Last Tuesday, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to begin conversations with Stanford University to come to terms on a development agreement that would mitigate the impact the University’s planned campus expansion will have on the need for housing in nearby communities.

Over the next 17 years, under a new General Use Permit (GUP) with the County, Stanford proposes developing 2.275 million square feet of new academic space and as many as 3,150 new dorm spaces and homes for faculty and staff — expansion which will generate thousands of new jobs and workers in need of affordable housing options.  

Late last month, the Board of Supervisors passed a residential inclusionary ordinance for Stanford that would require that 16% of the homes be affordable. In addition, the Board passed an ordinance that would impost an impact fee of $68.50 per square foot for non-residential development. Together the two ordinances are projected to produce nearly $170 million for affordable housing development. 

The discussion on Tuesday focused on time frames for a negotiated agreement, the outlines of a public engagement process, and the formation of an ad hoc committee of the Board to oversee the process.  The Board agreed that the discussions should begin as soon as possible, but that no final agreement could be made until the Environmental Impact Report for the GUP, expected to be released in December, was approved.  Board members agreed to a target date for concluding negotiations of July 2019. It was also agreed that the development agreement would need to address community benefits beyond housing, and that outreach to neighboring communities and jurisdictions should be robust. Board of Supervisor President Joe Simitian and Supervisor CIndy Chavez agreed to serve on an ad hoc committee to oversee the effort going forward.

SV@Home supported the Board’s new fee ordinances, but has long advocated for a negotiated solution that addresses the need created by Stanford’s development plans, but leverages the University’s control over land and financing to build the much needed affordable housing now rather than later.

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