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'Senior Homes Initiative' Threat to Community

Don't be Misled by this Dishonest Effort
Wealthy developers are seeking to pull a fast one on San Jose voters. 

Today, their target is Evergreen, but their proposed initiative will be decided by all San Jose voters and developers are making clear that this is just the beginning.

Please read my Mercury News editorial titled, Evergreen ‘Senior Homes Initiative’ is a threat to your neighborhood, too (Editorial Link: http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/10/31/opinion-evergreen-senior-homes-initiative-is-a-threat-to-your-neighborhood-too/).

Join me in standing up for the future of our community and our city. Please share this with your social network – we need to get the word out about the damage this initiative would do to Evergreen and to our city.

 


What Others Are Saying About the Proposed Initiative

There have been several recent articles that have delved deeper into this proposed initiative:

Seven Reasons Every Resident Should Be Concerned about the Proposed “Senior Homes” Initiative


1. Wealthy developers are attempting to create their own, more profitable set of rules that differs from the rules that everybody else in San Jose must follow.

  • With this initiative, developers have literally written the rules for their own project. While they have provided themselves the flexibility to change the rules as they wish in the process, the initiative would strip the City Council of any authority to modify the development in the future.
  • The initiative casts aside San Jose’s General Plan, which was the product of 50+ public meetings, input from 5,000+ community participants, a 40-member task force of community members, and the unanimous approval of the City Council.
  • The initiative accelerates housing development outside of our established Residential Growth Areas, where there currently is little existing infrastructure to support traffic and other burdens of new residential development.


2. Although the developers make claims about “affordable housing,” the proposed project is a gated community with overwhelmingly million-dollar luxury homes.


  • The overwhelming majority of the project would consist of 679 Single-Family Homes without any affordability requirements – likely at a price equal to, or exceeding today's $1 million average for new single-family homes. 
  • The initiative explicitly states that the project would be constructed as an exclusive “gated community” with “private streets” and a “masonry wall” (see Section 2.2.1 of their “Evergreen Senior Homes Specific Plan”).


3. Despite the developers’ claims about affordability, this initiative actually waters down the affordable housing requirements by which every other housing builder in San Jose must abide.

  • While the initiative calls for constructing some affordable units (likely outside of the “gated community” described above), it does not require the same level of affordability currently mandated by the City’s inclusionary housing ordinance
  • If the affordable housing is constructed to serve as rentals, the initiative would satisfy its “affordable” claim by requiring only 6% of units for very low income households and 14% for “moderate” income households.
    • What Does “Moderate Income Household” Mean?
      • Annual Income = $128,500 for family of four or $102,500 for a 2-person family
      • Maximum Rent for a 2-Bedroom “Moderate Income” Unit = $2,891 for a family of four
    • In contrast, City rules require every other developer to build 8% for “very low income” households and 12% for ”low income” households
  • If the affordable component of the project is constructed “for sale,” income eligibility would merely match the City’s requirements – but developers rarely build affordable housing for sale; it’s usually rental housing. 
  • In addition, there is no guarantee that any affordable housing units will ever be constructed, as they are not required to build their affordable units concurrently with the first 169 market-rate homes.


4. The developers claim that they will house veterans, yet they make no enforceable commitments to ensure that any veteran will live in a single one of these homes. 

  • The actual language of initiative does not make any requirements or commitments to housing veterans, but merely offers “preference” for veterans to live in the rent-restricted units. Such a “preference” cannot be enforced for the benefit of any veteran seeking housing.


5. In a part of San Jose suffering from chronic traffic gridlock, these developers have crafted the initiative to avoid paying the traffic impact fees that any other developer in Evergreen must pay. 

  • The initiative would exempt the project from any Traffic Mitigation Improvements or Traffic Impact Fees that may be required as part of the Evergreen-East Foothills Development Policy.
    • Note: The current Traffic Impact Fee is $14,800/unit for residential development and is $12,800 per 1,000 square feet for commercial/office development. 
  • In addition, since this development is being brought forward as a voter initiative, it attempts to limit City’s ability to impose additional traffic mitigation measures under state law.


6. Although this proposal is cast as a “senior housing” project, it doesn’t resemble traditional senior housing; in fact, any 55-year-old tech executive with four kids can buy a home without restriction. 

  • The initiative explicitly describes this development as seeking buyers/renters age 55 and over, but most San Jose residents between 55 and 65 are working and have families.
  • Given that a growing percentage of 55+ residents continue to work, lead very active lives and have children living with them, we can expect this project to create significant new traffic and other types of impacts.
  • Those impacts – particularly traffic – will not be mitigated by the developer, because they have exempted themselves from paying the fees that do so.

7. These developers are bypassing the City's established community engagement process for new development proposals, denying residents the opportunity to provide input and help shape this project. 

  • The City's established development process provides a public and transparent approach for the City to consider new development proposals. This process ensures that:
    • the City's professional planning staff can thoroughly analyze and vet new proposals for potential community impacts.
    • there is a community engagement process, with robust public outreach to ensure surrounding neighborhoods are properly notified when development proposals are filed with the City.
    • all residents have the opportunity to provide input, share their concerns and offer suggestions for improving the project before a final decision is made on the proposal.
    • the developer can be required to take steps to mitigate any impacts their development will create.
  • By taking their proposal straight to the ballot box, these developers are bypassing these important opportunities for the public to participate in the development process and make their voice heard.