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Tasting Morgan Hill...

Erik Chalhoub

SIDEWALK FARE Dining options—indoors or in sidewalk patios—continue to grow in number and variety along Monterey Road, a new hot restaurant destination for the South Valley. PAGE 4B

Building for the future

Tarmo Hannula

BRITTON MIDDLE SCHOOL Students and teachers are in new classrooms this fall at Britton Middle School, as construction on a new science building continues at the Monterey Road campus.




SEPTEMBER 27, 2019

Morgan Hill markets its value CITY LOOKING FOR NEW BUSINESS INVESTMENT Barry Holtzclaw Managing Editor

Affordable and abundant space

• Average rent is 51 percent less than most cities in Silicon Valley • Over 6.2 million square feet of land capacity ready for new development, all near a city transit center and with excellent freeway access.


• 10 minutes from San Jose (city limits) • 30 minutes from Mineta San Jose • International Airport • Reverse commute within Silicon Valley • Caltrain station, future Salinas rail extension and neighboring cities with high speed rail stops


• Over the last 20 years, workers have been steadily moving to this city at the southern end of

Tarmo Hannula

Morgan Hill is aggressively marketing itself as a city where Silicon Valley companies and their employees can relocate, outside of the hustle and bustle of the north end of Santa Clara County. offers entrepreneurs and business development managers a one-stop look at the reasons why Morgan Hill is increasingly a go-to place for smaller companies interested in integrating workplaces and neighborhood lifestyles. Looking to locate or expand your business in Silicon Valley? That’s the basic question the site attempts to answer, with photos of modern work settings, and happy workers. The home page reads: “Morgan Hill is a vibrant and growing community 30 minutes from the San Jose International Airport, and one of the last untapped opportunities in Silicon Valley. “Businesses love Morgan Hill, and we love them right back: the established, the emerging, the expanding and the entrepreneurial. We don’t just welcome new businesses, we actively work to support them with a probusiness, pro-development environment. With

our business-friendly zoning and public policies, you’ll have a partner in your corner working to make it easy every step of the way.” “Toray Advanced Composites has chosen Morgan Hill as its headquarters because it’s a friendly place to grow and expand our manufacturing capacity and because of the proximity to our key customers,” writes Scott Unger, Group President, Toray Advanced Composites. Here are the reasons the city says businesses should head to Morgan Hill:

NEW HOUSING The Crossings on Monterey Road is one of many new apartment buildings being built in Morgan Hill to attract Silicon Valley workers. Silicon Valley. Businesses in Morgan Hill can find talent from Morgan Hill and from other Silicon Valley communities. • South Silicon Valley is providing much of the workforce housing for Silicon Valley. Morgan Hill has had a steady 2 percent growth and the adjacent communities are also leading in housing construction. • 85,000 skilled workers within 30 minutes of Morgan Hill; over

860,000 workers within 60 minutes. • Morgan Hill offers one of the best affordable housing programs in the state. One of eight homes is affordable by restriction.


• Vibrant downtown with 30-plus restaurants for casual and business lunches. • Outdoor recreation abounds: cycling, hiking, boating and Henry W.

Coe State Park, the largest state park in Northern California. • Award-winning wineries located in one of the oldest premium wine regions in California. • Top-notch golfing at the Jack Nicklaus designed Coyote Creek Golf Club and Rosewood CordeValle. • Dozen of pick-your-own farms scattered through the community and a yearround farmers market.

City Support

• Morgan Hill is a city with a vision—the Economic Blueprint identifies four key industries: ◦ Healthcare ◦ Manufacturing ◦ Tourism ◦ Retail • A vision is good, but not enough. Morgan Hill talks the talk and walks the walk. A new zoning code streamlines these key industries. The city calls it “vision with a backbone.”

