The Shoe Palace expansion project is a 503,400 square foot Office, warehouse, and distribution facility on a 38.06-acre site. A lot line adjustment was completed to expand the project site and reduce the size of the lot where the existing Shoe Palace headquarters exists today. According to Shoe Palace, the new facility is expected to employ approximately 100 additional employees, for a total of 300 employees and would increase truck deliveries from five to eight per day.
Below are specific details related to the approval process, setback and heights, traffic, and design.
The project is located at 755 Jarvis Drive, west of US Highway 101, in the City of Morgan Hill.
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Project Plans and Specifications
Architectural Plans (PDF)
Landscape Plan (PDF)
Click here to review the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) information.
The regulations that govern development for an individual property within the City of Morgan Hill depend on whether or not a Planned Development (PD) district is in place. As indicated on the City’s zoning map, many PDs exist across the City. A PD is a mini set of zoning regulations that are adopted by City Ordinance that supersedes the City’s Municipal Code. If there is no PD, the Municipal Code (Zoning) rules apply.
If the property has a PD in place, then land use regulations are governed by the language in the documents governing the PD (City Ordinance). The PD will list uses allowed by-right, by administrative permit, by conditional permit, and also include specific development standards (height, lot coverage, parking requirements, etc.) that the development must follow. The PD zoning process allows the Planning Commission (who recommends) and City Council (who approves the PD) to customize the land use on properties governed by this type of zoning. It can also make a variety of different regulations apply to properties in the same area depending on the language in the PD.
There is a PD that covers the entire Morgan Hill Ranch Business Park that was first adopted in the 1980s. Under the PD for Morgan Hill Ranch, most development approvals are ministerial, or automatic, and are only subject to staff approval. The specific language states:
"Concurrent with each site and architectural review or use permit application for construction on the Property, [the owner] shall submit or cause to be submitted to the City the proposed plans and specifications to determine whether such proposed use is consistent with the approved Guidelines and the approved Development Plan, and City staff shall process the use, building, and other related permits for all construction, and the City staff shall have the authority to approve and shall approve all use permits and building permits for all proposed construction which is consistent with the Guidelines and the approved Development Plan . . ."
While amendments to portions of the PD have occurred over time, the area of the Morgan Hill Ranch PD where Shoe Palace is located is further complicated by the fact that in the mid-1980’s, Morgan Hill Ranch sought zoning changes to allow commercial uses within the park. After the request for commercial uses was denied by the City Council, an initiative was placed on the ballot. The citizens of Morgan Hill voted to approve the changes to the zoning (which allowed development of the shopping center that now contains Walmart and Hobby Lobby.) The initiative also referenced portions of the PD that provided for ministerial approval of permits.
Because the PD still applies to the property where Shoe Palace is located the project was entitled to administrative approval under the PD.
Setbacks and Heights
The City’s Municipal Code dictates development standards such as side yards, setbacks, and lot coverage for all projects unless the standards are included within a PD. As stated previously, the regulations in the PD supersede the City Municipal Code. Shoe Palace’s plans comply with all of these requirements.
The warehouse, office, and distribution facility are 40 feet in height, with exceptions for design features and office tower elements up to 49 feet. The PD required a minimum of a 50-foot building setback from the fence of Highway 101. The building will be setback 73 feet from the eastern property line of the project site. There is also an additional 35 feet between the project site’s eastern boundary and the Highway 101 right-of-way (pavement). A previous City press release referenced only the setback distance to the property line. To clarify, the proposed facility is setback a total of 108 feet from the eastern edge of the Highway 101 roadway. This is similar to the setbacks for all uses along the freeway. To demonstrate how the heights, setbacks, and landscaping guidelines have been applied, below is a chart indicating the heights and setbacks of other existing developments along the freeway in this area.
Assessment (all in FEET)
Shoe Palace (New)
Shoe Palace (Existing)
Property Line/Fence to edge of Highway 101 pavement (On Ramp/Off Ramp):
Google Earth (ruler tool)
Property Line/Fence to edge of building (set back)
Grade/Slope of 101 to Property
Google Earth (ruler tool)
Height of Building (Primary/Majority of the roof)
Height of Building (Highest Point)
Highest point refers to architectural features, facade, screening, elevator shaft, etc.
As part of the construction process, Shoe Palace needed to remove the berm and trees that were previously planted along the freeway facing side of the property to accommodate the addition of irrigation, water, and stormwater mitigation and treatment requirements. That berm, along with trees and landscaping, will be replaced along Highway 101.
The Traffic Analysis completed as part of the environmental review analyzed eight (8) truck trips per each peak hour. There are two peak hours in a day: a.m. peak and p.m. peak. A total of 16 peak hour truck trips per day were cleared as part of the traffic analysis supporting the environmental review. The Initial Study also accounted for the truck trips that would occur over the course of the rest of the day, as not all trips would occur during the peak hours.
It should be noted that there is not a correlation between dock doors and truck trips. The estimated number of truck trips evaluated were based on operational information supplied by the applicant, driveway counts performed by the traffic consultant, and estimated trips based on building square footage as calculated by the Institute of Traffic Engineers (ITE) Manual. The number of dock doors is not a variable or coefficient that traffic analyses utilize to measure impact.
Buildings are constructed for 50-75 years of use. Docks and doors represent operational flexibility. While docks and doors may be constructed, they may not all be used. As interior operations change, the use of certain doors may change. Most new buildings are constructed to meet the market need to provide the user flexibility over time.
There will be three separate loading docks constructed for the new expansion building: two separate loading docks on the back side (adjacent to Highway 101) and one loading dock on the front of the building facing the existing Shoe Palace building. The two loading docks in the back each have 21 dock doors, while the loading dock in the front will have 14 dock doors for a total of 56 dock doors.
City Design Guidelines
The City’s design guidelines generally have greater focus on the frontage of buildings, than the rear of buildings. Rear of buildings are generally treated with landscape screening. Morgan Hill has no design guidelines or land use regulations that protect views from the freeway. That being said, City design guidelines require screening and landscaping to rear and side yards of developments to help soften and add “green” spaces appropriately. Shoe Palace is required to construct earthen berms along areas adjacent to Highway 101 as a condition of the project. Once completed, trees and other landscaping elements that will be more extensive than the original tree/plant buffer, will be planted to assist with visual screening. At maturity it should look similar to the landscaping on Highway 101 near Cochrane (see image below).
Project Planner - Joey Dinh
Email Joey Dinh or 408-310-4671