November 21, 2019

Policy Rundown – November 21, 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 as well as key upcoming items where you can get engaged.

On November 12th, the Mountain View City Council approved the scope of work for an overhaul of the City’s R3 zoning, a medium density type that covers most smaller apartments in the city. The City hired Opticos Design, a well-known proponent of missing middle housing, to study ways to incentivize the development of missing middle housing types like stacked flats while avoiding displacement of current residents. SV@Home supports the City’s goal of creating opportunities for different housing types across Mountain View and looks forward to working closely with staff and Opticos to support meaningful reforms to the City’s zoning regulations.

After several months of public outreach and staff study, the Mountain View City Council decided on November 18th to reject a staff-proposed Vision Plan for the Terra Bella neighborhood, expressing the concern there was not an adequate framework for future development. While SV@Home and other housing advocates see the area as prime for new housing development, neighbors opposed any new construction above two stories. The Council can reconsider a Specific Plan for the area at a later date, potentially as early as Spring 2020. But the denial puts the skids on proposals for new development until Fall 2020.

But even as development is now generally delayed in Terra Bella, there was one positive housing piece the Council supported. We were happy to see the Council strongly endorse a proposed partnership between Palo Alto Housing and Public Storage that would create a new 100% affordable development in the neighborhood. SV@Home looks forward to learning more about what promises to be an important opportunity to bring more affordable housing to Mountain View.

Placed on the agenda as an urgency ordinance, on November 18th the Palo Alto City Council briefly discussed the establishment of Just Cause eviction protections for renters. However, it was unable to take action because it did not have a quorum. The proposed ordinance would provide just cause protections, potentially retroactively, to bridge the gap between the passage of AB 1482, which extends just cause Statewide, and its official effective date of January 1st, 2020. The Council is expected to take up the issue again on December 2nd. SV@Home strongly supports the Council’s passage of this ordinance. See our letter here.