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SEPTEMBER 27, 2019



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SEPTEMBER 27, 2019

New restaurant fills a vegan gap CRAFT ROOTS ALSO HAS FULL BAR MENU Erik Chalhoub

Magazine and Business Editor

Erik Chalhoub

The Beyond Burger is a plantbased patty consisting of pea protein, coconut oil and other ingredients made to not only taste like a traditional beef burger, but simulate its texture as well. It has been sweeping the world, as hamburger lovers and health-conscious eaters are seeking alternatives to meat. The Los Angeles-based producer of the burger, Beyond Meat, is estimated to be valued at $11.7 billion, only five years after it introduced the product. The Beyond Burger craze has hit Morgan Hill, yet it’s only part of a sizable menu offered by a new vegan restaurant downtown. Only five days into Craft Roots’ soft opening, the restaurant sold 200 Beyond Burgers, said J Gaich, who owns the business with his wife Nyssa and parents Nick and Ellen. “We understand that there are not thousands of vegans that live in this town,” he said. “Our whole business model is to create a menu that is super approachable and familiar.” The menu, described as a “balance between comfort and healthy,” includes a cornflake fried king oyster mushroom sandwich, kale Caesar salad and the popular buffalo cauliflower bites. Ingredients are sourced from local organic farms such as Spade and Plow and Mariquita Farm. Craft Roots, located at 17230 Monterey Road, also has a full menu of vegan cocktails and local craft beers. Gaich said the soft opening menu only scratches the surface of what Craft Roots will offer,

adding that vegan pizzas are on the way. The restaurant expects to have both a lunch and dinner menu in time for its grand opening celebration in October. “We’ve got such a long way to go,” he said. “This is a marathon. We wanted to start off small to make sure our kitchen is not overwhelmed.” Nyssa said she’s noticed an increase in vegetarian options at Morgan Hill restaurants, but vegan items—those that don’t contain animal products such as dairy and eggs—are extremely limited. Craft Roots helps fill that gap, she said. “I wanted to make sure there were no questions for people with our lifestyle,” she said. “I wanted them to come in and feel free to order anything off the menu without concern of cross-contamination.” The couple, who said they instill healthy eating habits in their two young children, hit their two-year all-vegan diet anniversary in July. Nyssa said the decision to become vegan came abruptly one night after “falling into the wormhole” of YouTube documentaries on unhealthy processed foods. “We looked at each other and said, ‘you want to do this?’” she recalled. “He jumps up and he’s like, ‘Uhh, I guess.’ The very next morning we dumped our entire fridge out. “It was a big learning experience, and we’ve never looked back.” J said the response to Craft Roots has been “overwhelming.” “We understand that the word ‘vegan’ can be off-putting,” he said. “We wanted to break those molds and show people that with a little bit of creativity, we can make this menu super relatable.” J added he has been in the restaurant industry since a

NEW SPOT Nicholas Mattson (left) heads up the bar as Craft Roots opened for the dinner rush on a recent afternoon. young age, when he worked as a busboy at Chevys in Gilroy. He worked as the general manager at Trail Dust Barbeque for eight years before pursuing restaurant ownership. He praised everyone who helped get Craft Roots off the ground, including chef Jeremy Nelson, who is training chef Rick Rodriguez on the vegan menu, as well as bar manager Nicholas Mattson and the staff of 24. “We really struck gold with our staff,” he said. “They are working for more than just a paycheck, it’s something they believe in. To have it here in Morgan Hill means a lot for us.” For information, visit

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A GREAT PLACE TO EAT Morgan Hill’s vibrant and historic downtown offers charming boutiques, interesting public art (like the infamous 10x10 tarantula), a year-round farmers’ market and special events and festivals that attract over 250,000 visitors each year. Popular events such as the Mushroom Mardi Gras, Morgan Hill Blues Festival, the Fourth of July Parade, Friday Night Music Series and the Taste of Morgan Hill are family favorites. You can take part in your choice of art walks, brew crawls and wine strolls, or attend live theatre and dinner shows throughout the year. In just the span of a few blocks, Downtown Morgan Hill offers more than 30 unique dining options and watering holes, from a local-favorite Bánh mì stand to upscale restaurants such as the famed Ladera Grill, winner of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence four years in a row.


