October 30, 2018

Mountain View: East Whisman Housing Proposals move forward


Earlier this month, the Mountain View City Council held a study session to consider the East Whisman Precise Plan. Staff was directed to continue its work to develop a Jobs-Housing partnership policy that would increase the financial feasibility of residential development and balance the timing of when new office and residential buildings come on line. In previous study sessions, the Council approved plans to allow for a higher number of homes in the Plan area, with a current proposed target of up to 5,000 new homes.

SV@Home strongly supports the staff’s innovative proposals, which create an overarching Jobs/Housing Linkage Strategy designed to incentivize the construction of new homes, including a novel Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) program. The Linkage Strategy ties housing growth to office growth to facilitate a complete neighborhood by ensuring that residential and commercial development in the East Whisman Precise Plan area proceeds at a similar pace. It also encourages partnership between residential and commercial development to improve the financial feasibility of building housing. To that end, the proposed TDR program allows residential developers to sell the square footage of demolished office or light industrial space to other developers in the planning area, providing a financial asset that would make housing development, including affordable housing development, more feasible.

We believe the city should set a high, but achievable, target for the totally amount of affordable homes built overall in East Whisman: 20% of new homes being deed-restricted affordable. The City adopted a similar policy for its groundbreaking North Bayshore Precise Plan and we believe there can be a similarly ambitious goal in East Whisman. Providing 20% of these new homes as deed-restricted affordable would help build the community by ensuring that people with diverse incomes can continue to call Mountain View home.

In November, city staff are expected to unveil a full draft precise plan for Council and public review and consideration. Stay tuned for ways to engage and advocate for 5,000 new homes at 20% affordability in Mountain View!