2040 General Plan Land Use Map

Gilroy 2040 General Plan Land Use Map

The 2040 Land Use Map shows, through color coding, the land use designation of all properties within the City of Gilroy based on the Gilroy 2040 General Plan. The land uses are represented using designations – districts that specify the type and intensity of allowed land uses. The boundary lines between land use designations are delineated as specifically as possible, in most cases following parcel lines.

Land Use Designations: The Land Use Diagram presents five general categories of land uses: residential, mixed use, commercial, industrial, and “other” (e.g., parks and recreation, agriculture). The land use designations that appear on the diagram are described below. The definitions include the allowed use, density, and intensity.



This designation is generally applied to developable hillside areas with slopes of 10 percent to 30 percent. Developments in these areas must follow special design and siting criteria to preserve the sensitive hillside environment together with the views and vistas of surrounding hillsides, hilltops, and ridgelines, as specified in the Residential Hillside Zoning District regulations and in the City’s adopted Hillside Development Guidelines. The Hillside Residential designation promotes a rural environment where typical urban infrastructure (e.g., street lights) is not typically provided.

Density: <1-4 dwelling units per net acre, in accordance with the slope density formula set forth in the Residential Hillside Zoning District Zoning Ordinance.


This is the most common residential land use designation in Gilroy. It is applied to areas of predominantly single family detached dwellings, with typical lot sizes ranging from 5,000 square feet to 7,000 square feet. Appropriate residential uses include single family detached homes and secondary (“accessory”) dwelling units that comply with City standards. Other compatible uses include religious facilities, day care and group care facilities, schools, and parks.

Density: 3-8 dwelling units per net acre


This designation is intended primarily for multi-family attached structures (townhomes, condominiums, apartment buildings). Single family detached dwellings and two-family dwellings are only allowed if the project is consistent with other General Plan goals and policies, the Zoning Ordinance and other development policies and standards, with or without secondary units. Buildings are typically two to three stories tall. This designation is typically applied to transition areas between lower-density neighborhoods and higher-density developments or commercial areas. It is usually located on or near arterials or collector streets and in close proximity to neighborhood facilities such as a school or park. Compatible non-residential uses include religious facilities, day care and group care facilities, schools, and parks.

Density: 8-20 dwelling units per net acre


This designation allows higher-density attached housing types (apartments and condominiums), often within walking distance of commercial areas. The predominant housing type is multi-family dwellings, such as apartments or condominiums, with buildings typically comprising two or more stories. High-density developments are usually located along major transportation corridors, in close proximity to commercial areas, transit stops, schools, and parks. Compatible non-residential uses include religious facilities, day care and group care facilities, schools, and parks. When consistent with other General Plan policies, some commercial uses may be combined with high-density residential if minimum densities are maintained. There is no maximum density specified for High Density Residential. The density of individual projects will be determined by other General Plan goals and policies, the Zoning Ordinance, and other development policies and standards.

Density: 20+ dwelling units per net acre


The purpose of these designations is to encourage compact, complete, neighborhood-style development. Traditional single-family uses will comprise a substantial portion of these districts. Commercial and medium- to high-density residential uses should be clustered to form neighborhood centers. Neighborhood centers would be centrally located to be convenient to as many residents as possible. Residents can access neighborhood centers easily by walking, biking, or driving. Neighborhood-serving amenities such as schools, parks, open space, and neighborhood commercial will be integrated in the neighborhood design in a manner that provides the greatest benefit to the community. Neighborhood District High and Low may use a Neighborhood Commercial (NC) designation to designate land in neighborhood centers to encourage low-intensity commercial uses that cater directly to residents in the immediate neighborhood.

Prior to approval of annexation and other land use entitlements, a Specific Plan shall be prepared for the entire Neighborhood District area. The Specific Plan will be implemented by the Neighborhood District Zoning District and the Neighborhood District Policy, which provide further guidance on topics including phasing of development, location and mix of uses, site and architectural design, affordable housing, circulation, and open space. Neighborhood Districts High and Low have different housing density requirements, as shown in Table 2-1 below.