SEPTEMBER 27, 2019






SEPTEMBER 27, 2019

Family offers goat landscaping GREEN GOAT LANDSCAPERS OWNED BY ALLEN FAMILY Michael Moore Editor

Michael Moore

Office parks, shopping centers, industrial buildings and residential subdivisions have long taken over most of the crop fields and orchards that once claimed the identity of what is now Silicon Valley. Business professionals and tech executives that own the region’s spacious backyards and fence lines have to keep weeds, brush and other fuel for forest fires cut back, which makes way for a new kind of agriculture: landscaping goats. Local company Green Goat Landscapers, owned and operated by the Allen family of Morgan Hill, started to carve out its niche in the goat landscaping industry about seven years ago, according to co-owner Daniel Allen. Individual property owners hire the company to transport a portion of their goatherd to a site for several days at a time to eat unwanted, potentially hazardous brush. “A lot of the stuff we do, you can’t get a tractor on, because it’s steep terrain,” Allen said. “The east hills from Morgan Hill to Gilroy have really loose rock and soil. On the west side (of the valley), you have debris from oaks that falls on the ground and is hard to work on (with machinery).” Goats thrive on such terrain. Santa Clara County requires all property owners to maintain a vegetation-free buffer around their properties for wildfire safety and protection. That’s where the majority of Green Goat Landscapers’

NATURE’S LANDSCAPERS Green Goat Landscapers co-owner Daniel Allen pets one of the biggest animals

in his family’s 240-goat herd at his ranch in south San Jose.

business comes from, Daniel Allen explained. In fact, the county and Santa Clara Valley Water District have hired Green Goat Landscapers to clear properties owned by the public agencies, Allen said. Many of Green Goat’s clients own a home on five acres or less. Allen added that the increasing danger and destruction from wildfires in California in recent years has more closely tied hazardous conditions to insurance. “It’s a community issue: From Los Gatos to Los Altos, (homeowners) are struggling to get homeowners insurance for multi-million dollar homes,” Allen said.

The goats can mitigate such hazards by clearing an acre of brush every two days. The county requires flammable brush to be cut down to four to six inches high, and the goats easily meet that minimum by chewing 80 percent of all palatable vegetation down to a height of two inches or less, Allen said. Green Goat Landscapers— which owns about 240 goats that are headquartered on the company’s south San Jose ranch—has more business than they can keep up with. “We got four calls today, and the earliest I can get to them is October,” Allen said one afternoon in early September.

The advantages of using goats instead of mowers or tractors for clearing brush are manyfold, Allen explained. The animals are cleaner and safer than chemical pesticides, as they sterilize the vegetation as they digest it; landscaping machinery is likely to destroy or scare off any other wildlife that is native to the area; and they preserve a bucolic charm that is often forgotten in the hustle-bustle that has engulfed the region. “Even though it’s Silicon Valley, there’s a ton of people who want to see goats and animals, and have them around,” Allen said. Daniel’s father, Brian Allen, a retired Santa Clara police officer,

started Green Goat Landscapers with a friend as a hobby. That was several years after Daniel and his sister grew up in the family home on Hill Road in Morgan Hill, and graduated from Live Oak High School. Daniel, now 32, was working in the high-tech industry at the time his father founded Green Goat Landscapers, and helped his father on the weekends when the company started out. Now, Daniel Allen works fulltime managing the company’s herd, and glows with enthusiasm as he shows off the quiet peacefulness of their San Jose ranch. “I would never go back,” he said.

An enchanting 51st season!

