Welcome to our new Policy Rundown, a recap of the need-to-know policy decisions impacting housing over the past two weeks across Santa Clara County.

This regular newsletter feature will be your go-to policy recap highlighting the most important decisions made, with links to further information so you’re able to dig in to the details, supporting documents, and relevant news article links. Without further ado, here’s a quick review of major housing policy decisions and actions from the past two weeks:

The San Jose City Council made two major decisions: it approved setting aside $10 million for the acquisition and/or rehabilitation of existing apartments to create more housing, and, at the request of Councilmembers Davis and Esparza, the Council allocated a minimum of 45% of new housing funding to finance housing solutions for residents with extremely low incomes (ELI).

In San Jose, despite the opposition of Planning Department staff, the San Jose Planning Commission voted 4-2 to support a mixed-use proposal from Santa Clara University that will provide 295 new homes for faculty and staff (100% of which will be below market rate with no government subsidy) as well as what is billed as the largest Business Accelerator in the Bay Area that will serve as an incubator for growing area companies. SV@Home will be engaged as this project moves forward to the City Council in May to advocate for Council approval. We may need your help, so be on the lookout for updates!

In Mountain View, the City Council wrestled with questions of demolition and displacement, ultimately approving a proposal to replace a naturally-occurring affordable apartment building with for-sale, market-rate row homes for the third time in recent months. Many councilmembers expressed frustration with a lack of available policy tools to address similar displacement challenges and SV@Home expressed concern about the loss of naturally affordable rental housing and advocated that the Council prioritize the issue of displacement and demolition of homes at the upcoming Goal-Setting meeting. 

SV@Home was also in Mountain View to support prioritizing housing development in the Terra Bella neighborhood, which is an opportunity to create a complete neighborhood without displacing existing residents. While the Council was interested in lower density options, there was a clear expression of support for building housing in the neighborhood to address the city’s jobs-housing imbalance.

Over in Sunnyvale, the City Council moved forward with updates to Work Plan and Guiding Principles for the Moffett Park Specific Plan, which envisions a mixed-use, complete neighborhood with multifamily homes. City staff is now launching the first phase in The Work Plan, which will develop land use plans for the area and launch a comprehensive public outreach plan, and SV@Home can’t wait to stay involved!

Down in Santa Clara, the Council heard updates on two specific plans located in the City’s North areaPatrick Henry and Freedom Circle, which are targeted to become mixed-use neighborhoods with the potential to build over 10,000 new homes. SV@Home wants the city to capitalize on this moment to seek opportunities for more affordable homes at deeper levels of affordability.

Meanwhile, the Santa Clara Planning Commission discussed the city’s El Camino Real Specific Plan, including addressing the issue of how proposed height transition guidelines could affect the city’s ability to achieve its ambitious housing target. SV@Home will continue to work in coalition with local partners to ensure policies are in place to reach the maximum amount of new housing and affordable housing.

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