San Jose Considers Exemptions to Affordable Housing Law

San Jose will consider exempting high-rise developments from a year-old law designed to increase the supply of affordable housing.

Assembly Bill 2135, authored by Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), gives affordable housing developers first dibs on surplus land sold by local governments.

The law also gives them more time to negotiate for those properties and lets cities sell the parcels below market rate as an incentive to developers. Projects that are 100 percent affordable get first priority. In the absence of affordable housing bids, the law provides that a residential developer make 25 percent of the units below market rate.

With the market driving up rents and mortgages, selling off surplus properties at mark-down is one way cities can come closer to meeting their affordable housing targets.

On Tuesday, the City Council will decide whether to grant a five-year exemption from the inclusionary housing requirement for high-rise rental developments in downtown. Last year, the city approved an exemption for high-rise rental projects from a new affordable housing impact fee to incentivize those types of developments.

San Jose has sold off all but 30 of its developable surplus properties, according to the city’s Economic Development Director Kim Walesh and Housing Director Jacky Morales-Ferrand.

“[S]ince the loss of redevelopment, having an additional tool to support the development of affordable housing is important for addressing the housing crisis,” they wrote in a shared memo.

More from the San Jose City Council agenda for February 2, 2016:

  • The city is moving forward with plans to build a Vietnamese community center. Council members Manh Nguyen and Tam Nguyen asked the city to set aside $200,000 for a feasibility study and otherwise advance the project. A public outreach meeting will be held sometime this spring.
  • A citizen initiative headed for the fall ballot aims to revise the city’s business tax code. Instead of taxing by number of employees, the tentative measure would levy a tax based on gross tax receipts. The council will vote on whether to conduct an analysis of the proposal, which still needs enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.

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. > San Jose will consider exempting high-rise developments from a year-old law designed to increase the supply of affordable housing.

    Could San Jose do some thing to increase the supply of affordable housing in Beverly Hills?

    Last time I was down there, I was homeless.

    Also, I could use some affordable housing in New Port Beach, Sea Cliff, Tiburon, Aptos, Pebble Beach, and Hillsborough.

    In fact, I think there should be affordable housing for Americans in every place where Obama and Hillary Clinton do fundraisers.

  2. Here we go, now the San Jose Politicians can get rid of the $300,000,000.00 in Baseball Stadium parcels purchased at 3 times their value after their real estate pals and Reed bought them for a dime on the dollar in 2008 and started the defunct Baseball Stadium Scam. Now they sell them at a lost at their original un inflated value with all the San Jose Redevelopment money GONE GONE GONE TAXPAYERS. That’s what is cool about Real Estate fraud . The inflating and triple escrowing from the old owner who gets cheated by leaving $25,000.00 in escrow for nonexisting defects collected by the straw buyers and the inflating by the new seller several times until the City buys it from their pals at 300% increase making it a taxpayer purchase. Then you sell it back to your developer friends for it’s true value and the taxpayer takes the lost. The Old Redevelopment parcel switcheroo. Where is the Baseball Stadium Liccardo and Reed and why did Liccardo help his friend sell the Baseball Stadium Train Station sliver of land for $2,095,000.00 and get to keep his Drug Rehab business on the site for a unbelievable yearly lease of a $1.00?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  3. It’s much better, and more simple to stop allowing for development of ANY housing in SJ…

    Turn off the vacuum that sucks money out of our public services and create some damn jobs Liccardo! Get SJPD & SJFD fully staffed. Fix the roads. Pay off Reed’s Redevelopment debt. Pay off the Airport debt. Then, maybe think about more housing…

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