The Neighborhood District Low retains the density ranges from the prior General Plan. The Neighborhood District High establishes an average density to be achieved for each category. Density is calculated excluding land required for streets, parks, schools, resource protection, neighborhood commercial, or other infrastructure and/or amenities. The percentages in Table 2-1 specify the amount of residential land area to be designated for each density category. The 0-7 du/ac category is intended for single family detached dwellings with varying lot sizes. The 7-9 du/ac (average neighborhood density) category is intended for a combination of two-family and some single-family detached dwellings. The 9-16 du/ac category is intended to accommodate a combination of small-lot and attached single-family dwellings, as well as multi-family dwelling options. The 16-30du/ac category is intended to provide a variety of attached single-family and multi-family residential styles of development.




The purpose of this designation is to encourage a mix of retail, office, and high-density residential uses. Multi-story structures and more intense uses should be located at major intersections and lower-intensity uses adjacent to neighborhoods. Street-level frontage of mixed-use projects shall be developed with pedestrian-oriented, typically commercial, uses. Residential uses can be integrated on the same site with other uses in either a vertical or horizontal design. Stand-alone residential uses are not allowed. Access to reliable, frequent transit service is a key feature of this designation. The streetscape should have landscaping, lighting, public art, pedestrian amenities, and bicycle access. The residential density of a mixed-use project may be reduced if the overall form and mixed-use nature of the project are maintained, but in any case no lower than 20 du/ac.

Density: 20-30 dwelling units per net acre

FAR: 0.30 – 2.50 (applicable to commercial only)



The purpose of this designation is to allow for uses that cater to visitors to Gilroy and travelers passing through Gilroy. Examples of compatible uses include tourist attractions, commercial recreational uses, motels, hotels, restaurants, drive-through (fast food) restaurants, and gas stations. Gilroy Gardens is the largest “visitor serving” use in the city. All other Visitor-Serving Commercial areas are located in close proximity to U.S. 101 and its access ramps, where they are easily accessible by car and highly visible.

Maximum FAR: 2.0; Hotels: 4.0


The purpose of this designation is to allow for commercial uses that typically have a larger market area and a greater volume of customers (e.g., a furniture store, department store, or big box stores) than establishments in the Neighborhood Commercial category. This designation also allows uses with a mix of “commercial and industrial” characteristics and encourages a mix of uses, such as offices and hotels. These are low-intensity commercial operations with a light manufacturing or light industrial nature (e.g., glass shops, small welding shops, and plumbing shops). Also included are establishments for automobile sales and service that require large lots to house their equipment and merchandise.

Maximum FAR: 2.0; Hotels: 4.0


The purpose of the City Gateway District is to welcome visitors and residents to Gilroy through street beautification, distinctive architecture, and commercial services. Areas with this designation will be located near high traffic entrances to the city and balance the needs of drivers with the needs of other transportation modes. Parking lots and gas stations should be screened and beautified, enhanced landscaping should be incorporated to frame the view of the visitor, and new development is encouraged to locate close to the sidewalk edge to establish a strong, vibrant street frontage. New parking lots are located to the side or behind buildings. Allowed uses include retail, service, office, hotels, and other visitor serving uses.

Maximum FAR: 2.0; Hotels: 4.0


The purpose of this designation is to encourage low-intensity commercial uses that cater directly to residents in the immediate neighborhood only, rather than to the entire city. Typical uses include small retail establishments such as cafes, bakeries, small grocery stores, daycare centers, small bank branches, and cleaners. Small professional offices are also considered compatible. All structures must be sited and designed in keeping with the scale and character of the surrounding neighborhood. Ample landscaping and creative design are encouraged to create neighborhood amenities such as pedestrian and bike access, small outdoor gathering places, and small-scale neighborhood landmarks. The General Plan does not include the “Neighborhood Commercial” designation on the Land Use Diagram, as it is a use encompassed under the “Neighborhood District” designation. However, the Plan maintains the Neighborhood Commercial designation included here for potential application in specific plans and other more detailed land planning efforts.

Maximum FAR: 1.0



The purpose of this designation is to allow for low-intensity industrial developments that can locate in proximity to residential and commercial uses with a minimum of environmental conflict. Although development in these areas still must meet strict landscaping, buffering and design standards, it does not require a “campus” setting or integrated open space areas. Typical uses include office, light manufacturing operations, electronics assembly plants, and large warehouses.

