July 1, 2021

Policy Rundown – July 1, 2021


Welcome to SV@Home’s Policy Rundown, your need-to-know overview of important housing policy actions and developments from the past two weeks.

Mountain View Advances 491 New Homes 

Last Tuesday, the Mountain View City Council advanced two housing projects endorsed by SV@Home that will bring 491 new homes to the city.

The Council voted to fund $16 million from the City’s Housing Impact Fund for Charities Housing’s 1265 Montecito Avenue 84-unit affordable housing project. The project is co-funded by the County’s Office of Supportive Housing and will offer a mix of studios, 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom, and 3-bedroom homes to families and individuals earning at or below 60% AMI.

The Council also gave its approval to Miramar Capital’s 408-unit residential project in the East Whisman Plan Area, which will include  62 deed-restricted affordable homes.

SV@Home is proud to support housing projects that make affordable living a reality in the Silicon Valley. Since its inception, the Project Endorsement program has endorsed more than 44 projects resulting in more than 9,000 homes being entitled. Roughly half of all homes endorsed and entitled are affordable.

If you have a project that makes more affordable housing a reality and you would like SV@Home’s endorsement; visit our Project Endorsement page to apply!

San José City Council Approves Berryessa BART Urban Village Plan, Rezoning Application, Vendors Achieve Negotiated Solution

On Tuesday, the San José City Council unanimously approved the Berryessa BART Urban Village Plan and an initial rezoning application from one of the largest landowners. The Plan, which envisions housing-rich, transit-oriented development at the current Silicon Valley BART extension terminus, creates the capacity for over 5,000 new homes. In keeping with the City’s Urban Village goals, the Plan targets 25% of these new homes as deed-restricted affordable. SV@Home was instrumental in working with city staff to advance a housing-rich vision for Berryessa and significantly increase the Plan’s overall housing capacity.

The related re-zoning application from one of the largest landowners in the Plan Area, the Bumb family, is a major step towards realizing the city’s vision. While we are still at an early stage of the implementation process, we are pleased that the engaged developers and landowners are already laying out a housing-rich zoning plan that would create the transit-oriented development the city desires. Additionally, the involved developers have already prioritized developing clear plans for meeting the affordable housing requirements on-site within the Urban Village for any development proposal that they bring forward. SV@Home is looking forward to continuing to collaborate with the landowners and the city to ensure that the housing and affordable housing planned for the area are able to move towards implementation and construction.

Underlying both of these decisions has been the fate of the Berryessa Flea Market and its vendors. They have been put in a difficult situation where the land use planning process has advanced without a true resolution to the Flea Market’s status. We are pleased that a negotiated solution was reached, with the vendors fighting to secure $5m to support the transition as well as a commitment to incorporating elements of the existing market into the proposed new development. We recognize that this issue will continue to be discussed and evolve over the course of the Berryessa BART Urban Village Plan’s implementation and hope that the agreement reached earlier this week will help vendors keep their businesses going.

As the coalition of supporters for Opportunity Housing continues to grow in San José, poll shows majority of registered voters in support 

This week SV@Home, as part of the San Jose Neighborhoods for All coalition, released results of a recent poll showing that a majority of registered voters support allowing duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes in neighborhoods currently restricted to single family homes. The poll results come as over two dozen major housing advocacy, environmental, and social and racial justice organizations  have signed on to the endorsement statement of the growing San Jose Neighborhoods for All campaign to expand housing opportunity through zoning reform in the City. Meanwhile, pockets of neighborhood opposition have been rallying a backlash against the idea.  SV@Home is now asking for housers to add your voices to ours, as we call on San Jose City Council to direct staff to study citywide Opportunity Housing!

So What is Opportunity Housing?

By sharing the cost of land among multiple smaller homes, Opportunity Housing can create the next generation of starter homes for middle-class families to save on rent or buy into the city they grew up in and neighborhood they love. Allowing a greater variety of housing types in our neighborhoods will create more opportunities for our children with safe, stable places to call home, improving their chance of succeeding in school, getting a job, and building their own strong families here. Opportunity Housing empowers homeowners with choices to convert their own home to a duplex, triplex, or fourplex, giving them, and generations of future owners, options for adult children, for parents to age in place, or for other families in residential neighborhoods. Older duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes already fit seamlessly in neighborhoods throughout San José (pictures here!), from the decades before we made them illegal through exclusionary zoning. 

Right now, 94% of San Jose’s residential land is zoned only for single-family housing. According to the US Census Bureau, only 50% of San Jose residents live in a single-family home. That means the remaining half of our San Jose residents are excluded from 94% of San Jose’s residential land. This exclusionary zoning continues to reinforce the unequal patterns of racial and economic separation in the city, and belongs with the other tools of 20th century housing segregation like redlining, lending discrimination, and block-busting: in our past, not our future. By legalizing duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes, Opportunity Housing can help reverse the lasting effects of exclusionary zoning, opening neighborhoods that have historically been off-limits to middle-income families.

Opportunity housing is only one tool in the toolbox we need to expand housing choices and eliminate exclusion. San Jose’s need for more homes is so great that we will need to move forward with Opportunity Housing as well as other programs, including the development of Urban Villages and the expansion of accessory dwelling units (ADUs). Now is a pivotal moment to move forward with Opportunity Housing, closing the door on historically exclusive housing policies. Opportunity Housing can both create opportunities for future generations of San Joseans to have stable, welcoming homes, and maintain a vibrant quality of life for neighborhoods.

Add your voices to ours, as we call on San Jose City Council to direct staff to study citywide Opportunity Housing!