October 20, 2017

10-20-17 Newsletter



North Bay Fires

We have watched the daily news with dread over the past week and a half as the fast-moving fires made their way through the precious wine country counties of Napa and Sonoma, as well as nearby counties.  We are happy that the fires are now largely contained, but are saddened that whole neighborhoods have been destroyed, with more than 2,800 families losing their homes in the City of Santa Rosa alone. All of us at SV@Home want to express our deepest sympathy for the challenges faced by our neighbors to the North.  Our thoughts and hearts are with the many displaced families as they return to their neighborhoods and communities and begin the process of rebuilding.  If you are searching for a way to help, here is a useful guide.

Policy Updates

San Jose: Council Takes Action on 2018 Priorities

Near the end of a long, long meeting Tuesday, the San Jose’s City Council culled through a lengthy list of potential actions and policies and arrived at its priorities for 2018, with housing well represented on the final list.  Here are some highlights:

  • Commercial Linkage Fees—City staff will be tasked with moving forward to investigate the potential for a Commercial Linkage Fee (CLF) ordinance to provide a new funding source for affordable housing, a much needed resource if the City is going to meet the Mayor’s goal of 10,000 units in five years.  SV@Home advocated strongly for this action. A CLF is a type of impact fee that is charged on non-residential development to account for the housing demand from new employees.  The next step will be for the City to prepare a nexus study for the fee.  Find out more here.  Several other surrounding cities, including Sunnyvale and Mountain View have existing CLF ordinances.
  • North San Jose Policy Review—City staff will take steps to move forward with 4,000 new homes in North San Jose, including 2,400 affordable units in excess of the Phase 1 North San Jose building cap.  North San Jose residential development has been on hold for a number of years due to triggers the Council adopted that required that significant non-residential development move forward prior to homes.  The review will also look at retail and community benefits.
  • Update of the Downtown Zoning Code—City staff will look to revise the zoning code to eliminate parking requirements, establish height minimums, and establish minimum residential densities for residential uses. In addition, they will consider new requirements for retail and other ground floor uses.  SV@Home has advocated that retail be required only where viable, particularly given the changes in retail habits.
  • Deferred Impact Fees for Housing—City staff will consider how to reduce the up-front burden to housing developers by allowing a deferral of payment of fees, or other financing mechanisms that align fees to project revenues.

These items were not on the list for Council consideration, but remain priorities:

  • Urban Village Implementation—City staff indicated that it will return on November 14th with a draft urban village implementation framework for Council discussion and direction.  We will provide updates on this action as soon as information is available.  Additionally, City staff indicated that it will come back as part of the 2018 General Plan Annual Review to discuss realignment of urban village timelines.  SV@Home has advocated for a restructuring of the Urban Village Plans to allow those that are ready to go now to go forward.  Affordable housing already has this right and can move forward in all horizons regardless of Horizon.
  • Accessory Dwelling Units—City staff stated that it will be conducting outreach on ADUs and Garage Conversions in December and January and will be ready to bring policy alternatives forward to the Council in February.
  • Missing Middle Housing—City staff will return to the Council in 2018 with a strategy for “missing middle” housing—households earning between 60-120% of median income.

San Jose: Mayor’s Plan for Housing

San Jose City Staff indicated in a memo to the City Council as part of the Priority Setting Process that the goal of building 10,000 units will likely result in funding housing that is “less deeply affordable.”  According to the memo, depending on resources available, the Housing Department may fund developments that serve households at 50 to 60% of area median income, and not reach those at 30% of income. City staff stated that this is consistent with action taken this summer by the Council that reframes the focus of City funds to households that won’t be eligible for the lion’s share of funding coming from Measure A, the $950 million ballot measure approved by the voters last November that largely targets homeless families and individuals.

Sunnyvale City Council Expands Opportunities for ADUs

On Tuesday, October 17th, the Sunnyvale City Council took action to ease regulations on Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), voting to lower the City’s minimum lot size required to build ADUs from 8,500 square feet to 6,000 square feet in R-0 districts and 8,000 square feet in R-1 districts.  SV@Home supported the elimination of the minimum lot size requirement as a way to simplify building requirements and open up the opportunity to create ADUs to many more homeowners.  

While we are disappointed that the minimum lot size requirement remains high relative to a number of other jurisdictions — including Mountain View (which has no minimum lot size requirement), Palo Alto, and San Jose — we commend the City Council for taking a step in the right direction and opening up eligibility to approximately 70% of Sunnyvale’s single family homeowners!

