Voters asked to rewrite zoning for more housing


SAN JOSE — Amid outcry over housing affordability in Silicon Valley, two former council members are pushing a poll measure that may permit 910 new houses on empty east San Jose land in defiance of metropolis plans setting it apart for business and jobs.

The proposal pits San Jose’s want for extra business and jobs towards its lack of reasonably priced housing, and has despatched shock waves by way of the town’s political firmament. Amongst backers is a former vice mayor who as soon as supported the town’s plans to protect the property for business.

Critics embrace Mayor Sam Liccardo, who argues the proposal would upend San Jose’s cautious planning course of whereas enriching rich builders and failing to offer housing for many who want it most.

“That is about billionaires constructing a gated group for millionaires and calling it reasonably priced housing,” Liccardo stated. “We should always not have one algorithm for billionaires who can afford to go to the poll and one other algorithm that applies to everybody else.”

The proposed “Evergreen Senior Houses Initiative” for the June 2018 poll would permit 910 new houses for consumers fifty five and older to be constructed on 200 acres of industrially zoned land on Aborn Street in japanese San Jose.

Backers say metropolis leaders’ inflexible resistance to constructing houses on industrial property has solely worsened the area’s housing disaster. The proposal requires 20 % of the brand new houses to be “reasonably priced” for these incomes not more than one hundred twenty % of the world median revenue — $128,500 a yr for a household of 4, although there’s no assure these houses can be constructed first within the 9 phases of the challenge.

“Metropolis Corridor has not delivered on one of many largest wants within the area, which is housing,” stated Marissa Currie, a supervisor at PR agency Singer Associates, Inc., and a spokeswoman for the group. “We really feel that this is a vital sufficient problem to convey to voters and there’s a requirement for reasonably priced housing.”

The plan requires prioritizing the reasonably priced housing for veterans. There can be some outside area, however no retail or business makes use of. Voters citywide would vote on the measure, not simply these dwelling within the Evergreen space.

The proposal is backed by former Vice Mayor Judy Chirco, former Councilwoman Pat Sausedo and Eddie Garcia, the previous president of the East Aspect Union Excessive Faculty District and chief to former Supervisor George Shirakawa.

Throughout her time on the council, Chirco voted to undertake a plan that strictly restricted new housing within the Evergreen space — the identical plan the poll measure would rewrite. She didn’t reply to requests for remark.

The proposed measure would permit constructing the houses by altering the town’s basic plan — which Liccardo stated was crafted with enter from four,000 residents — in addition to a selected Evergreen space plan that limits new housing. The land, owned by Carl Berg, is zoned “industrial” and proponents want to vary it to “residential” to maneuver ahead.

Currie and different supporters stated the 200 acres eyed for senior housing have been vacant for no less than 30 years.

“I’ve seen firsthand the challenges this housing disaster brings — notably the impacts on our most weak communities,” Garcia stated. “As a retired resident of the Evergreen neighborhood, the choice to help an initiative that creates alternative for our growing older neighbors to stay close to household and associates and honors our veterans was a simple one.”

However Bob Staedler, a principal at Silicon Valley Synergy, referred to as the proposal “politically tone deaf” to the group’s actual wants to deal with its workforce and homeless in addition to present jobs. He stated it should solely enrich residence builders.

“The truth that somebody needs to go in and develop 200 acres for luxurious housing — it’s simply beautiful,” Staedler stated. “It’s a brazen money seize.”

Berg is promoting the land to Ponderosa Houses, which might develop the brand new houses, based on Currie.

Currie stated the measure’s proponents polled residents and sixty four % of voters help the initiative to construct senior houses in Evergreen whereas eighty two % consider that the price of housing is “a particularly or very significant issue” dealing with the town. Twenty % are opposed.

Liccardo stated that whereas the land in query has sat vacant for a very long time, buyers have just lately checked out it, together with one who needed to construct a science park with a college six months in the past.

The initiative would require any modifications to the plan over the subsequent ten years to return out to voters — one other concern for Liccardo.

“Our arms are tied,” Liccardo stated. “That is going to be virtually 1,000 housing models that will probably be constructed out over the subsequent decade or so and there can be no alternative to pivot if all of the sudden some nice college determined they needed to construct on that land.”

Councilwoman Sylvia Arenas, who represents the district, didn’t reply to requests for remark. However former Vice Mayor Rose Herrera, who represented the Evergreen district for almost a decade, stated the town restricted housing there as a result of the world’s towards a hillside and faces critical visitors issues.

“Builders try to make a revenue, that’s their main concern,” Herrera stated. “But when it’s a nasty place for housing, it’s a nasty place for housing.”



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