30.9.10 Statement of intent.

The intent of this article is:

(a) To protect the public health, safety, and welfare in regard to hillsides and hillside development;

(b) To protect the views and vistas of surrounding hillsides, hilltops and ridge lines;

(c) To protect the natural settings and terrain of Gilroy’s hills and valleys; and

(d) To coordinate with regional and county plans, and implement all city policies, guidelines, and plans pertaining to hillside development.

This article shall provide a special zoning district that is sensitive to the special considerations of those areas within the City of Gilroy that are generally greater than ten percent (10%) but less than thirty percent (30%) average slope.

The following regulations, except to the extent that they may be modified by a combining district, shall apply to those districts that are specifically designated as being in an RH residential hillside district. Properties located within the RH residential hillside district shall also be subject to all other applicable provisions of this chapter. In addition, all provisions specified by section 30.50.50 (Planned unit development approval) shall apply to all RH residential hillside district parcels, except those parcels that receive architectural and site review approval in accordance with section 30.9.70, Exceptions. (Ord. No. 2013-08, § 2 (Exh. A), 8-5-13)

30.9.20 Permitted uses and conditional uses.

Land in the RH residential hillside district may be used as provided in the residential use table, section 30.11.10(c). Other uses may be approved according to planned unit development (PUD) approval which shall be obtained according to the provisions of section 30.50.50. (Ord. No. 2013-08, § 2 (Exh. A), 8-5-13)

30.9.30 Site and building requirements.

(a) Setback Requirements. All setback requirements shall be as specified in the planned unit development (PUD) approval which shall be obtained according to the provisions of section 30.50.50. RH residential hillside district lots exempt from obtaining PUD approval in accordance with section 30.9.70, Exceptions, shall comply with the minimum setback requirements established for the R1 single-family residential zoning district.

(b) Building Visibility and Height Requirements. No structure shall be constructed in any hillside zone in such a way that it is silhouetted against the skyline when viewed from the valley floor below the hillside. Structures shall be limited to a maximum height of thirty (30) feet measured from grade along the perimeter of the dwelling to the ridge of the roof, except that any structure built so that the peak of the roof is within twenty (20) feet in height of the hillside ridge line shall be limited to fifteen (15) feet in height. If the structure is screened by existing trees or vegetation, it shall be limited to thirty (30) feet in height and two (2) stories at any one (1) point. No existing trees or vegetation may be removed except according to the provisions of the planned unit development (PUD) or architectural and site review approval.

(c) Slope Requirements. No construction of any building shall occur on any portion of any parcel where the average slope of that portion covered by the structure exceeds thirty percent (30%) slope. For slopes over fifteen percent (15%), a special foundation design based on soils tests approved by the chief building official shall be required in order to preserve the integrity of the hillside slope.

(d) Additional Requirements. Any additional requirements including, but not limited to, parking, signing, landscaping and fence requirements, shall be as specified in the planned unit development (PUD) approval which shall be obtained according to the provisions of section 30.50.50. (Ord. No. 2013-08, § 2 (Exh. A), 8-5-13)

30.9.40 Density.

The number of acres per dwelling unit (a) shall be determined by the average slope (s) based on the formula:

a =





1 - .02s


with a maximum of two (2) acres/unit. The number of dwelling units allowed for development on a given parcel would be calculated by the formula:

A (acres)

a (acres/unit)

(Ord. No. 2013-08, § 2 (Exh. A), 8-5-13)

30.9.41 Resubdivision of single-family residential hillside lots.

Residential hillside lots, created by a tentative map under the provisions of a residential hillside district for the placement of one (1) single-family dwelling, shall not be split or resubdivided. Lot line adjustments where additional single-family lots are not created are exempt. (Ord. No. 2013-08, § 2 (Exh. A), 8-5-13)

30.9.50 Bonuses.

The number of allowable units may be increased by up to ten percent (10%) for any of the preferred development techniques listed below, in accordance with the planned unit development (PUD) approval. The total bonus may not exceed thirty percent (30%) of the number of allowable units determined by the density formula.

(a) Clustering.

(b) A combined development proposal by the owners of three (3) or more adjacent properties of ten (10) or more acres consolidated into a single plan of fifty (50) or more acres.

(c) Transfer of the rights to develop RH districts having steeper slopes to other property owner(s) having land with flatter, buildable slopes.

(d) Planned development of dwellings on stable slopes under fifteen percent (15%) and retention of steeper slopes for open space. (Ord. No. 2013-08, § 2 (Exh. A), 8-5-13)

30.9.60 Hillside development guidelines.

The city council’s adopted hillside development guidelines shall be utilized in the development of RH residential hillside districts. (Ord. No. 2013-08, § 2 (Exh. A), 8-5-13)

30.9.70 Exceptions.

Single, custom-designed dwellings and site development plans may be exempted from the PUD planned unit development provisions of section 30.50.50 and may be approved by the planning director via an architectural and site review application, if such development:

(a) Meets or exceeds the criteria of the adopted hillside development guidelines;

(b) Meets the provisions of whichever section of this chapter is more restrictive:

(1) Article V, R1 Single-Family Residential District; or

(2) Sections 30.9.30(a), (b) and (c), RH residential hillside district. (Ord. No. 2013-08, § 2 (Exh. A), 8-5-13).