June 20, 2019

Policy Rundown – June 20th, 2019


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

At its June 11th meeting, the San Jose City Council considered and approved the scope of the General Plan Four Year Review, which included a range of important housing proposals. One major idea came from Mayor Liccardo and Councilmembers Peralez, Jimenez, and Arenas to explore modest upzoning of single-family neighborhoods around Urban Villages. SV@Home had advocated for consideration of changes to single-family zoning in addition to several other proposals in our letter, including the critical issue of raising housing capacity in the Downtown and Diridon Station Area. We also joined with SPUR and SVLG in a joint letter to advocate on a number of key proposals, including a reassessment of the appropriate land use balance between housing and jobs city-wide. As for next steps, SV@Home is advocating that voices for affordable housing be better incorporated into the Task Force that will be reviewing the proposed changes to the General Plan going forward.

On June 18th, the Mountain View City Council unanimously approved a number of updates to the city’s Below Market Rate (BMR) Housing Program. Notably, the Council increased the inclusionary requirement for all for-sale developments to 15%, raised in lieu fees to further incentivize the production of on-site affordable units, and created additional flexibility for developers to provide affordable homes at different income levels. The Council also approved a higher inclusionary requirement for townhome and rowhome developments, specifically targeted at missing middle households. SV@Home strongly supported staff’s recommendations and is glad to see Mountain View continue to be on the leading edge of right-sizing its housing policies.

On June 18th, the Cupertino City Council held a study session on modifying its current development allocations at the Vallco site, ultimately instructing staff to remove office allocations while retaining the 389 home target for the roughly 50-acre area. This decision has no bearing on the city-approved SB35 Vallco Town Center development, which includes 2,402 new homes, of which 1,201 will be affordable. Demolition has already started at the defunct shopping mall despite an ongoing legal challenge from the organization Better Cupertino. SV@Home continues to strongly support the SB35 project and has urged the city to expedite its progress to help meet Cupertino’s affordable housing goals.

After a marathon meeting that stretched until 3:30am on June 12th, the Mountain View City Council declined to pass a blanket ban on oversized vehicles inside the city limits. Instead, the council directed city staff to create a modified ordinance that only impacts residential areas.  Earlier the same night, the council directed staff to return with an ordinance to establish safe parking for some of the RVs at city-owned parking lots and allow private lots to participate as well. Both ordinances will be heard sometime this fall. SV@Home spoke out in favor of the safe parking ordinance and in opposition to an oversized vehicle parking ban, which would only push vehicle residents to another city or onto the streets. In the long term, permanent housing opportunities are the only viable solution, but in the meantime, temporary solutions like safe parking are necessary.

On June 10th, the Palo Alto City Council voted 5-1 to instruct staff to study the creation of a safe parking program for vehicle residents based on a colleagues memo authored by Councilmembers Kou and DuBois. By a 4-2 vote, the council decided to remove proposed language considering restrictions on RV street parking or distinguishing between high and low income vehicle residents to determine safe parking access. SV@Home sent a message to the council expressing our support for safe parking while opposing blanket bans on street parking without the provision of adequate safe parking or permanent housing opportunities.