Shortage of funding for affordable housing after the Redevelopment Agency was eliminated contributes a lot to the current housing crisis in the Silicon Valley. The elimination of Redevelopment funds led to a loss of nearly $57 million annually in local investment in the production and preservation of affordable homes in Santa Clara County. Federal grant such as HOME and CDBG was cut by $6 million in funding affordable housing.
The Leadership Group intends to identify and support funding sources for affordable housing on the local and state level. Locally we’ll work with stakeholders to adopt housing funding policies such as housing impact fees, the recapture of RDA funds, and measures that reduce the cost of housing production. On the State level we’ll support efforts to advance a bill to fund affordable housing.
Regional Planning at Lawrence Station:
The Lawrence Caltrain Station in Sunnyvale underperforms in ridership compared to the rest of the Caltrain system. The half-mile radius from the Lawrence station includes 629 acres of land with low density industrial/retail and low to medium density residential. The station is also hard to access due to a confusing street grid.
The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) and Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) recognize the critical role land use plays in transit ridership. The agencies awarded the City of Sunnyvale grants to plan the station area with a focus on increasing land use density and improving circulation.
The Leadership Group intends to lead adoption of a plan with higher densities, aggressive mode shift goals and additional affordable housing for the area. The Lawrence Station Area Plan will likely be adopted by the Sunnyvale City Council in November 2015.
Public Agency Surplus Land:
In 2014 AB 2135 (Ting) as enacted to strengthen the Right of First Refusal enjoyed by affordable housing when local agencies – including special districts such as transportation authorities – dispose of surplus land.
The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) holds over 500 acres in land across Santa Clara County And 315 acres are ‘surplus’ land, which VTA has the ability to hold, sell or lease. Currently VTA’s top priorities in developing this land are to increase revenue and ridership, and explore TOD developments.
The Leadership Group recognizes the opportunity to develop affordable housing around transit stations and is actively working with VTA to encourage this best use on it’s lines
California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Reform:
The California Environmental Quality Act is a well intentioned environmental law. Unfortunately, it has evolved into a law that can be used to stall and threaten good projects. The Leadership Group intends to lay groundwork for legislation through ongoing public relations and education by organizing regional CEQA Tours every year.
Outreach and Education:
Sprawling land use patterns cannot sustain fast developments in Silicon Valley. As developments come into cities, some local residents and decision makers may resist changes to their traditional suburban lifestyle. The Leadership Group is committed to build support at the local level for sound housing and land use decisions. Encouraging housing supply by minimizing oppositions to housing developments. The Leadership Group’s efforts include:
- organizing the affordable housing tour every year;
- educating community leaders about the importance of housing through the quarterly dinner series for neighborhood leaders; and
- assisting and staffing the Housing Action Coalition to grow the pro-housing constituency