March 12, 2020

Policy Rundown – March 12th, 2020


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

County Approves Latest Round of Measure A Funding

On March 10th, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the 5th Cohort of Measure A affordable housing developments for financing. The seven developments will fund the development of 865 new affordable homes in San José, Mountain View, and Santa Clara, including 399 new units of permanent supportive housing for members of our community experiencing homelessness, as well as 27 new rapid re-housing units. We’re especially excited that Mountain View will be getting its first Measure A development, the La Avenida Apartments by Eden Housing, in the North Bayshore neighborhood. The implementation of Measure A funds remains ahead of schedule, with financing to date supporting 2,900 new affordable homes, of which 1,352 are permanent supportive housing.

Diridon Station Area Update

Next Wednesday’s Station Area Advisory Group (SAAG) meeting has been cancelled in response to County guidance on large gatherings and the coronavirus. At this meeting, the City of San José was planning to present for the first time its analysis on the potential for development in the Station Area outside of Google’s proposal. The City still plans to share this information with the SAAG and provide opportunities for public comments, possibly even next week. SV@Home will keep you updated as to the City’s contingency plans for community engagement around Diridon.

In the meantime, you can check out several articles outlining SV@Home’s own analysis of potential housing capacity in the Diridon Station Area and our goal of planning for up to 15,000 new homes. We will also be releasing a formal statement in the coming days.

San José Mobilehomes

On Tuesday, the San José City Council unanimously approved a plan to create a new “mobile home park” zoning designation to protect mobilehome residents across the city. Councilmembers Jimenez, Peralez, Esparza, and Foley co-authored a memo directing staff to work on this approach for all parks throughout the city in response to a Council item specifically addressing the status of the Mountain Springs and Westwinds mobilehome parks. With nearly 11,000 mobilehome households, this was an opportunity to set a precedent and increase protections for mobilehomes residents. The Council Chambers and designated overflow room were packed with advocates and mobilehome residents who strongly supported the proposed Council recommendations. SV@Home was proud to speak in support. We expect city staff to return to Council with updates no later than March 2021. SV@Home looks forward to continuing to support the City’s efforts to protect mobilehome residents through this initiative as well as San José’s Anti-Displacement Strategy work.

San José Commercial Linkage Fee

The campaign for a robust Commercial Linkage Fee (CLF) in San José continues, even as the timeline gets less clear. A CLF is a fee charged to developers of non-residential properties– commercial and office space– to help provide affordable housing for the new employees, many of whom won’t be able to afford the high rents in the city. SV@Home will be creating opportunities for supporters to help advocate for this new revenue source to provide funding for critically needed affordable housing.

In our last newsletter we announced that “if all goes as planned” the final vote would take place the second week of April. Things have not gone as planned.  The new date for council action is April 28thThe rescheduling appears to be due to delays in the internal processing of the Nexus and Feasibility study, which is required before the city can set a fee. We expect the study to be publicly available soon, but everything remains uncertain. There was also a planned public meeting scheduled for this month, which is likely to be cancelled due to the city’s response to the coronavirus.

Amidst the uncertainty, we do know it is going to take a broad collective of voices to ensure success, and we are planning a number of ways for everybody to get involved:

  • We will be sharing an analysis and response to the Nexus and Fee Feasibility Study soon after it is released, and will provide updates on the status of the meetings scheduled to share the study with the public.
  • We will be launching an on-line advocacy tool that allow you to share your support through statement endorsements, on-line letter writing, and a campaign to make phone calls to Council offices.
  • We will also be calling on all supporters to plan on attending and speaking up at the final vote, currently scheduled for April 28th.

We estimate these fees could generate up to $75 million a year for affordable housing in the near term. These additional resources are going to be critical as San Jose continues to grow and add new jobs.