Maximum FAR: 1.0


The Employment Center designation is intended to support businesses and provide a broader range of employment types and intensities. This designation is suitable for office development, light industrial, research and development, medical, and high-tech uses. In addition, large-scale commercial can also locate in this designation if consistent with other commercial and industrial General Plan goals and policies. This designation is present at two locations in the City. The fist location is easterly of U.S. 101, southerly of the U.S. 101/Monterey Street interchange. The second is west of U.S. 101, northerly of the intersection of Monterey Road and Las Animas Avenue. Due to the high visibility of these areas at the northerly and southerly “gateways” to Gilroy, light and heavy industrial uses that cannot be properly screened are discouraged. Site design will provide urban-style landscaping, with storage areas and loading bays kept out of sight.

Maximum FAR: 3.0


The purpose of the General Industrial designation is to provide areas for heavy industrial uses. Development located in these areas characteristically requires good truck and/or rail access. Examples of activities in a General Industrial area include large scale manufacturing, assembly, storage, distribution, and wholesaling.

Maximum FAR: 2.0



The purpose of this designation is to preserve rural residential, hillside, and productive agriculture land uses located outside areas planned for urban development. Much of this area has soils capable of producing a wide variety of crops or supporting grazing. Allowed uses include rural residential, grazing, active agricultural production, associated agricultural processing, sales, and support uses. Typical building types include low-intensity structures associated with farming and agricultural processing and sales. One single dwelling unit per parcel is allowed in the Rural County designation.


This designation is applied to areas where urban development is either inappropriate or undesirable. Specifically, it is intended to preserve and protect lands that are considered environmentally unsuitable for development, including natural resource areas such as the Uvas Creek and Llagas Creek corridors and the southwestern foothills and hazardous areas such as fault zones and floodways.

While some limited activities and structures may be allowed, these are subject to site-specific environmental review and must be limited in scope to ensure preservation of natural resources and protection of public health and safety. For example, there may be an opportunity to allow public access to City owned Open Space for limited activities, such as hiking and bicycling, in furtherance of City Council Resolution 2020-56, supporting Gilroy as a Recreation Destination; however such activities would be subject to review under the California Environmental Quality Act.


The purpose of this designation is to identify existing and future developed park lands, including existing and planned “linear parks” that serve both a circulation and recreation function. It is also applied to public recreation areas such as golf courses.


The purpose of this designation is to identify existing and planned future public or quasi-public facilities. Examples of public facilities include schools, City Hall, the library, police and fire stations, and utility sub-stations; examples of quasi-public facilities include Gavilan Hills Memorial Park Cemetery and Saint Louise Hospital.


The Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) applies to land within the Planning Boundary/Sphere-of-Influence that is intended for urbanization at some point in the future. The UGB indicates the extent and direction of the city's future urban expansion and capital improvements planning. Lands outside the UGB are to be preserved for rural and agricultural uses. The UGB line on the Land Use Diagram denotes the locations where planned future growth extends beyond the Urban Service Area.


The Urban Service Area (USA) is the area of land to which the City is committed to providing basic infrastructure and services for urban development. The USA: a) encourages compact and concentric urban growth and development; b) promotes fiscal responsibility, cost-effective service delivery, and the City's ability to plan for and adequately maintain urban services over time; and c) provides for an adequate land supply necessary for sustainable economic growth. Urban zoning, development approvals, and building permits will only be granted to properties within the USA. Applications for inclusion in the USA will be accepted annually and evaluated based on General Plan policies promoting infill development and efficiency in the provision of urban services. The USA is generally coterminous with the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB), except where the UGB is shown separately.


Locations of existing parks are identified on the Land Use Diagram. New parks will be needed in the future based on planned residential growth (e.g., in the Neighborhood Districts); however, no specific park site has yet been identified because the details of surrounding development have not been finalized. This symbol represents a “floating” designation and is only intended to indicate a general area within which a park site will likely be located. The specific size, location and configuration of such park sites will be finalized at the time of the acquisition of a particular parcel. 


Locations of existing schools are shown on the Land Use Diagram with the Public/Quasi Public designation. New schools will be needed in the future based on planned residential growth (e.g., in the Neighborhood Districts); however, where no specific school site has yet been identified because the details of surrounding development have not been finalized. This symbol represents a “floating” designation and is only intended to indicate a general area within which a school site will be located. The specific size, location and configuration of such school sites will be finalized through coordination with the Gilroy Unified School District and the acquisition of a particular parcel.