San Jose City Council Set to Review Housing Investment Plan

San Jose leaders this week will hear an update on the city’s affordable housing investment plan, which aims to use $10 million to turn market-rate units into subsidized ones and reserve a third of new construction revenue for extremely low-income homes.

Though that element of the investment plan would up the number of below-market-rate units in San Jose, it would not build up the overall housing stock, officials note in a report going before the City Council Tuesday.

Mayor Sam Liccardo two years ago unveiled a plan to build 25,000 new homes by 2023, with 10,000 of them below-market-rate. Unfortunately, the reality is that San Jose continues to lag behind state-set goals of building nearly 4,000 new homes a year. In 2018, San Jose authorized enough permits to satisfy just 60 percent of that benchmark.

During that same timeframe, San Jose permitted just 62 extremely low-income homes. That is, more than 460 units behind the state-set target for that income bracket.

Meanwhile, a vote on the local Ellis Act ordinance, which may get deferred to a later date, is still scheduled for discussion on the Tuesday agenda.

The Ellis Act, a 1985 California law, allows property owners to evict residential tenants if the landlord no longer wishes to be in the renting business.

Under the Ellis Act, property owners can leave the landlord biz at any time. If they rebuild, however, they’re required to put back under rent control either half of the new units or the number of old apartments removed from the market—whichever is greater.

The mayor and a number of business-aligned allies on the council have raised concerns that the Ellis Act stifles new development. Since the ordinance went into effect in the spring of last year, “very few Ellis-relevant housing development proposals” have come through, according to a memo penned by Liccardo and Vice Mayor Chappie Jones.

Last month, in a closed session meeting about revising the Ellis Act rule, the council talked about reaching a compromise with developers. City Manager David Sykes expressed hesitation about lowering the bar for landlords, however, because it could worsen the already crippling affordability crisis.

“Weakening the Ellis Act Ordinance will only accelerate the crisis of affordable housing in San Jose,” the memo from Sykes’ office read.

More from the San Jose City Council agenda for April 10, 2019:

  • The council will debate whether to approve the construction of an 18,000-square-foot church on Trade Zone Boulevard.
  • The city council will discuss a proposal for enhanced security headed by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) at the under-construction Berryessa/North San Jose and Milpitas BART stations. Currently, the VTA works with the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office to provide security for the county’s light rail stations. No word yet on if this would be the plan for the Milpitas and Berryessa BART stations, which are also connected to VTA light rail stations.
  • The city will consider signing a resolution backing AB 705, which would strengthen protections for displaced mobile home owners. The bill, introduced by Assemblyman Mark Stone (D-Scotts Valley), would ensure that if a mobile home park is closed or converted to another use, its residents would be provided adequate compensation from park owners for relocation or for purchasing a new mobile home. Current law is not clear on whether displaced residents receive compensation when their mobile home park is closed. The bill, which would affect San Jose’s approximately 35,000 mobile home residents, is supported by the Golden State Manufactured Home Owners League, the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation and Bay Federal Credit Union.
  • The council will discuss the proposed Hemlock mixed-use project, which will demolish a single-family home and 3,900-square-foot commercial building on a half-acre to make way for 48 residential units and an estimated 18,000 square feet of office space.
  • The city is poised to OK a four-year extension to host Christmas in the Park. The attraction has taken place in Plaza de Cesar Chavez every year since the early 1980s.

WHAT: City Council meets
WHEN: 1:30pm Tuesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260


  1. $10M builds 20 units assuming a conservative 500K per unit cost.

    What I’ll never understand – the damage is done – is why not first meet you own affordable housing goals before taking on the additional burden created by Google. Why sell now when you could sell for more later?

    Surely, the city owned land would only be more valuable in 2030 as more transit is built and things grow. Then, you’d have the housing stock available to absord the negative externalities from a Google like company (and who knows maybe it’ll be another tech company in 10 years, but there will surely be one) while still gaining the improvements that come from having another employer come into the City.

