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