On January 14th, the Palo Alto City Council voted unanimously to support the construction of Wilton Court, a 100% affordable development that includes 59 new homes. Of these homes, at least 21 will be reserved for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Palo Alto Housing will undertake the project in collaboration with Housing Choices, an organization that supports and advocates for housing for people with developmental disabilities.
Wilton Court is the first 100% affordable development to be approved in Palo Alto in seven years. The reserved homes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are especially precious given the challenges to securing the necessary resources to make this form of inclusive housing a reality.
A contingent of supporters, including local community members who have a disability themselves, came out in force to praise the development. Representatives of the Ventura Neighborhood Association also attended to support and thank Palo Alto Housing for their community engagement work and responsiveness to the area’s needs.
SV@Home is thrilled that the City of Palo Alto is off to a strong start on approving new housing in 2019. The City has set a goal of building 300 new homes annually as part of its Housing Workplan and this development is an important first step for the year.
The success of the Wilton Court development also reflects over a year of work by the City Council and staff to put in place new ordinances that incentivize the development of affordable housing throughout Palo Alto. In particular, the City is leveraging its Affordable Housing Overlay Zone, created in 2018, to improve the economic feasibility of affordable developments through incentives such as increased heights, densities, and reduced parking and retail requirements.
SV@Home looks forward to continuing to work with the City to create new opportunities to use this tool, as well as various elements of the City’s new overarching housing ordinance (some components of which remain to be passed in 2019), to meet Palo Alto’s affordable housing goals and needs.