San Jose should move forward with plans to enact a developer fee that would pay for much-needed affordable housing, Councilman Don Rocha urges.
In a memo to the Rules and Open Government Committee, Rocha says two years of discussion and study have laid enough groundwork. It’s time, he adds, to make a decision about how to proceed.
The potential cost to developers will likely fall in the range of $17 to $28 per square foot for new rental units. It’s possible that San Jose will push the fee down in line with Mountain View, where the council OK’d a $10-a-square-foot impact fee last year.
San Jose is considering the housing fee after losing a huge chunk of affordable housing funds with the dissolution of its redevelopment agency a few years ago. A report by the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley earlier this year showed that the region lost 63 percent of its affordable housing revenue since the statewide closure of redevelopment agencies.
The loss was worsened when the city’s inclusionary housing zoning, which required developers to pay a fee for housing that lacked sub-market rate units, was challenged in court.
A coalition of business groups asked the council to delay discussions about an impact fee for a few months, to study whether the extra cost on residential construction would freeze new development.
Meanwhile, demand for affordable housing is skyrocketing because of a surge in low-wage jobs.
In a letter to the city, Law Foundation of Silicon Valley attorney James Zahradka urged the city to act quickly. An impact fee at its maximum justifiable level, he wrote, could bring 16,800 affordable rental homes to San Jose if matched by federal and state housing funds that become available when a city contributes to low-income housing development.
- Another gun buyback is set for Dec. 13. Councilman Xavier Campos will host the event at the PAL Stadium in East San Jose. Last year, Campos’ office teamed up with the San Jose Police Department and Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office to put on the first gun buyback in San Jose in more than a decade. The effort took 463 weapons off the streets.
- City critic David Wall wonders why everyone who works in the office of the Independent Police Auditor is a woman. “Is it possible that ‘gender-based discrimination’ is an operational edict at the office of the IPA?” he asks. “It’s time to recalibrate and use your ‘bullshitometers’ again.”
- A spat between San Jose and the county has tied up $50 million in funds meant to affordable housing. Legislation dissolving redevelopment agencies in 2011 created a lot of uncertainty, resulting in a dispute between the city and the county that is playing out in court. The fight will probably continue for years, Mayor Chuck Reed says in a memo, “yet both the city and the county have placed a high priority on affordable housing and homeless housing.” If both agencies agreed to spend the money on something they could agree upon, it would free up to $20 million a year for affordable housing and homeless shelters starting in January 2016, the mayor says.
WHAT: Rules and Open Government Committee meets
WHEN: 2pm Wednesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260