    Doing it this way is just adding more stress to a housing market that was already in crisis.

    I guess, however, the Google wouldn’t be helping out Mayor fundraise for his next political move (the long rumoured run against Zoe aint gonna be cheap) but it would mean that San Jose wouldn’t have become Googleville until it was ready.

    • If you can’t afford to live here then MOVE. My gripe with Google is they get a break that NO other employment sector gets. They can bring in all the engineers they want from overseas to keep their wage costs down.

      The end result is the cesspool and future slum called Silicon Valley.

  2. I would like for Liccardo to provide numerical data of the total number of new units that have been constructed within the last 10 years in the city of San Jose and to show how many of those units have been for high top renters/buyers and how many for low and middle class family. also, I would like for the city to share how many low and middle class families have left the area/city to give the space to high tech employees. It appears that the affluent with support of LICARDO and supervisors are pushing the no affluent out to bring those that can pay three times as much for the same space. I would also like for Mayor Liccardo to share what percentage of city employees and other local officials have invested in google. Google, Stanford, and Santa Clara University rule our city and county. Most officials and other top employees come from these three institutions.

  3. Zoe Lofgreen is a corrupted politician that has played the local judiciary corruption.Liccardo is not better than that. He is pretty much the google puppet. We need an honest local person to run for Zoe’s office, someone with no connections to local judiciary, supervisors, ROSEN, or LICARDO. We are tired of this corruption web. DA JEFF ROSEN will be recalled. LICCARDO WILL BE NEXT!

  4. Man, there is just “No Love” for anyone anymore in San Jose-such animus, such angst. I’m being pushed to the edge of tears.(Not really).
    People must embrace the “Green New Deal.” Just say “Google is good” over and over until you don’t care anymore.
    Unlimited resources, free money, fresh food-the lower and middle classes will have to live in the sewers where it is “affordable” (for now any way). Get used to the smell. After awhile, it is not so bad is it?
    Be thankful for what you have-even if you have nothing at all. It is all going to end some day. So, stay put and don’t complain. You’ll be able to say, “I told you so!” And you are right, no-one is going to care.Not even me.
    David S. Wall

    • David this is not hate but a cruel reality and mess made but a few idiots with the money sign in every neuronal cell. We cannot say Zoe Lofgreen is good when we know she has given deaft ears to reports of law enforcement officers engaging in pedophilia, DV, and other crimes. She has also supported corrupted judges. We cannot say LICARDO is good when we can see he is trying to be friend with those that can finance his political aspirations. We cannot say goooglr is good when all is doing is making the Bay Area GOOGLELAND, and being the principal contributor factor to the relocation of poor families. This way, it’s high level employees move in. What you are seeing here is Latin America Politics in action, the poor getting poorer and the rich richer. There will be no middle class just a group of political lords and masses of slaves in the Google workforce. Google, relocate to Alaska!

    • Dave wall are you back in San Jose? I decided to go back in front of the retirement board anyway. [email protected]. still won’t tell me what’s in the box I took through customs

  5. Screw the middle class: “aims to use $10 million to turn market-rate units into subsidized ones”

    So, if you’re not on welfare or can’t afford $3k+/mo for one of the shiny new fancy apartments – you’re screwed.

    Well done comrades, well done.

  6. > San Jose City Council Set to Review Housing Investment Plan

    I’m not convinced that the San Jose City Council should even have a “Housing Investment Plan”.

    Didn’t the Soviet Union prove for al time what a stupid idea government central planning is?

    The Soviets could engineer a shortage of sand in the Sahara Desert.

    The housing geniuses on the city council are full capable of engineering a housing shortage in San Jose.

    Well, what do you know! WE HAVE A HOUSING SHORTAGE! How did that happen?

  7. Why do these morons keep acting like the Ellis Act is some big problem and crept up in the middle of the night, rather than – you know – last century.

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