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The City of San José is taking on a number of issues critical to the future of affordable housing across the City and there are still many opportunities for you to join the conversation. We want you to be educated and ready to get involved. That’s why SV@Home launched our #MoreHomes4SJ campaign, which is designed to keep you informed about these issues and learn about opportunities to engage, including on:
- Major Housing Policy decisions before the City Council that stretch into November
- The San Jose General Plan 4-Year Review process, of which SV@Home is a Task Force member
- Updates to San Jose’s Inclusionary Housing Ordinance
- The study of a Commercial Linkage Fee to raise funds for affordable housing developments
- A city-wide anti-displacement study to identify real, effective policy solutions (See Below!)
- Updates to the Diridon Station Area Plan and other Transit-Oriented Communities around new BART stations and other public transit networks
- A possible city-wide revenue measure to create additional funds for affordable housing
To learn why these issues are important and to get involved, check out the calendar of upcoming San Jose housing items below, which includes details on SV@Home’s position, how you can get engaged, and summaries of the results of previous meetings:
Cost of Development Study Session: Market Rate and Affordable – The Council will hold a broad Cost of Development Study Session for both market rate and affordable development. A number of studies commissioned by the city will show that with continued increases in land, materials, and labor costs, developers are likely to face significant challenges in getting their projects to pencil in many partd of the city given the rents they can achieve in those markets. We know that taxes, park impact fees, and inclusionary affordable housing requirements, are also significant parts of this bucket of costs. We also know that the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance is a critical component of the City’s affordable housing toolkit. The Council will consider reforms to the Inclusionary program later in the meeting (see below).
SV@Home believes that the Council should take a closer look at all costs related to development to see where adjustments can be made to reduce development costs. In no case should affordable housing be disproportionately impacted by any decisions to cut costs or requirements. We urge the council to consider actions that streamline the development process, allow residential development in more places, and allow development to move forward now without requirements for other development—commercial and retail space—to begin first. Other changes, including the timing of payment of fees should be considered. We also will urge the council to make it easier to build more affordable housing through by-right approval processes, waiving or lowering fees for affordable projects, and making more surplus and underutilized land available for affordable housing development.
Development Fee Framework: In a follow-up to the Cost of Development study session, and as a run up to the later discussion on possible reforms to the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance for affordable housing, council is expected to discuss ways of streamline the existing framework for development fees. While the focus of these discussions will likely be on making the process of calculating and paying fees more transparent and efficient, this is also an opportunity to look at ways that fee waivers and reductions can be used to support affordable housing development specifically. Consolidating fees is a good idea that could spur development by increasing certainty, saving time and money.
Inclusionary Housing Framework – IHO policy reforms: The study sessions and broader fee discussions earlier in the day will come to a head as council considers major reforms to the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance (IHO)– a central component of how we build and fund affordable housing in the city. We expect proposals to overhaul the existing program to provide greater flexibility for developers, and create additional incentives to integrate affordable units into the new developments. We also expect a difficult discussion about proposals to reduce the IHO in light of the current cost challenges facing market rate development. While we recognize that high cost of residential development is a major problem in San Jose, and if there is no construction there are no integrated affordable homes of fees for affordable development, we also know that new luxury market rate development will not address our lack of affordable housing as intended by the IHO. Council will need to find the right balance that optimizes the resources for affordable development, and looks at other cost savings that could offset the need to reduce the benefits of the IHO. This will be a difficult discussion.
Ellis Act : The Ellis Act is the part of the relatively new Tenant Protection Ordinance that creates the framework for what to do when property owners choose to redevelop apartments that are currently rent stabilized. After concerns were raised by some City Council members about the ordinance’s potential to unreasonably deter high-density, in-fill redevelopment, staff was directed to bring back potential reforms. The staff proposals under discussion are likely to propose a range of options that either incentivize development of affordable inclusionary units on-site, provide displaced households with a right to return at close to the original rents, or require much higher residential density with traditional inclusionary requirements. In return, property owners will be given more flexibility in how many of the new units will continue to have restrictions on allowable rent increases. SV@Home supports restrictions on rent increases as an important tool to protect tenants and preserve naturally affordable housing. We support strong Ellis Act policies that maximize the number of units affordable to low- and moderate-income households to enable families of all incomes to remain in our communities. When redevelopment happens, we believe the City should have a goal of replacing rent-stabilized units with income-restricted units, ideally on a one-for-one basis.
Source of Income Discrimination: Policy Rundown
Housing Crisis Workplan Update, Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Amnesty Program, Downtown High Rise Incentive – Extension of affordable housing exemption: San Jose Council Tackles Housing During Marathon Session
Anti-Displacement Study Session: Policy Rundown