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December 9, 2023

City sets appeal hearing on 400 block project

Hollister City Council members Monday scheduled a hearing for the mayor’s appeal of an approval to the planned multi-use development in the 400 block of San Benito Street.

Hollister Mayor Ignacio Velazquez filed an official appeal to the planning commission’s April approval of the development in the 400 block of San Benito Street next to The Vault building he owns. He has recused himself from city decisions on the matter and sat out Monday’s scheduling.

The city council received his appeal Monday and scheduled an appeal hearing for the 6:30 p.m. meeting May 20. It was a 4-0 vote. The council in closed session, without Velazquez, also agreed to search for an outside law firm to handle the appeal.

Hollister City Council members are set to meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Hollister City Hall, 375 Fifth St., to consider that and other items.

The so-called 400 block project includes the Community Foundation for San Benito County Philanthropic Center along with a mixed-use project from the Del Curto Brothers.

But Velazquez has openly opposed the development as a citizen and is officially appealing the planning commission’s April 11 decision to approve its conditional use permit and tentative map.

The city sold the 400 block grassy lot to those two entities for $390,000 as part of Hollister’s required disposal of properties belonging to the now-defunct redevelopment agency.

In his appeal, Velazquez argues that the city’s own laws on density limits for the property allow just 11 residential units as opposed to the 22 condominiums planned by Del Curto Brothers to go with commercial units.

According to the mayor’s letter through an attorney:

“The City’s zoning code strictly caps residential development on the Project site at 40 units per acre. The Project site, after adding a portion of the separate Brigg’s Alley parcel, is only 12,537 square feet or less than .29 acres. Thus, setting aside any potential density bonus, the City’s zoning code allows only I I residential units to be built on the site.”