Welcome to SV@Home’s Policy Rundown, your need-to-know overview of important housing policy actions and developments from the past two weeks.
SB-9: What Are Other Cities Doing?
Earlier this year the California Legislature (including every legislator in Santa Clara County) passed Senate Bill 9 (SB-9), which empowers homeowners to split their lot into two parcels, to turn their home into a duplex, or both. Cities have the opportunity to shape the implementation of this new law therefore we are watching closely and encouraging them to avoid adding undue restrictions. Housing legal advocacy organizations have already started sending warning letters to cities in Santa Clara County regarding local measures which go too far to inhibit the ability of homeowners to utilize SB-9’s provisions.
Cupertino, Los Altos Hills, and Palo Alto seem to be taking approaches designed to obstruct homeowners seeking to create new and relatively affordable homes. However, some cities are approaching SB-9 implementation with good faith efforts. Sunnyvale’s proposed policy is noteworthy for its simplicity: aligning local ordinances to comply with state law, and without adding burdensome additional design requirements or other restrictions. Gilroy also adopted a pair of relatively straightforward policies to manage and guide homeowner applications for duplexes and lot-splits. The Los Altos City Council improved upon the staff-recommended policy by reducing design requirements, such as an ill-advised mandate that two homes be attached. The City of Campbell deserves credit for its response to a letter from YIMBY Law, with city staff meeting with that organization and modifying their plans to better align with state law, and the Council passing an improved proposal.
It is not too late for cities on a path of restriction and obstruction to follow the example of their neighbors and change course in a positive direction. On the other hand, for cities that are heading the right way, it is still possible to take a wrong turn. In the new year, we’ll share more of our analysis of how each city in Santa Clara County is managing SB-9 implementation. In the meantime, we encourage you to talk to your local elected officials to share your thoughts.
Google’s North Bayshore Master Plan at Mountain View City Council
On Tuesday, Mountain View held a study session on Google’s North Bayshore Master Plan, which will implement a large majority of the City’s Precise Plan for the area with major steps towards the 9,850 new home goal. Google’s proposal includes 7,000 new homes, 20% of which will be affordable through a combination of dedicated land for standalone affordable housing and some onsite inclusionary in market rate developments. We are very excited that Google’s residential proposals are well integrated into a new neighborhood with new parks, ecological improvements, bike-ped infrastructure, and new commercial spaces.
Overall, we strongly support the Council moving forward with Google’s Master Plan. SV@Home appreciates Google’s efforts to front-load housing in their earliest construction phases, with the potential for 2,912 new homes in the first two phases alone. We also support Google’s requests for development streamlining, which will help get this housing moving. Our main request from the City of Mountain View is to prepare an Affordable Housing Implementation Plan to help the City move quickly to process and fund the 100% affordable developments on dedicated land.
Councilmembers were generally supportive of Google’s proposal and were especially excited to get the affordable housing developments moving. The next step will be a formal Council hearing to consider actually approving the proposal. SV@Home is looking forward to continuing to work with the City of Mountain View, Google, and local advocates to support the implementation of Mountain View’s groundbreaking North Bayshore Precise Plan!
Eden Housing Breaks Ground on Auzerias Apartments Next to Diridon Station
Last Wednesday, Eden Housing broke ground on its 130-unit affordable housing project in the Diridon Station Area. SV@Home joined Eden along with city and county officials, housing advocates, and community members to celebrate.
SV@Home is excited about the 425 Auzerais Apartment project because it is well located, just a half mile from Diridon Station, and surrounded by amenities. Residents will benefit from quality affordable housing that offers on-site health amenities such as a fitness area, community garden, fitness and yoga studio, and bicycle storage for a vibrant resource-rich living experience. The project will reserve half of its units for permanent supportive housing supported by Section 8 project-based vouchers and supportive services provided by the County’s Office of Supportive Housing to help address homelessness in the city. The remaining units will be deed-restricted, available to households earning 50-60% AMI.
Congratulations Eden Housing! The project is a major milestone for affordable housing in the Diridon Station area and a model that will pave the way for an affordable vibrant way of life in an upcoming area. SV@Home looks forward to revisiting the project for the grand opening in a couple of years!