HR Zone

HR Zone or Hillside Residential Zone
The Hillside Residential zone is intended to provide for orderly, harmonious development of the foothills and mountains. The HR zone provides a means to minimize the amount of disturbance of the natural terrain and encourages excellence in design principles and engineering techniques. The HR zone also provides for a variety of dwelling types where land assembly and a unified development scheme are more appropriate.

Find Zoning Requirements

Go to Chapter 29, Article IV, Division 3 of the Town Code to check the Zoning Requirements for HR Zone or Hillside Residential Zone, or you may contact the Town of Los Gatos Community Development Department. Please supply
the following information:
  • Street Address
  • Nearest Cross Street
  • Assessor's Parcel Number (APN) if available
Density Requirements
The HR zones are categorized into the following 4 density ranges:
  1. HR-1 (1 to 5 acres for each dwelling unit)
  2. HR-2½ (2½ to 10 acres for each dwelling unit)
  3. HR-5 (5 to 40 acres for each dwelling unit)
  4. HR-20 (20 to 160 acres for each dwelling unit)
Permitted Uses in HR Zones
  • Single-family dwelling (no more than 1 principle residential structure per lot)
  • Agriculture (except dairying)
  • Small family day care home
  • Residential care facility, small family home
  • ** Additional uses may be allowed if a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) is approved. Please contact the Planning Department for further information.
Subdivision Minimum Land Area
The slope-density regulation will be utilized to assist in relating the intensity of development to the steepness of terrain in order to minimize grading, removal of vegetation, runoff, erosion, geologic hazards and fire hazards. The minimum land area required for each dwelling unit in any subdivision is determined by the following slope density regulations:
  1. The average slope of land proposed to be subdivided is determined according to the following formula:
     S = 0.0023 I L
    S is the average slop in percent (ex. 40% is written 40.0).
    I is the contour interval in feet.
    L is the combined length of contour lines in feet.
    A is the gross area in acres of the parcel (not including the right-of-way of existing public roads). 
  2. The minimum land area for each dwelling unit shall not be less than the slope density as determined by the following formula:  
a = 1  
1 - 0.016S  
a = the greater of   1  or 2.5
 0.6893 - 0.011786S
a = 1  
0.24375 - 0.004375S  
a = 1  
a is the slope density. S is the average slope.

Note: When the average slope (S) is in excess of 50%, the minimum land area for each dwelling unit is as follows:
HR-1: ....................... 5 acres
HR-2½:................... 10 acres
HR-5:...................... 40 acres
HR-20:.................. 160 acres 
  1. The maximum number of dwelling units allowed in a subdivision is determined by dividing the land area by the required minimum land area for each dwelling unit and rounding down to the next whole number.
  2. In calculating the allowable number of dwelling units in any subdivision, no parcel which can be further subdivided under this section shall be included in the net land area used in determining the maximum number of dwelling units allowed. However, if the development rights beyond 1 dwelling unit for such parcel are dedicated to the Town of Los Gatos, the parcel may be included.
  3. Where any part of the land slopes more than 50%, that part may be treated separately and the number of dwelling units permissible on that part may be added to the number permissible on the rest of the land to compute the total number of allowed dwelling units.
  4. Once a map has been recorded showing a parcel of land subdivided under the rules of any of the HR zones, further subdivision of any lot or parcel included in that subdivision is restricted. The current HR formula is used in determining the number of dwelling units (and by derivation, lots) which may be obtained by further subdivision. The formula is applied to the entire parcel originally subdivided under the HR rules, regardless of whether lots in the original HR subdivision have been sold or improved.
Transactions in which 1 or more portions of the entire original parcel are reverted to acreage are not exempt from this restriction.

Note: The provisions of the above section are intended to be a continuation and not a liberalization of the rules in the "density requirements".

Other Subdivision Requirements

For more information on subdivision requirements, please contact the Engineering section of the Planning Department.

Minimum Lot Area
The minimum lot area in the HR zone is 40,000 S.F. (not to be confused with the required minimum land area for each dwelling unit for subdivisions).

Minimum Setback Requirements for Principle Building
  • Front ... 30'
  • Side ... 20'
  • Rear ... 25'
  • Street Side ... 20'
Lot Width Requirement
The minimum lot width in the HR zone is 100'.

Height Requirements

The maximum height of a principle building in the HR zone is 30' (measured from the natural or finished grade, whichever is lower and creates a lower profile, to the uppermost point of the roof edge, wall, parapet, mansard, or other point directly above that grade).

Note: The maximum height for accessory building is 15' (measured from the natural or finished grade, which ever is lower and creates a lower profile). Please contact the Planning Department for further information.

Landscaping Requirements for Scenic Roads
Landscaping is required in yards in a HR zone abutting scenic roads. Existing vegetation and land forms abutting scenic roads shall be left in a natural state unless modification is found to be necessary for a specific use. To enhance the scenic corridor, additional landscaping may be required.

Trail Requirements
When the General Plan or Hillside Specific Plan shows trails in a HR zone, the development plans shall include those provisions which are found necessary by the deciding body for the development of such trails.

Remote Area Access Requirements

Roadways and trails for vehicles can be constructed only with architecture and site approval if the deciding body makes the following findings:
  • The proposed roadway or trail is indispensable for an activity allowed in the HR zone
  • The roadway or trail will be compatible with the terrain
Other Requirements
For Development Standards, see the Hillside Development Standards and Guidelines section of this website.