GONZALES — Members of the Gonzales City Council and Planning Commission hosted a joint meeting last month for a workshop review of the Puente del Monte housing development plans.

The concept project includes approximately 2,623 dwelling units divided into two neighborhoods, West and East.

City leaders took no action on the project, as it was an informational workshop on July 19; however, another meeting was planned before the end of August to get more feedback on plans for the area.

The land area for the project is owned by Jackson Family Investments and Rianda Farms, and the first pitches for the project began in 2009.

“We employ and drive many people in the agricultural business and we own and control plots of land in the Salinas Valley,” said LeeAnne Edwards, senior vice president of real estate at Jackson Family Wines. “We plan to be there as a legacy. We’re not just developers who are going to leave. We’re going to live with this.”

Edwards said both Jackson and Rianda have a connection to the future success of the city of Gonzales because their employees live there and will continue to do so. She said both businesses agree with the Gonzales master plan goals of fostering “a healthy, sustainable, prosperous agriculturally based and affordable quality of life for all existing and future residents.”

Only 40 acres of the land intended for Puente del Monte is within current city limits, and another 540 acres would need to be annexed, pushing the city limits to the southern permanent edge of the city’s growth established by LAFCO along Gloria Road. The large development would change the way Gonzales looks while coming into the south end of town.

Todd Larner, senior principal planner with WHA Inc., said plans would fit into Gonzales rather than be copied from San Jose or the Central Valley.

“We’re focused on place making, how you craft a community that isn’t car focused but people focused,” Larner said. He noted the plans drew influence from the older neighborhoods of Gonzales, which were walkable communities.

More than 20% of the plans have open space, which includes schools, parks and trails. The design would have commercial properties closer to the highway, with housing radiating outward at first higher density and then becoming lower density the further out the housing went.

Housing types in the development would be broken down as 12 to 13% lower density, which are 3 to 6 units per acre; 25 to 30% medium density, which are 6 to 9 units per acre; 25 to 30% medium-high density, which are 9 to 15 units per acre; and 30% high density, which are 15 to 24 units per acre.

AMBAG projections showed that Gonzales would grow to 23,418 people in the year 2035, an increase of 14,393 over the 2009 population of 9,025. 

To meet the demand, the city would need to set aside 1,500 acres of additional land for residential growth to accommodate a total city population of 38,000. The Puente del Monte development would put Gonzales almost 600 acres closer to that goal.

Previous articleSoledad school board evaluates independent learning
Next articleSalinas Valley News Briefs | Aug. 25, 2021
Sean Roney is a freelance reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here