Former Santa Clara Mayor Gary Gillmor Trying to Develop 2,050 Acres Outside Gilroy—Again

Former Santa Clara mayor and influential developer Gary Gillmor is yet again trying his luck to develop “endless possibilities” along a mammoth swath of land he owns in the Santa Cruz Mountain foothills.

After purchasing the 2,050-acre Lucky Day Ranch above the city of Gilroy's northwestern boundary in the 1970s, Gillmor has unsuccessfully attempted to annex and build on the bucolic hills and former farmland for four decades.

The land is now up for sale—for an unknown price tag. According to the Ranch’s website registered Aug. 12, Gillmor's vision has transformed from building multimillion-dollar estate homes into a complex combining affordable, middle-class housing, government employee and senior housing.

He hopes to “provide an answer to the critical housing shortages we are facing in the Bay Area” on the property he owns in partnership with his children—including Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor—and some 200 investors.

In 2016, 67% of Gilroy voters passed Measure H, designating an Urban Growth Boundary around the community to stop sprawl and preserve the surrounding rural, open spaces—a line incorporated into the city’s 2040 General Plan. Amendments can only be approved by a vote of the people, but that doesn't apply to affordable housing, sustainable jobs and public works projects.

However, it's an open secret that Gillmor's family, employees and investment partners have often donated generous campaign contributions to politicians—totaling thousands of dollars in Gilroy alone—before reaping suspiciously serendipitous economic rewards.

Will this be the year Gillmor gets lucky enough to call Lucky Day Ranch's freshwater marshes, seasonal wetlands and freshwater ponds home?

The Fly is the valley’s longest running political column, written by Metro Silicon Valley staff, to provide a behind-the-scenes look at local politics. Fly accepts anonymous tips.


  1. Of course! This is a ranch. No mere housing tracts of amerikanskaya khrushchyovka will do in this case. It was meant for, in 1980s lingo, “yuppie ranchettes.” Tech types with more money could live there, or buy multiple sites to form larger estates, maybe dabble in rich people’s California McWineries, etc.

    What now? These days, detached homes with a full 1000 millimeters between each of them, wow!, could find their way there (Mini-Newhall Ranch Lite) even those apartment blocks.

    If nothing else, withholding Coyote Valley (at least for now) from development redirects developer and buyer interest southward as well as northward toward downtown and other sites in San Jose proper.

  2. Politicians like Matt Mahan who limit opportunities to build housing on land already zoned for housing are forcing us towards this future of abandoning our greenbelt and using sprawl to meet our housing needs.

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