Santa Clara County Begins Virtual Workshops Seeking Community Ideas on Housing Needs

The County of Santa Clara has launched the Housing Element Update 2023-2031, to guide housing construction and planning in unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County for the next eight years.

A series of community outreach events have been planned and people are urged to share their opinions and participate in the process.

Community engagement will include a series of public meetings hosted between July and September, which began with the first workshop today, July 6.

Each workshop will be held virtually and will focus on either rural or urban housing needs. Inquiries regarding the process can be emailed through the Housing Element website.

“We urge everyone to share their views and take advantage of the many community sessions,” said the county Planning and Development Director Jacqueline R. Onciano. “The policies developed from this plan will cover a wide range of housing-related challenges. People’s input will help guide our department’s work as we craft the Housing Element to reflect the needs of the community.”

“We invite the public to get involved in the planning for housing needs in our county,” said Board of Supervisors President Mike Wasserman. “People who care about low-income housing, rental subsidies, shelter construction and a host of other housing issues, should participate in the process.”

HCounty staff working on the Housing Element will conduct a housing needs assessment, prepare an inventory of available sites that are zoned for the development of housing, analyze government and non-governmental constraints and develop housing policies and programs

The Housing Element must be updated on an eight-year cycle, as currently determined by the California Department of Housing and Community Development.

Housing Element law requires local governments to adequately plan to meet their existing and projected housing needs. This includes the county’s share of the Regional Housing Needs Allocation, which is the state-required process that seeks to ensure cities and counties plan for enough housing to accommodate all economic segments of the community.

The county’s current Housing Element, which was adopted in 2015, extends to 2022.

Community members can learn more about the Housing Element, find meeting information, sign up for updates, and send inquiries at



  1. I want to participate. But where do I find the facts with which I can educate myself on the housing needs issue? Here is what I would like to investigate further. Is this information in one place?
    1. Vacant building square footage in downtown San Jose.
    a. San Jose downtown is a mess and has been for more years than anyone can count
    b. The big mistakes
    i. Moving city offices to outside downtown.
    ii. Most inefficient light rail system in the U.S.
    iii. Santana Row / Valley Fair not in downtown Santa Clara or San Jose
    iv. Not dealing with blight, graffiti, and garbage
    v. Lack of enforcement of local zoning, residential code, and parking laws – an absolute mess
    c. Repurpose San Jose government offices not in downtown San Jose to residential property and move the offices back downtown.
    d. Repurpose vacant square footage in downtown San Jose to residential units
    e. Do not destroy the Santa Clara neighborhoods with ADU / 4 plex etc., build housing near light rail hubs and in shopping malls (see below.)
    f. Put a strong vacancy tax / penalty in place in downtown and residential areas.
    2. How many strip malls are there in Santa Clara County by count and by neighborhood?
    a. These should mostly be torn down and rebuilt with residential property above the stores.
    b. The gas station limitation is bonkers. As I understand it, the law is that residential property is not allowed near gas stations, as in a mall. But right now, many mall gas stations are very close to schools and apartments. And, when was the last gas station explosion? Or is the station polluting the air and the ground water? Get rid of the excess gas stations!
    3. How many homeless are there by category?
    a. Time living in San Jose/Santa Clara
    b. Working but homeless
    c. Temporarily out of housing
    d. Mentally ill or drug dependent
    e. Refusing help with b c or d above.
    4. What is the square footage of parks and playgrounds relative to the square of residential living space square footage?
    5. How close is subsidized residential housing to schools, libraries, hospitals, and support services?

  2. “We invite the public to get involved in the planning for housing needs in our county,” said Board of Supervisors President Mike Wasserman.

    Well for starters, the County needs to stop allowing mansions be built on top of the Santa Teresa Foothills!!! All of us here on the west side look up and see them sitting on top of the ridge now. We were told that the ridge was protected by the city of San Jose’s general plan. But oops! We didn’t know that the ridge was somehow sold off to the county so the city’s rules don’t apply. How convenient. The county has a total disregard for what the people in San Jose wanted by allowing these monster homes staring down at all of us and the gorgeous place-making natural ridge is now ruined and only for the few to enjoy. The stupid county allowed all of the mansions to be built on “Scenic View Drive” (the very top of the ridge) and none of us looking up at them could do anything to stop them because they are on county land.

    The county supervisors allowed the ridge to be bought and sold and built on and it will never be the same. ALL supervisors have let us down. And now Khamis wants in on the supervisor role so he no doubt will allow even more mansions up on the ridge. In fact, he once told me, “We need more executive homes”. Uggggg The county should have had to respect San Jose’s general plan. NO MANSIONS ON THE TOP OF THE SANTA TERESA RIDGE TO BE SEEN FROM THE VALLEY FLOOR!

    The county seems quite able to get executive homes built, now put as much effort into homes for everyone else!

  3. Santa Clara County runs fro Palo Alto to a little past Gilroy. We continually read/hear about San Jose being the central location for housing. Why do we never hear advocates recommending Palo Alto, Saratoga, Monte Serenity, Los Altos et. al. being recommended?

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