​AFT Helps Stop Santa Clara County Farmland From Being Permanently Paved Over

Serena Unger

Earlier in March, American Farmland Trust joined with partners from around the South San Francisco Bay area to defeat a proposal by the City of Morgan Hill to annex hundreds of acres of farmland and other open space for development.

In testimony delivered on March 11th in front of the Santa Clara County Local Area Formation Commission (LAFCO), I made the argument that the Morgan Hill annexation proposal contained little evidence that it would be an effective strategy for preserving farmland. The proposal focused too heavily on mitigating farmland loss instead of setting clear boundaries for avoiding the development of farmland in the first place.

Ultimately, the Commission agreed and denied the proposal from the City of Morgan Hill.

As County Supervisor Ken Yeager, noted of his decision, "After much deliberation and a lengthy LAFCO meeting, I voted along with a majority of my fellow commissioners to reject the City of Morgan Hill's proposal for annexation. While I recognize that we need to plan for the future growth of our communities, I believe that we need to learn from the mistakes of the past and focus on developing our vacant and underutilized lands within existing city boundaries. It is critical that we continue to resist urban sprawl and work to preserve the remaining rural areas throughout the County."

All of us at American Farmland Trust would like to congratulate the Santa Clara County LAFCO for sticking to their commitment to protect farmland in the Santa Clara Valley. We encourage LAFCOs throughout the state to follow their example.

For more information, visit www.farmland.org/California.