Thanks to many years of advocacy by local grassroots organizations like the Mountain View Coalition for Sustainable Planning, Balanced Mountain View, and the League of Women Voters Los Altos-Mountain View and through engagement from hundreds of housers that signed the petition and spoke up, the Mountain View City Council gave a resounding thumbs up for #HousingForAll in North Bayshore.
In a marathon study session that ended in the early hours of Wednesday, September 27th, the City Council reaffirmed their commitment to allow up to 9,850 new homes in North Bayshore (20 percent of which would be affordable) and supported a master planning process that will allow the City to plan for development in a way that identifies necessary infrastructure needed along the way.
In a move that surprised many in the room – one that called into question the future of the anticipated 9,850 new homes – Google spokesperson Joe Van Belleghem stated at the study session that Google would not support any new residential unless the Council also agreed to up to 800,000 square feet of additional office space.
Existing jobs and housing imbalance and fit
Between 2010 and 2016, Silicon Valley communities created nearly 300,000 jobs while only permitting 48,000 housing units. This combination of exponential job growth and housing underproduction has created extreme pressure on Santa Clara County’s housing market, with severe consequences for every individual who either lives or works in the County.
Like many of its neighbors, Mountain View suffers from an unhealthy imbalance[i] between jobs and homes – having close to 3x as many jobs in the City as it does homes. Seen from a different lens – one of affordability – Mountain View also has a poor housing fit [ii] with more than 6 low-wage workers competing for each affordable home in the City.
A Balanced Approach to Adding Jobs
Assuming between 200 to 250 square feet needed for each worker, adding 800,000 square feet of office space in North Bayshore will create anywhere between 3,200 to 4,000 new jobs.
Communities striving for a “healthy balance” should plan for 1.4 jobs for each home to account for variances in household size and demographics within a City. Therefore, an additional 800,000 square feet of office space would generate a need for 2,300 to 2,800 additional homes on top of the 9,850 homes anticipated in North Bayshore.
Moving Forward with #SayYesNBS
SV@Home has long advocated for tools that improve jobs and housing balance and fit within our communities and we will continue to do so in partnership with the City of Mountain View, Google, and all the stakeholders. SV@Home’s goal is to increase the availability of affordable homes to ensure that Mountain View’s jobs and housing imbalance does not worsen.
Adoption of the North Bayshore Precise Plan (NBPP) – and accompanying affordable housing programs and policies – is anticipated on November 14th of this year. Between now and then, #ItsUpToUs to continue to demand that all parties stay the course towards adopting and implementing a NBPP that creates housing opportunity for all!
You can and should continue to be involved!
Keep informed via the #SayYesNBS Campaign Page
Stay engaged – sign and share the #SayYesNBS petition!
Continue to speak out on social media and public hearings!
Got a question? Send Josh Barousse an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
[i] Jobs-housing balance is typically measured in terms of a ratio that expresses the relationship between where individuals work (the “jobs” side) and where they live (the “housing” side).
[ii] Jobs-housing fit refers to “the extent to which the character and affordability of housing units in a particular area are well matched to the quality of locally available jobs.”