Cinderella Steel Magnolias Rock of Ages Cabaret Beauty and the Beast

Denee Lewis in

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike 2017


SEPTEMBER 27, 2019






SEPTEMBER 27, 2019

WHY MANUFACTURERS CHOOSE MORGAN HILL Morgan Hill says it offers “more space at lower cost than anywhere else in Silicon Valley.” These companies call Morgan Hill home: Specialized Bicycle Components, Anritsu, Wolfspeed, Volanti Displays, Toray Advanced Composites, Sakata Seeds and Velodyne Morgan Hill industrial facts:

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• 6.5 million square feet of Industrial and R&D innovation space • 390 acres of commercial and industrial zoned vacant land available • Top manufacturing niches include sports/ recreation, electronic components and food manufacturing • Over 19 percent of all jobs in Morgan Hill are associated with advanced manufacturing

CONSTRUCTION BOOM New housing construction like The Gables project shown here,

accounts for some of the new job growth in Morgan Hill.

City plans for continued job growth EXPANSION AND NEW SITE BOOST OPTIMISM Jaqueline McCool Reporter

intersection of Cochrane Road and De Paul Drive. An environmental impact report is currently being prepared for the project. Trammell Crow is a division of CBRE, the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm. The Dallasbased developer currently has $9 billion worth of projects under way, according to company publications. CBRE is nearing completion of a 815,000-squarefoot logistics and fulfillment center in Fremont, which it says is the Bay Area’s largest single industrial building. Three commercial or industrial lots and one administrative or retail lot comprise the developer's

proposal in Morgan Hill, according to conceptual site plan documents provided to the Times by city staff. The total square footage of the proposed project would be 1.2 million square feet. No tenant or occupant for the property has been identified publicly. The developer has not yet submitted a completed application for the project to the city planning office as of press time. After an application is submitted, the project will seek approval from the planning commission and city council. The development has the opportunity to bring a major company to Morgan Hill, where the largest employer, according to the chamber of commerce, is


With many Morgan Hill residents traveling 40 miles north each morning to Silicon Valley for work, city staff and council have continued to look for ways to bring more jobs to the city. Shoe Palace, one of Morgan Hill’s biggest employers, has had a site expansion in the works for years, submitting all environmental documents in 2018. Mayor Richard Constantine singled out Shoe Palace as an example of a Morgan Hill business that is choosing to grow in the city.

The expansion will grow the site with a 503,400-square-foot warehouse, office and distribution facility. “The new facility would employ 100 additional employees, for a total of 300 employees and would increase truck deliveries from five to eight per day,” the initial study said. By adding additional warehouse and distribution space the company hopes to increase delivery trucks from a maximum of five times a day to a maximum of eight times a day. Another potential boon for business in Morgan Hill is a potentially massive Tramell Crow development project to be located adjacent to De Paul Health Center, just off the

RETAIL TOP EMPLOYER Chart shows makeup of workforce. currently the Morgan Hill Unified School District. Recent census data says there are only 2,645 people

living and working in Morgan Hill, and 16,850 residents live here but work outside the city.


SEPTEMBER 27, 2019



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SEPTEMBER 27, 2019

‘New’ city middle school takes shape CONSTRUCTION WORK CONTINUES THIS FALL Staff Report

The new two-story Britton Middle School building opened for students in August. The modernization of the Britton Middle School campus continued this fall, with the demolition of the older buildings on the Monterey Road campus making way for staff parking and a dropoff/pickup zone for parents. The old auditorium at Monterey Road and West Central

Avenue (where bingo is held) received a fresh coat of multicolored paint to match the new building. Nanette Donohue, in her second year as Britton’s principal, was excited to build off the momentum of the last school term. “Being the site leader at Britton this past year has been such a privilege. I’m honored to work with a group of teachers and staff who care so deeply for our students and community,” Donohue said. “Over the past year, the focus on academics and socialemotional success has made a huge positive impact on Britton’s culture. Students and staff

are engaged, challenged, happy and continue to show leadership in so many ways.” The two new two-story buildings completed this summer were part of the $50 million Britton Middle School Modernization Project. Each building has two floors with six classrooms per floor and attached ancillary spaces. “Our English, math and history classes are in the new buildings, and we are so very excited,” Donohue said. “These new buildings serve as a visual representation of the quality work going on at Britton. The new space reflects who we are and the pride we take in our school.”

