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San Benito
May 30, 2024

Hollister council turns down mayor’s appeal on ‘400 block’ project

Hollister council members Monday turned down the mayor’s appeal on the project slated for the green space at Fourth and San Benito streets.

Council members voted 3-1 against the appeal, with Mayor Ignacio Velazquez recusing himself due to his ownership of nearby property. Council members Carol Lenoir, Marty Richman and Honor Spencer showed continued support for the project, while Councilman Rolan Resendiz dissented.

Velazquez filed an official appeal to the planning commission’s April 11 approval of the development in the 400 block of San Benito Street next to The Vault building he owns. The mayor has been recusing himself from official decisions on the “400 block” project, which includes the Community Foundation for San Benito County Philanthropic Center along with a mixed-use project from the Del Curto Brothers.

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 Hollister Redevelopment Agency.

In his appeal, Velazquez argues that the city’s own law on density limits for the property allows just 11 residential units as opposed to the 22 condominiums planned by Del Curto Brothers to go with commercial units. Project supporters, and most council members, argued it was OK because the two projects were considered as one for the purpose of the sale and lot redevelopment.

The hearing and decision lasted about two and a half hours during a marathon seven-hour council meeting Monday.