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Los Gatos Tackles Affordable Housing

Affordable housing overlay zones being considered.

For the past four years Los Gatos has been working on preparing and finally certifying its 2007-14 Housing Element, a state mandated document addressing the town's supply and affordability of housing. 

The Los Gatos Town Council approved the Housing Element in March 2012, and the state certified it as meeting state law in September 2012, said Los Gatos Community Development Director Wendie Rooney.

One of its key implementation programs is the so-called Affordable Housing Overlay Zone, or AHOZ.

The AHOZ is not a project that would result in either developing properties or rezoning properties, but rather is a policy that allows a property owner to develop their property consistent with the existing zoning or with the AHOZ, but not both, Rooney explained. 

The AHOZ is proposed to apply to five properties, three on Oka Road, the former County Courthouse property on Knowles and Capri drives and the rear lot of the Southbay Development site on Knowles Drive and Winchester Boulevard.

The AHOZ contains development standards such as setbacks, building heights, parking ratios, affordability levels such as percentage of affordable and market rate housing, and incentives to develop consistent with the intent of the AHOZ. 

The allowable number of units that can be accommodated on the properties is as follows:

  • Oka Road Site A: 128 units
  • Oka Road Site B: 60 units
  • Oka Road Site C: 60 units
  • Courthouse Property (Knowles and Capri): 104 + the potential for a 20 percent density bonus for 125 units
  • Southbay Development (Knowles and Winchester): 213 + the potential for a 20% density bonus for 256 units

Finally, each site would have to provide approximately 50 percent affordable units and 50 percent moderate- and market-rate units.

The theory is that the market rate units would offset the cost of the affordable units, according to Rooney.

However, now that the program has been planned for the past three years, and the town is progressing with the approval of the program, community concern has been raised. 

The town has scheduled a community meeting at 6 p.m. Dec. 18 in Town Council Chambers, 110 E. Main St., to address the issue. 

Property owners are under no obligation to develop their properties even if the AHOZ is approved, Rooney said. 

The town’s obligation to the state is to illustrate that the town has the capacity to meet state mandated planning for affordable housing, she said. 

The town is not obligated to ensure the units are built, but must demonstrate that there is sufficient land, that has available infrastructure, and is close to jobs and transit to accommodate future affordable housing, she added. 

Ed January 16, 2013 at 04:14 AM
I don't want to see Los Gatos turn into a Little Chicago. I don't want the crime. I don't want the danger. I don't want the drugs. I don't want the thugs. I don 't want the taxes. I don't want the traffic. This is the kind of "sustainable development" that the UN wants to force upon us through its Agenda 21 - loss of property rights, high population density, and shared misery.
KMD January 18, 2013 at 08:12 PM
If the town council were doing its job, they would keep in step with their goal to preserve the character of our town. Adding five subsidized/low income housing projects will have a severe impact to that which they swear to protect. The financial burden to cover schools, police and fire will be paid by tax paying citizens not by the added population that needs the support. We have a bigger problem when the people of the town who pay a lot of money to live here, contribute taxes and volunteer time to make Los Gatos the community it is are told by the state b/c you have all of that and someone else doesn't you need to give it to them too. It's not as though any of our homes, property, schools etc have were handed to us free of charge. We worked for it. I'd like to live on 17 mile drive too, but I can't afford it so should someone subsidize a home for me there? I have a suggestion for all of those people who want subsidized urban housing... go move to it. It is widely available and you are welcome to it. No one is preventing you from buying an inexpensive house renovating it and bringing the value of your neighbors homes up along with contributing to the tax base of that community to improve schools & services. It's about choices... choose to work hard and you can afford to live here, choose to help a community BY LIVING IN IT. But don't force your "feel good I want my cake and eat it too" choices on the rest of us.
KMD January 18, 2013 at 08:27 PM
I also can't help but point out the locations of these housing projects are no where near the south end of Los Gatos (the high end homes side of town where many a council member resides). If you all feel so strongly about helping the less fortunate you should have the low income housing developed close by (perhaps on your property or a property next to yours) so you won't have to concern yourselves with high carbon emissions to get to their homes. Or is it easier for you to throw money at them from afar while the rest of us pay the burden too?
Krafty A March 29, 2013 at 09:10 AM
Wow. As a legit, long term Gaten...some of you are truly revolting. (Looking at you Bob and KMD). Money can't buy you class, heart, or decency friends. Not to drag to this to a really dirty level but....your statements and concerns SCREAM white trash. Not a good look. You like homogeny so much, create your own banjo colony in the hills. My name is Amanda Kraft and I been here longer trust!!! Now scurry, you're ignorance is bad for property values.
Krafty A March 29, 2013 at 09:13 AM
Yeah, I misspelled "your"....off to the inbred camp I go....Hey Bob, can I catch a ride?

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