As real estate values continue to skyrocket, San Jose will consider adding a zoning requirement for so-called co-living facilities—basically, living spaces with small bedrooms and spacious common areas. Much like a college dorm.
Planning, Building and Code Enforcement chief Rosalynn Hughey said the proposal could help the city meet the Mayor Sam Liccardo’s ambitious, if not insurmountable, vision of building 25,000 new housing units by 2022.
“This new use will be required to provide ample common living space for residents, provide extensive bicycle parking, and offer other transportation demand management incentives that support this urban living option,” Hughey wrote in a memo to the council. “These incentives could include but are not limited to ... carpool/vanpool share programs, bike-share programs, car-share programs, unbundled parking, and other incentive-based measures that encourage residents to use alternative modes of transportation rather than personal vehicles. It is too soon to tell if this particular housing product will be the answer to San Jose’s housing crisis. However, creating the path forward for a project like this is essential to getting to the heart of the mayor’s memo of finding creating ways to address the housing crisis in San Jose.”
The shared campus-style housing gives residents the opportunity to room with other people to reduce rent costs, without the usual headaches of looking for roommates in the classifieds. Although rent costs would remain high, developers expressed hope that a co-op model would drastically reduce the burden for residents who share rooms.
Liccardo, Vice Mayor Chappie Jones and council members Magdalena Carrasco and Raul Peralez co-authored a memo applauding the zoning proposal and directing the city to make sure prospective co-living developments are bicycle-friendly.
“This concept of co-living is not entirely foreign to San Jose considering existing models from traditional dormitory arrangements to the current reality of young professionals sharing rooms in high volume under one roof due to fiscal constraints,” the four council officials wrote. “This ordinance has long been needed and should be implemented in a fashion that enhances our urban core while minimizing surrounding impacts to our existing residential communities.”
Stevens Creek Development
Also on the agenda is an item on a sizable mixed-use project slated for Stevens Creek Boulevard. The development will consist of one building of 300 housing units spanning 10,000 square feet, an eight-story building containing up to 293 residential units, a six-story parking garage and a six-story, 233,000-square-foot office tower. Five existing buildings totaling approximately 106,000 square feet and 68 trees will have to be demolished to make room for the new project.
Eighty-eight of the 600 housing units will be below-market-rate.
The Stevens Creek development is part of the city’s broad San Jose Envision 2040, which plans to add over 3 million square feet of office space, walkable neighborhoods and increased public transportation lines in the next two decades.
Councilors will hear a report about raising building heights in downtown, where strict limits are in place due to its proximity to the Mineta San Jose International Airport.
Although the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has capped building heights downtown to just over 300 feet, most planes flying out of San Jose self-impose a lower limit, instructing pilots to not go above a “one-engine operative” restriction. An OEI, as it’s called, ensures a plane can safely take off and land in case one of its engines fail.
The proposal the council is leaning towards would eliminate that OEI restriction. According to city documents, this can raise heights in the downtown core by 35 feet, and around Diridon Station by up to 150 feet.
If approved, this proposal could add 8.6 million square feet of office space to the area, resulting in an estimated $4.4 billion of new construction that would net the city an estimated $5.5 million in tax revenue, 4,700 new jobs and 12,800 new residents.
More from the ouncil agenda for Feb. 26, 2019:
- The city will hold a meeting this spring in hopes of expediting the process for building publicly-funded affordable housing projects. There have been several delays in land use project studies, which pushes construction dates for these projects further back. Those kinds of delays risk losing financing for some projects and leads to increased construction costs.
- The city and Valley Water will reach an agreement to revise—but still continue—their controversial practice of clearing homeless people from the city’s waterways. San Jose will continue to post notices at homeless encampments and coordinate outreach services for those affected by the sweeps. The water district will provide trash-clearing services and other sanitary needs.
- The city will amend parts of its agreement to allow homeless people to sleep in their cars in designated parking spaces, provided they comply with noise and safety regulations. The pilot program was first rolled out in October last year, and will be extended with some amendments.
WHAT: City Council meets
WHEN: 1:30pm Tuesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260