San Jose City Council to Hear Update on Controversial Senior Housing Initiative

A hotly contested proposal to build high-end senior homes in San Jose’s eastern foothills garnered enough signatures to land it on the primary ballot. That leaves the city with three options: to adopt the unaltered plan as an ordinance, to ask voters to make the call or to order a report on the project’s impact.

The City Council on Tuesday will consider taking the latter route, which would study the fiscal and environmental effect of the Evergreen Senior Homes Initiative—a controversial, billionaire-backed measure to build more than 900 homes on land zoned for commercial use.

Mayor Sam Liccardo and several other local officials oppose the project because the city has been pushing for more commercial development, which generates more tax revenue for public services than new home construction. They also fear that it would set a precedent for developers to bypass the city’s usual planning process.

News of the proposed housing project surfaced in September when supporters announced their intent to circulate a petition that would amend San Jose’s 2040 General Plan. Earlier this month, the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters confirmed that the initiative’s backers secured the required 22,277 names—5 percent of San Jose’s registered voters—to qualify it for the June 5 ballot.

Because of the length of the initiative and to give city staff enough time to evaluate its impact, the council authorized the research back in October.

Now that the initiative has qualified for the next election, the city plans to present its report no more than a month from now.

Liccardo and Vice Mayor Magdalena Carrasco wrote a shared memo asking that the report come up for discussion at the Feb. 13 council meeting.

More from the San Jose City Council agenda for January 23, 2018:

  • Typically, the city requires parking permits in residential neighborhoods located near regional attractions that draw visitors from outside the area. But the affordability crisis that’s forcing people to double or triple up housing occupancy has created huge demand for street parking in many more suburban parts of the city. To accommodate the influx of cars in District 1’s Eden neighborhood, the council will consider rolling out a permit program for areas where the street parking occupancy is 85 percent or higher.
  •  Residents are fighting plans to expand an old gas station to include an automated car wash on Bascom Avenue. Kathleen Flynn, who lives in the neighborhood, said she worries that added traffic generated by the project would be a public nuisance and potentially endanger students walking to and from the nearby Farnham Elementary School.

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

Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.


  1. Kathleen Flynn – trying to keep the mom and pops down… Its hard to make a buck and with all these teslas, washing cars is the only way to cover the slack. geez, you NIMBYs.

  2. The evergreen initiative is a cynical, misleading and deceptive measure – it changes the general plan for the entire city of San Jose, but the proponents are pretending its only about evergreen – it’s wirth their while to lie – they will make hundreds of millions and we will subsidize them.

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