SV@Home will continue advocating for policies and programs throughout Santa Clara County to encourage ADU production, including legalization programs for unpermitted non-conforming ADUs, flexible design standards, and reduction of fees associated with ADU construction.  View SV@Home’s full set of policy recommendations for ADU ordinances.    

Special thanks to Livable Sunnyvale and many others who spoke out at the meeting in support of ADUs!

San Jose Rental Inclusionary Ordinance Returns in 2018, Thanks to AB 1505

As we mentioned in our last newsletter, AB 1505 has shaken up how cities think about Housing Impact Fees (HIFs).  AB 1505, also known as the ‘Palmer Fix, reaffirms the rights of cities and counties under their zoning authority to require that market rate rental housing developers include affordable units, known as inclusionary zoning.  Many cities adopted HIFs in recent years after the Palmer legal case halted the implementation of inclusionary zoning ordinances.

The City of San Jose plans to begin implementation of its rental inclusionary ordinance effective January 1st, the date AB 1505 is effective.  The San Jose Housing Department held an outreach meeting last Friday to educate the developer community on how this law affects the city’s Inclusionary Housing ordinance (IHO) as well as how the HIF will be phased out.  Action on both the HIF and the IHP will be taken on Tuesday, October 24th at 1:30pm (see details below).

Per the staff recommendation, whether a rental development will pay the HIF or be subject to the IHO depends on the timing of the project’s first submission to the Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Department for planning approval occurs. Prior to January 1, 2018, the project is subject to the city’s HIF; after January 1, 2018, the project will be subject to the IHO.

Additionally, the Council will consider (1) clarifying the definition of a dwelling unit, and (2) modifying the threshold size to cover from 3 to 19 units.  The Council will also come back in late 2017 to establish the inclusionary rental in lieu fee.

The IHO for for sale development has been in force since July 1st of 2016.  The IHO requires a 15% inclusionary obligation at 120% Area Median Income (AMI).  For rental development, the IHO will require that 9% of the units be affordable to those earning less than 80% AMI and 6% Very Low (50% AMI and below) if the units are built on site. For units built off-site, the inclusionary obligation for both for-sale and rental housing increases to 120% AMI. The in-lieu fee option under the IHP is $153,426 for for-sale developments and an estimated $158,343 for rental units.

The Housing Department will conduct a community outreach meeting on Friday, November 15th. For more information, please contact amy.chan@sanjoseca.gov or (408) 975-4489.


SV@Home is hiring a new Communications Manager!

Are you passionate about affordable housing and reaching those who aren’t taking part in the conversation? This is the position for you! We are hiring a Communications Manager who will oversee a program to: (1) create a strong identity for SV@Home, (2) build a strong membership base, and (3) redefine the dialogue about affordable housing in the Silicon Valley.

You can view the full job description on our website here.

Become a Member!

Join our movement for #HousingForAll and become one of over 200 organizations and individuals who have joined SV@Home! When our voices are united, we are stronger, better, and more effective. Help us continue to increase affordable housing in the Silicon Valley by becoming a new member or renewing your annual membership today!

Sign up online or mail us this form. Affordable rates are available – just ask! For any questions, email membership@siliconvalleyathome.org.

Upcoming Public Meetings

Check our website’s Events Calendar for more details about each of these meetings and other upcoming events!

San Jose City Council – Potential Modifications to the Affordable Housing Impact Fee and Inclusionary Housing Program

Tuesday, October 24, 1:30 pm (Regular Session)
San Jose City Hall – City Council Chambers
200 East Santa Clara Street, San Jose

With the adoption of AB 1505, which reinstates the authority for localities to enforce inclusionary housing requirements for rental housing development, the City of San Jose will discuss its rental inclusionary housing requirements, which are set to be reinstated on January 1, 2018.  Additionally, the Council will consider modifications to the Affordable Housing Impact Fee policy, which will continue to apply to rental housing developments through 2017.  Read the staff report.

Los Altos City Council – Citizen Proposal for Amendments to Inclusionary Housing Ordinance

Tuesday, October 24, 7:00 pm
Los Altos City Hall
One North San Antonio Road, Los Altos

In response to a citizen request, the Los Altos City Council will discuss its existing inclusionary housing ordinance and citizen recommendations to increase density in certain zones and propose an in-lieu fee option as an alternative to inclusionary housing requirements.   Read the Citizen Proposal.

Santa Clara City Council – Affordable Housing Requirements Update

Date & Time TBD
Santa Clara City Hall
1500 Warburton Avenue, Santa Clara

As a follow up from the July Council discussion regarding the recommendations put forward by the City’s Affordable Housing Requirements Update Working Group, the City Council will revisit potential changes to its existing inclusionary housing policy as well as the adoption of new affordable housing impact fees for both residential and non-residential development. The Council  will discuss a draft ordinance proposed by staff, as well as several new policy questions that have arisen with the passage of AB 1505.  (see our Housing Brief, “AB 1505 – What now for impact fees?” for more information).  Check SV@Home’s events calendar for updates related to this item and a link to the meeting agenda once it is available.

