San Jose City Council agenda packed with housing proposals

At the beginning of the year, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo called housing one of the most “daunting” challenges facing the city. On Tuesday, Liccardo and his council colleagues will tackle the crisis once again as they review a host of affordable housing projects.

If the lengthy list is approved, San Jose could add hundreds of new rent-restricted apartments to the city’s housing stock and allow the issuance of more than $200 million in bonds to acquire and rehabilitate current affordable complexes.

Here’s what you should know before Tuesday’s meeting.

Valley Palms Apartments and Parkside Terrace Apartments

The City Council will consider the issuance of bonds from California Statewide Community Development to “acquire and rehabilitate” two affordable apartment complexes. The first bond is for up to $120 million for the 352-unit Valley Palms Apartment. The second is an up to $85 million bond for the 200-unit Parkside Terrace Apartments. Neither complex currently receives funding from the city.

According to city documents, the acquisition of the properties will “result in lengthened affordability restrictions, preserving the supply of affordable housing in San Jose.” Rehabilitation funds will go to “address health and safety issues, accessibility requirements, deferred maintenance and energy efficient enhancements” as both complexes have not been updated in years.

Rent Stabilization Program 

City leaders will review last year’s performance of the Rent Stabilization Program, which enforces and implements rent control policies and tenant protections, among other things. A memo issued by Liccardo and Vice Mayor Chappie Jones recommends that city staff study the Ellis Act Ordinance’s re-control section.

The policy outlines requirements for landlords of rent-controlled apartments — those built prior to 1979 — who choose to take units off the rental market. The re-control section was amended last year so that apartments that are demolished and then rebuilt are subject to rent control again. Under the policy, rent control would apply to 50 percent of newly-constructed units or the number of withdrawn units, preventing landlords from pulling units off the market only to put them back on again at astronomical prices. San Jose’s rent control policy limits a rent increases to five percent every 12 months.

Liccardo and Jones want to maintain the 1-to-1 replacement of rent-controlled units, but analyze whether the policy limits new housing production.

“We have seen very few Ellis-relevant housing development proposals emerge, and have heard anecdotally that the re-control requirements undermines the viability of several projects,” Liccardo and Jones wrote. “If we have any intention of meeting our affordable and market-rate housing goals, council must fully understand the impacts of the current requirement.”

Housing and More Housing

The City Council will also consider applying for grants and loans under the “Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities” program for three different affordable housing projects.

The first is for a potential 81-unit complex on Page Street, which will serve extremely low-income and very low-income individuals. Next is Roosevelt Park Apartments: a 79-unit complex on North 21st Street that will house those with incomes ranging from moderate to extremely low. The last is a city-owned property at 226 Balbach Street that pending for development of 86 rent-restricted units. Collectively, the three projects would add 200 new affordable units to San Jose’s housing stock.

The City Council meets 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at San Jose City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara Street.

Contact Grace Hase at grace@sanjosespotlight.com or follow her @grace_hase on Twitter.

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