If you’re a teacher in Silicon Valley, you know the average salary is far from enough to afford living here. But a unique proposal going before the San Jose City Council Tuesday aims to give instructors at Santa Clara University a way to weather the affordability crisis.
The project on the agenda this week looks to put about 300 residential units in a 20,000-square-foot building on a few-acre plot off of Campbell Avenue—close to SCU, but on the San Jose side of the Santa Clara border.
Housing would be reserved for instructors and other staff members at the university, whose employment numbers have been dwindling due to the cost of living, according to the Jesuit university. In addition to SCU staff, the project would house faculty from nearby Jesuit high schools Bellarmine College Prep and Cristo Rey.
“SCU and Bellarmine are finding it more difficult to recruit and retain staff due to high housing cost and low availability of affordable options,” according to a city memo outlining the proposal.
San Jose’s housing staff last month recommended rejecting the proposal because the site would be better used for industrial use, according to the Mercury News. But the Planning Commission voted 4-2 in April against staff guidance. Right now, the Campbell Avenue site houses an environmental company with scores of employees and warehouse space.
The proposal coming up for review this week would reserve 85 percent of its housing units for below-market rate and 15 percent for very low-income housing.
Anna Han, the interim dean at SCU’s law school, said the university is exploring “various possible methods to guarantee affordability,” but admits there is no plan yet to determine which staff members are eligible for below-market-rate housing. According to Han, the project will receive no housing subsidies from the city.
- Also up for review: a proposal to rezone 9.3 acres in the Alum Rock area to accommodate a new parking lot. The site now houses the Alum Rock Transit Center, a senior housing complex and a multi-family development. Monte Vista Community Partners, LP, which owns the multi-family development, first proposed an expanded parking lot for the property in December 2017 to meet city standards for parking spaces next to developments. The proposal was originally rejected by the city, but a slightly revised proposal with the required number of parking spaces—249 according to city regulations for the amount of bedrooms on the property—is back up for consideration.
- Also on the agenda is a plan to rezone a 9.26 acre site on Fortune Drive near Lundy Place. Coined the TEC Transit Employment Center Zoning District, the proposed rezoning would turn the lot, currently surrounded by office space, into a mixed-use office building.
- A local union tried to appeal the environmental review for a demolition of a one-story office building that would clear the way for a 22-story residential tower. Staff recommends that the council deny the appeal from the Laborers International Union of North America, Local Union 270.
WHAT: City Council meets
WHEN: 1:30pm Tuesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260