The 22-acre middle school campus, which was originally built as Live Oak High School in 1940, sits on the northwestern edge of downtown Morgan Hill, along Monterey Road and Hale Avenue between Central Avenue and Keystone Road. Construction of a new science building has begun and it is expected to be ready for the 202021 school year, according to staff. A new administration building and student union will follow. The nearly $50 million modernization project is funded through the voter-approved $198 million Measure G capital improvements bond, which has resulted in modernization

upgrades at each of the district’s 13 school sites. “We are grateful for Morgan Hill’s support in funding this important project and ensuring that we meet the academic and social-emotional needs of each of our students every day in the finest environment possible,” Donohue said. “Our staff will continue to ensure the socialemotional success of every student by adding a weekly advisory period to our schedule. ...Additionally, next year Britton is adding more academic support classes to ensure that every child leaves Britton ready for high school and on track to be college and career ready.”

Gavilan marks 100 years

Open House October 20, 11:00 am

• CAIS & WASC accredited • Nonsectarian, independent, nonprofit school • 375-acre campus among a redwood forest and hilltop meadows • Bus transportation

408-847-2717 |

Tarmo Hannula

Hundreds of Gavilan College students, faculty and supporters, past and present, gathered at the college’s Gilroy campus in September to celebrate its 100th anniversary. Guests of the sold-out gala took a nostalgic stroll down Sycamore Lane, where stations were themed to each decade featuring food, wine, music and more. The gala kicked off a year of events that will be themed to Gavilan’s centennial celebration. Voters in San Benito and Santa Clara County last November approved Bond Measure X for Gavilan College with 57 percent of the districtwide vote. This authorized the community college district to issue up to $248 million in bonds at an estimated tax rate of $0.02 per $1000 in assessed property value to fund facility construction and upgrades. Fifty-five percent of the vote, districtwide, was needed to pass. The vote totals were: San Benito County, 51.3 percent Yes; Santa Clara County, 59.9 percent Yes.


SEPTEMBER 27, 2019






SEPTEMBER 27, 2019

New nonprofit to develop tourism VISIT MORGAN HILL CONTRIBUTES TO AMGEN EVENT Erik Chalhoub

Magazine and Business Editor

Tarmo Hannula

LOOKING FOR WEB SITE? Iconic 10x10 spider sculpture in downtown Morgan Hill. “This race is definitely at the level of the type of events the Visit Morgan Hill group would want to support and attract to the community,” she said. Michael Meredith, general manager of the Hampton Inn in Morgan Hill, serves as chair of the Visit Morgan Hill board. He said the Amgen event increased demand for hotel stays in Morgan Hill. “Events like this bring what I call ‘tourism street cred’ to our community and creates an exposure to the entire travel industry that cannot be measured in room nights alone,” he said. “While we are still getting

our legs under us, the board and the collaborations we are already beginning are really exciting,” Meredith said. “The people are out there, they want to come to Morgan Hill and they need what we offer in their lives. We just want to connect that passion to those out there that want to hear from us.” Ramirez said “the future is bright” for Visit Morgan Hill. “This community has been working so hard on this vision, and it’s finally coming together,” she said. For information, visit www.

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A recently-formed nonprofit dedicated to making Morgan Hill a tourist destination has already agreed to support its first major event. In January, the city council created the Morgan Hill Tourism Business Improvement District, which collects 1.5 percent of revenue from lodging businesses in the city. Revenue from the assessment, which went into effect on March 1, is then used to support major events in Morgan Hill, with the goal of increasing occupancy in the city’s hotels. The tourism district is managed by Visit Morgan Hill, a nonprofit which is led by a board of directors that includes hotel, government and business representatives. In August, the board hired its first executive director, Anna-Liza Anderson. The board approved a financial contribution to the 2018 and 2019 Amgen Tour of California, which has raced through Morgan Hill the last two years, as well as a contract with the city at its April 29 meeting. The council approved the contract May 15. Per the agreement, Visit Morgan Hill will contribute $27,500 for the 2018 Amgen, and another $27,500 for the May 14 race. It also agreed to pay $45,000 in start-up fees for the district, The payments will be made to the city over the course of a year. Morgan Hill Economic Development Director Edith Ramirez, who serves on the Visit Morgan Hill board, said events such as Amgen are what the nonprofit wants to attract.

