One of the City Council Goals for Fiscal Year 2020-21 is to improve the quantity, diversity, and affordability of housing by providing opportunities for subsidized middle-income and ownership housing. To help implement this goal, the City is updating the R3 (Multifamily Residential) zoning district development standards to consider incorporating form-based zoning standards, incentivizing stacked-flat development, and updating the City’s Rowhouse Guidelines.
At this meeting, staff will present ideas and gather input on potential changes to R3 Zoning District development standards. Registration to view and/or provide input during the October meeting (#1) is available at https://tinyurl.com/yyhcpdkg.
The second meeting will be held November 16 from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm to review input from Community Meeting #1 and present options on changes to the Draft R3 Zoning District development standards. Registration to view and/or provide input during the November meeting (#2) is available at https://tinyurl.com/y5zrttee.
SV@Home supports the options that city staff has identified to encourage more housing to be built in R3 zones, including reducing setbacks, relaxing parking requirements, allowing additional height, and increasing allowable Floor Area Ratio (FAR). Additionally, we join other pro-housing organizations in calling for eliminating dwellings-per-acre restrictions, reducing or eliminating minimum lot sizes, and lowering impact fees.
The “sweet spot” for building affordable housing in the current market is 5-6 stories. This is the range in which buildings are most financially feasible, due to the ability to use wood frame over concrete podium construction rather than steel frame construction while still making efficient use of expensive land. Making development in the 5-6 story range possible should be a high priority, because it will greatly increase the ability to construct housing (especially affordable housing) in R3 areas.
We support these changes in concert with a continued focus on preventing displacement. We believe the city can achieve both its housing production and preservation goals by taking the steps above while also requiring 1-for-1 replacement of existing rent controlled or affordable housing in newly constructed buildings. These replacement requirements are currently required by state law SB 330, but Mountain View should add that protection to local ordinances as well, to ensure that it does not lapse when SB 330 expires in 2025.