana Row and that's not Los Gatos,” Alarcon said.
For its part, the developer has changed its design for the North 40 project a number of times and has shown a willingness to work with the council and the public to get approval.