RETAIL MARKETPLACE Morgan Hill specialty shops are tourism draw.

SEPTEMBER 27, 2019



Center offers up compassion PEOPLE WITHOUT HOMES FIND AID Jaqueline McCool Reporter

Tarmo Hannula

Nine years ago Jan Bernstein Chargin got involved with a group of concerned community members who wanted to help the people in the South County who didn’t have a home. Chargin was a facilitator for the South County Homeless Task Force when the group was approached by a businessman, Jim Currier, who offered to give his warehouse up as a shelter for the homeless rent-free for five years. In the midst of the recession the group could not find an existing non-profit to get involved, so they formed their own and in May 2011 the Compassion Center was born. Now the Compassion Center is the leading advocate for people who are homeless in the South County area. The nonprofit runs a series of programs throughout the South County and has turned the warehouse into a day center that offers food, clothing, bathrooms, personal hygiene supplies, shower and laundry, weekly medical visits, a women’s support group, and case management. This past year the center served as the gathering spot for volunteers on the county’s homeless census. The report found the number of people who were homeless was on the rise throughout the county. For Chargin, this wasn’t a surprise. The group has made a significant impact on the people who are homeless throughout the South County and Chargin has been at the forefront of the work as a former board

HOUSING IS KEY Construction of new housing, like these Las Colinas Homes in Morgan Hill, can free up affordable housing opportunities. chair and acting executive director; now she serves as vice chair since December 2018. “Before the Compassion Center opened, we met with people who were homeless and asked them what they needed. One of the key answers that came back was that services were too scattered—there was no single place to go to get all of the information and to find out what to do to get help,” Chargin said in an interview.. Whether it’s a meeting of Valley Water or a local city council, Chargin can be found making a statement to those on the dais— explaining how each decision

will impact the people who are homeless in the area. “What is most gratifying is that many of our clients are no longer homeless. It is wonderful to run into formerly homeless people in the supermarket, or in the community, and see how their lives have changed,” said Chargin. “What is frustrating is that the process can take so long, and there just aren't enough affordable housing units, or options for people with the lowest incomes.” Aside from the day center, the Compassion Center offers six other services: The Almost Home Camping program,

Upcoming Events

Project Homeless Connect, Saturday Supper, Compassion Center creek team, art classes, and a safe parking pilot program. As housing rates in California continue to rise and city after city deal with a lack of affordable housing options, Chargin had advice for citizens in those communities that are seeking ways to help people who are homeless. “Encourage concerned citizens to come together to do something,” said Chargin. “There are so many needs, but by each one of us doing a small part we create change. I think every city should have a Day Center so that people can meet their basic

Jan Bernstein Chargin needs and maintain their connection to the larger community during the time they are looking for housing.”


• Saturday, October 19, 2019 Halloween Beer Crawl

• Sunday, November 3, 2019 Dia de los Muertos

• Saturday, December 7, 2019 Holiday Parade & Tree Lighting

• Saturday, February 8, 2020 A Bubbly & Chocolate Lovers’ Affair

• Friday, February 14, 2020 Gilroy Downtown is for Lovers!

• Saturday, April 4, 2020 Wine Stroll

• April 2020 National Garlic Month

• Saturday, April 25, 2020 South County Health Fair

• Saturday, May 16, 2020 Spring Craft & Vendor Fair

• Thursdays, June to August

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• Saturday, September 12, 2020 PORCHFEST Gilroy

• Saturday, September 19, 2020 Fall Craft & Vendor Fair

• Saturday, October 17, 2020 Halloween Beer Crawl

• Saturday, December 5, 2020 Holiday Parade & Tree Lighting

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