Campbell plans housing along major roadways
Campbell has identified 122 sites for housing mostly along major thoroughfares such as South Bascom Avenue and South Winchester Boulevard. The Pruneyard shopping center is also a potential site. Photo by Moryt Milo.

Even though Campbell has failed to meet its housing requirements over the years, this time around the city plans to construct thousands of new homes in its growing community.

The Campbell City Council on Tuesday unanimously agreed to rezone sections of the city for affordable and low-income housing and to reuse existing property within its 6.35-square-mile radius.

The city has identified 122 sites for housing, which will mostly be along major thoroughfares such as South Bascom Avenue and South Winchester Boulevard, recognizing that most of the city’s roughly 42,000 residents reside in single-family homes, according to its state-approved housing plan. About 17 locations are slated for South Bascom Avenue and South Winchester Boulevard, including a potential site in The Pruneyard shopping center. Other rezoned areas include Dillon and Gilman and East and West Hamilton avenues.

The city aims to build 3,870 new homes, with 1,542 designated as affordable housing for low-income residents by 2031, according to its housing plan. To date, only 117 homes that have been counted toward the  state-mandated goals, according to Campbell’s 2023 annual progress report.

Campbell City Manager Brian Loventhal said the efforts toward this housing cycle are marked with renewed vigor. He said potential locations are still being finalized as the city works with landowners interested in turning their property into housing.

“We are moving quickly on an important issue and I think that’s a credit to some new vision and new thinking in the city,” he told San José Spotlight.

Campbell was one of the first cities in Santa Clara County to receive state approval last April for its housing element, a plan to guide housing development in the city over the next eight yearse. The city did not meet its state requirements during the previous cycle, adding only 422 out of the 933 homes.

To help avoid missing its housing goals, the city hired a housing manager, Eloiza Murillo-Garcia, in January whose sole job is to oversee housing production. Previously, Campbell relied on its planning department to handle housing development, Loventhal said.

Campbell Mayor Susan Landry said affordable housing is necessary for residents who are essential workers in the community, such as teachers, firefighters and hospitality workers.

“The whole idea is to be inclusive,” she told San José Spotlight. “We don’t want basically all high income housing. We want to have a diverse population.”

Housing is a common issue among cities in the county. Cupertino and Los Gatos don’t have state approved housing plans more than a year past the deadline and San Jose received approval for its plan in January.

Sujatha Venkatraman, executive director of homelessness and hunger nonprofit West Valley Community Services, said the aesthetics of projects should not be a factor in the city’s pursuit of achieving its housing goals.

“Blending it into your kind of communities, whatever motif you’re looking at,” she told San José Spotlight. “I think that’s an excuse.”

Loventhal said the city is heading in the right direction with its long-term housing plans.

“I’m proud of where we are, (that we’re) actually making steps in a positive direction and actually doing something about it, not just talking the talk,” he said.

Contact Annalise Freimarck at [email protected] or follow @annalise_ellen on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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