Milpitas approves 84 apartments below market price

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MILPITAS – A below-market 84-unit apartment complex may soon rise near Milpitas BART station and the Great Mall.

City council unanimously approved the project on Thursday despite criticism from some members about a state law that requires far fewer parking spaces than the city would like to see for projects this way. cut.

Idaho-based Pacific West Communities plans to build the complex on a 1.11 acre site at 308 Sango Court, in an area close to BART that the city has spent years trying to turn into a dense hub of housing and of shops.

During their discussion of the project, council members criticized a state’s density bonus law that seeks to spur more affordable housing developments by bypassing certain local requirements, such as minimum parking. Although the city code requires at least 140 parking spaces for an 84-unit apartment complex, state law states that only 44 are needed for this project, and the developer plans to build 48 of them.

“People say there is no parking lot. Well, you’re right, there is no parking, absolutely no parking, ”said Mayor Rich Tran.

“People are going to have to make business decisions if they want to live there. There is no street parking. There is no street parking on the cul de sac. Sango court? I do not think so. Montague? I’m afraid not. Great walk to the mall? Yeah, that’s it, ”Tran said.

State law grants parking waivers and other exemptions from local development standards for affordable projects within a half-mile radius of major transit centers.

According to a report by city staff, 51 of the apartments in Pacific Commons Communities will be reserved for people earning 40-60% of the region’s median income and 33 for those earning 80-120%. An apartment is reserved for the manager of the complex.

For a family of four, the current median income in Santa Clara County is around $ 151,000, according to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. For some of the more expensive units in the project, a family of four would be eligible for rental if their total income does not exceed $ 180,000 per year, according to city staff.

The developer can build 18 more apartments than local codes allow under state law and can get by by providing 10 balconies in total instead of one per unit.

Despite their quarrels over parking, the council has largely expressed its support for the project because it will be affordable and close to public transport.

“If it weren’t for affordable housing it would be a definite no,” Tran said. He acknowledged that “one of the biggest mistakes” the city has made over the past decade has not been to build or demand affordable housing near BART and the mall, where thousands other apartments and houses at market price have been approved.

“Zero affordable housing, literally zero,” Tran said.

Opposite this planned development, an affordable 100 unit apartment project at 355 Sango Court approved several years ago has yet to be built. There was also a 220 unit apartment project approved in 2018 along South Main Street that included 10 units below market rate. Tran voted against this project at the time.

Vice Mayor Carmen Montano said she liked the Pacific West project.

“It’s 100% affordable. People will trade in their cars for a place to sleep, a place to live at an affordable price, ”she said.

“The purpose of density bonuses is for the state to try to reduce air pollution, climate change, and we need to take bold action,” she added.

Council denied the developer’s request to waive the public art fee of $ 225,000.

When Pacific West rep Mike Kelley asked if the company could at least “share the baby” with the city and pay $ 150,000, Tran replied, “We don’t really negotiate in this city.”

“We’re going to pay it, don’t worry,” Kelley replied.

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