UPDATE: San Jose plans land annex for dozens of townhomes
A dilapidated apartment building is seen on a 2-acre site along Moorpark Avenue in San Jose where a developer wants to put up 41 townhomes. Photo by Joseph Geha.

    San Jose officials are clearing a path for a developer to build more than 40 homes near a county medical center on the west side of the city.

    The True Life Companies, a Denver-based developer, is proposing to demolish 14 residential buildings which contain 30 rental homes to make way for 41 townhomes and 17 accessory dwelling units, also known as ADUs or granny flats.

    The San Jose City Council at its Aug. 8 meeting unanimously approved preliminary steps to annex a 2-acre group of parcels at 2323-2391 Moorpark Ave. from Santa Clara County into the city.

    Councilmembers also approved “prezoning” the land to allow for the new residential development, approved the project’s environmental impact documents, and set Aug. 22 as the date to formally approve the land annexation.

    The site backs up to Interstate 280 near Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.

    The existing vacant buildings on the site are bounded by fencing and tagged with graffiti. Pierluigi Oliverio, a planning commissioner for District 6, said multiple proposals have been considered for the plot of land over the past decade, and nearby residents will likely be happy to see a project moving forward.

    “Being across from the hospital near Bascom Avenue and with bus lines in both directions, it’s a development area that could tolerate more density,” Oliverio told San José Spotlight. “Some of this stuff finally coming together will put people at ease, as opposed to what some people might view as blight.”

    To make way for the project, all the existing homes, which are already vacant, as well as “several storage buildings, carports, paving, and landscaping” will be demolished, city reports said.

    The new townhomes would be built across five 3-story buildings, with 2- and 3-bedroom models ranging in size from roughly 1,100 square feet to 1,800 square feet with attached two-car garages.

    Seventeen townhomes would include attached 1-bedrooms or studio ADUs on the ground floor, which would be reserved as affordable rentals for people earning very low and low incomes, city reports said.

    In Santa Clara County, a family of four earning up to $89,000 annually is considered a very low income household, while a family of four earning up to $137,000 annually is considered low income.

    Those affordable small rentals would serve as required “replacement units” for the existing homes the city determined as protected under the state’s Housing Crisis Act of 2019.

    City staff said the person who purchases a townhouse on the lot would also purchase the ADU.

    Before any building can take place, the developer will be required to sign a 55-year covenant with the city for the property to ensure each ADU’s rent will be restricted for very low and low income earners, city staff told San José Spotlight.

    The developer would also dedicate nearly 5,000 square feet of land that faces Moorpark Avenue for future realignment work by San Jose, city reports said.

    “It’s an opportunity to bring more needed housing to San Jose and there’s going to be the benefit of the street alignment along Moorpark,” Kelley Rutchena, a project manager with The True Life Companies, told San José Spotlight.

    Contact Joseph Geha at [email protected] or @josephgeha16 on Twitter.

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