Santa Clara Votes to Support Affordable Housing Contributions

Before a packed City Hall chambers, Council Members in the City of Santa Clara voted unanimously to pass a package of policies detailing new requirements for supporting affordable housing contributions as a part of future residential and non-residential development projects in the city. Testimony included dozens of construction workers who live and work in Santa Clara making a plea to Mayor Lisa Gillmor and City Council Members to not only address affordable housing production, but to also help create an incentive for residential construction projects that agree to pay their workers area standard wages.

Other issues addressed in the affordable housing package included:

  • Increasing requirements on residential developments to include a minimum of 15% affordable units on both rental and for-sale developments.
  • Giving the City discretion on whether residential developers can use alternative compliance options, including in-lieu fees, land dedication and off-site units.
  • Creating a commercial linkage fee, so that high tech offices, hotels, retail and other projects are contributing to the affordable housing needs they are helping to create.
  • Developing a phased in fee schedule so that full fees are not applicable until 12 months after adoption of ordinance.

The vote also puts new pressure on the City of San Jose, which is now the last major city in Santa Clara County without a commercial linkage fee. As major high tech office projects like Google, Adobe and others move forward in San Jose, the Mayor and City Council are leaving hundreds of millions of potential dollars for affordable housing on the table by not pursing a commercial linkage fee, an issue the Housing Department is set to review before Council in the coming months.


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