Do you think Trammel Crow Company (TCC) was being strategic in releasing their new site design only a few days before their next review with the MH Planning Commission, scheduled during one of the most hectic weeks of the year? Are they hoping we are too preoccupied to pay much attention?
Like you, MHRGC volunteers are busy with jobs, families, and other commitments leading into this holiday season, but we’re also trying to stay on top of this project. The new design is definitely a step in the right direction. But is there more than meets the eye? We think so. TCC revised some building specifications after public input in October. GREAT JOB EVERYONE!!! But there are many questions left unanswered, leaving us with major concerns as well. We need to be present at the Dec. 10 meeting to help get our questions answered before we can assess the value of this new design.
Regardless of what we learn at this upcoming meeting, MHRGC is still moving full speed ahead on our INITIATIVE to prevent distribution centers from taking over what little valuable land is left in our city. We refuse to let Morgan Hill become the cheap, crime-riddled warehouse hub of the Bay Area the way the Inland Empire has become for LA. We aren't the only community impacted by the poor decisions of city planners. Look what happened in this very recent LA Times Article.
To help prepare for the 12/10 meeting, here’s a starting list of Pros/Cons and Questions.
- Greater flexibility for advanced manufacturing (AM). If these 6 buildings are truly intended for light manufacturing, this design offers more building sizes and an increase in the number of building entrances, to enable a wider range of companies to find the right fit.
- 1/3 fewer dock doors (aka service doors). TCC requested flexibility in service doors to configure interior space for AM companies, where dock doors are mainly limited to supplies-in and products-out. That should imply that most of these service doors would then be unnecessary (see Midpoint 237 example). However, we can’t be certain about any of this, and it’s possible they could add more doors just as much as they could take some of these away in the final design.
- Cross docking and most perimeter trailer storage has been removed.
- Improvements to the Madrone trail.
- Another “conceptual” design. Trammell Crow has identified all of their site plans thus far as conceptual which is obviously not the same as the final design. The Master Plan will reveal the final design. We have not yet seen the Master Plan for the MH Technology Park project.
- Warehouse construction. These buildings are still specified as warehouse-style tilt-up slab construction with 55’ exterior heights and 32-35’ interior heights. This limits “possible uses” to distribution and advanced manufacturing only. In fact, these building specs are exactly what are defined as ideal for distribution by TC’s parent company CBRE. NOT ONE OF THESE BUILDING IS SUITABLE FOR A HIGH TECH COMPANY - Research/Development or corporate offices. No high tech company is going to put cubicles in a big cavernous warehouse with an over abundance of drafty dock doors.
- Missing documentation on Permitted Uses. These new designs have no supporting doc to override what was submitted previously. At the 10/15 PDR meeting, permitted uses were discussed and distribution was a prominent entry. In fact, there was a proposal by TCC to update our MH zoning code to redefine Warehouse/Distribution (Small) as < 300,000 SF and Warehouse/Distribution (Large) > 300,000 SF. Currently our zoning code defines “small” as < 75,000 SF so this is a substantial increase. All 6 buildings are now smaller than 300,000 SF. See: “IL (Light Industrial) Proposed Permitted and Conditional Uses”, Planning Commission agenda for 10/15 mtg https://morganhillca.iqm2.com/Citizens/Detail_Meeting.aspx?ID=1895
- Number of loading docks. There are still way too many dock doors. While these dock configurations can provide flexibility for AM, they can also allow for some company to come in as a distribution center and use every one of those “service” doors for 24/7 operations.
- CI zoning district designation is not being honored. The NEW Commercial/Industrial CI zoning district designation, requested by TC, is supposed to provide for a vibrant job center along with supporting commercial buildings. All of these buildings are strictly for industrial, not commercial. (check out MH General Plan and zoning codes).
- Communications Tower. Many people in our community have expressed concerns about the environmental and health ramifications of a 5G tower.
- When will we see the Master Plan, rather than conceptual plans? Conceptual plans can change at any time before they are presented to MH City Council for approval. Note: MHRGC has been asking about the Master Plan for many months now and we recently followed up with that request related to these new conceptual designs.
- What “permitted uses” are being requested related to this new design? See “Missing documentation on Permitted Uses” under Cons listed above for details on permitted uses discussed during the October design review. .
- Is there still a requirement for Warehouse/Distribution in “permitted uses” for funding purposes? It seems the reason could be that if you are trying to build warehouses, you need to include this as a permitted use. But how about constructing R&D type office buildings and you might get investors to back the funding for R&D or corporate usage without needing to also specify distribution?
- Why can’t TCC dedicate a portion of this development to R&D or corporate office space to give further flexibility for possible tenants?
- What restrictions are given for converting these buildings to Warehouse/Distribution? What prevents TCC from reconfiguring the development if they get the green light to move forward? Can they merge buildings or increase dock doors and trailer parking after this “conceptual” stage?
- How can we be confidant this does not become the NEW “Intermediate Distribution Center” that Amazon is now using to serve metropolitan markets with one-hour deliveries? Along with big rig trucks delivering at the center, we would have hundreds of delivery trucks coming and going throughout the day to load up and deliver food and other goods in a “one hour” radius.
- We’ve made it clear we don’t want a distribution center but who said we want manufacturing next to homes and schools? Even with light industrial, including advanced manufacturing, is there a guarantee these companies won’t contaminate our air, soil, and ground water? Is there a guarantee we won’t see high-volume manufacturing that rivals distribution centers in their daily truck traffic? How can we guarantee the “right types” of AM companies will move in? For example, Paramit, who manufactures high-end medical devices, is suitable for a neighboring company. A high volume auto parts manufacturer, on the other hand, is no better than a distribution center for traffic.