San Jose City Council – Urban Village Financing

Tuesday, November 14, Time TBD
San Jose City Hall
200 East Santa Clara Street, San Jose

Back in June, City staff presented a plan to the City Council that laid out a plan for financing Urban Village infrastructure. After receiving feedback from Council, developers, and other stakeholders including SV@Home, staff has made changes to its proposal and will present the revised plan to the City Council.  It is critical that the financing plan framework be completed so that development can proceed in Urban Villages.  

Mountain View City Council – North Bayshore Precise Plan Final Adoption

Tuesday, December 12th, 6:30 pm
Mountain View City Hall
500 Castro Street, Mountain View

With a successful study session on September 26th, there is now just one step left in getting the City Council to officially say yes to housing in North Bayshore.  We hope you will plan to join us to #SayYesNBS for complete neighborhoods, 2,000 new affordable homes, and a 30% increase in Mountain View’s housing stock!  Take action by signing our coalition letter.  

SV@Home Events

Happy Housers November 9th!

Thursday, November 9th, 5:30-7:00 PM
Location TBD

SV@Home’s Happy Housers events provide an opportunity for people from all corners of the housing world to meet and exchange ideas. Join us for drinks and conversation with fellow housers, advocates, and policymakers! The location and special guest will be announced shortly.

SV@Home Member Holiday Party – December 13th

Wednesday, December 13th from 5:30-8 PM
Silicon Valley Capital Club
50 West San Fernando St, San Jose

Join us for our annual holiday party on Wednesday, December 13th at the Silicon Valley Capital Club!  This is a great opportunity to meet and mingle with others determined to make housing affordable throughout Silicon Valley. You can register here.

Note: This event is for SV@Home members only, so make sure to become a member before you RSVP. If you are not sure whether or not you are a member, please email gina@siliconvalleyathome.org.

Not a member yet? Sign up now to become a 2017 member and attend the rest of our 2016 events, including the holiday party, for free! Click here for more information on becoming an SV@Home member and click here for the membership form.

We hope to see you on December 13th!

Partner Events

The Developers: Tales of Politics, Intrigue, and High Finance

Saturday, October 21st, 2-4pm
Fairbrae Swim Club
696 Sheraton Ave, Sunnyvale CA
Hosted by Livable Sunnyvale

Join SV@Home members as they pull back the curtain on the process of developing affordable multifamily housing. SV@Home board member Kelly Snider will moderate, and SV@Home members Charities Housing and ROEM will take part in the panel discussion. Read more about the event here.

SparQ Groundbreaking Ceremony

Wednesday, October 25, 9-11am
South side of East Reed between 1st & 2nd Street
Hosted by The CORE Companies

Please join SV@Home member CORE in celebrating the start of its new ground breaking project – Sparq. Sparq is a 105 unit complex in Downtown San Jose’s lively SoFA District. Morning refreshments will be served while the team gives a quick introduction into this beautiful new building.

9 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. – Check-in & Refreshments
9:45 a.m. – 11 a.m. – Ceremony
Ceremony is across the street from the project site on the south side of East Reed between 1st & 2nd Street.

Cal-ALFHA Conference

Thursday, November 2nd
Capitol Plaza Holiday Inn
300 J Street, Sacramento, CA

The California Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies (CAL-ALHFA) will hold its 2017 annual conference on November 2nd.  Key topics include: local housing bonds and ballot initiatives, inclusionary zoning, State and Federal Legislation updates, local land use and planning initiatives, and much more. The keynote speaker will be Carol Galante of the UC Berkeley Terner Center for Housing Innovation.  Registration is available at www.calalhfa.org.

On the Table

Wednesday, November 15th,
Various locations and times

On the Table is a day of community building through conversations designed to strengthen and connect the Silicon Valley community. Join the conversation on Wednesday, Nov. 15!

On the Table SV will bring together thousands of local people to eat and talk about our region’s housing challenges — and what we can do to solve them. Your voice matters.

Sponsored by Silicon Valley Community Foundation, this one-day event will feature meal-time discussions throughout San Mateo and Santa Clara counties on Nov. 15. It’s a chance to get to know neighbors and colleagues, make new connections and inspire action.

Several organizations throughout the region are hosting On the Table events — and anyone is invited! Find an event near you here.

Contact Us

350 W Julian St. #5
San Jose, California 95110

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