Our Housing Committee advocates for increasing the supply of affordable housing in Los Altos and Mountain View area. The team monitors new condo and apartment developments as well as the rent stabilization program in Mountain View. Read copies of their Action Letters. They also keep track of state legislation that will impact local housing regulations, such as, the 25 new housing bills recently signed by Governor Newsom, some described below.
Oversized Vehicle Ban and Safe Parking: We have written/spoken against the oversized vehicle ban because it includes so many of the city’s streets and is not tied to finding safe parking for these vehicles. Additions to safe parking spots are moving very slowly. We will continue to monitor these issues. Action Letter re: oversized vehicles & Action Letter re: Safe Parking .
To learn more about this issue: MV City Living in Vehicles and Homeless Information
CSFRA (Rent Stabilization): We also are monitoring the discussion about amendments to CSFRA (Rent Stabilization), as our LWV studied and then took a position supporting this charter amendment. The Council and the Rental Housing Committee are continuing to discuss what issues might be included in a ballot referendum, presently targeted for the March primary election. One of the major concerns we have is the possibility of changing the annual rate of increase in rent to a flat number such as 5%, or even higher, rather than tying it to the CPI, which we believe is fairer to all. We are also looking for ways to mitigate displacement, which is becoming a major issue. This is mainly because there are so many rental units built over 50 years ago that may need major rehab and/or can be scraped and built at higher density and/or more profitably as market-rate condos, townhomes, or rowhomes. Action Letter re: CSFRA.
In Los Altos, we continue to advocate for denser housing along El Camino and inclusion of the maximum possible number of below-market-rate units. Oct. 22nd the Council will hold a hearing on 5150 El Camino Real, a 196-unit condo and townhome development that includes 28 BMRs (19% of the total units). Action Letter re: 5150 El Camino Real.
New Housing Bills Signed by the Governor
In addition to what’s happening locally, 25 new State laws affecting affordable housing were signed by the Governor, including:
AB 1482 caps rent increases and requires just cause for eviction. This law will not replace CSFRA in Mtn. View, but it expands rent control to post 1995 rentals that have been built prior to the last 15 years. The 15-year exemption is to allow developers that time period to ensure that they make the profits they anticipated when they initiated their developments. Due to this exemption, plus the fact that with vacancy decontrol (meaning when there is tenant turnover the landlord can charge market rent), developers will not be discouraged from building, according to our research. This law will also apply to condos and single-family homes owned by corporations, not individuals. The rent caps are 5% plus inflation (CPI), so not nearly as stringent as the CPI cap in Mtn. View for the pre-1995 rentals covered by CSFRA. Los Altos and Los Altos Hills do not have any rent stabilization, so all rentals in these communities will be covered by AB 1482. Equally important, AB 1482 requires “just cause” for eviction, so that landlords cannot evict tenants without a valid reason, then raising the rent to market rent for new tenants. (LWVC supported this bill.)
SB 330 – The Housing Crisis Act of 2019. For 5 years this will prohibit downzonings, housing moratoria, and caps on building permits. It prohibits cities from changing fees or other requirements after preliminary applications have been submitted and streamlines the permitting and approval process. It contains anti-displacement measures and many other measures designed to accelerate housing production but protect tenants at the same time. This bill is perhaps the most controversial bill signed into law from the cities’ perspective.
AB 68, SB 13, AB 881 all relate to encouraging more accessory dwelling units (ADUs). Impact fees are reduced, owner-occupancy requirements are limited, permitting is streamlined, parking requirements are reduced amongst other loosening of the requirements for ADUs. (LWVC supported AB 68 and SB 13).
AB 1763 gives 100% affordable housing developments a higher density bonus and reduced parking.
AB 1486 strengthens the Surplus Land Act and SB 6 creates centralized database of surplus and vacant land. Surplus land is to be made available for affordable housing; these bills will make it easier to identify.
AB 1487 establishes the San Francisco Bay Area Housing Finance Authority, which will be able to place affordable housing revenue ballot measure before the Bay Area voters. This was an outgrowth of the CASA Compact and many local cities oppose this (especially the smaller ones.)
SB 329 prohibits discrimination because a tenant is using a housing voucher, such as Section 8, or any other government subsidy. (LWVC supported this bill.)
To look up state bills: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billSearchClient.xhtml