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Letter to the Editor: Affordable Housing in Los Gatos? 'Not In My Downtown!'

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Recently the Los Gatos Planning Commission was called upon to plan for future affordable income housing units throughout town. The commission’s response was a resounding “Not in my downtown!”

Paying only lip service to the concept of building affordable housing in Los Gatos, the commission’s plan—which will come before Los Gatos Town Council within a few weeks—is to essentially dump hundreds of low-income housing units in the “faraway lands” north of Highway 85.  

The commission’s proposal to segregate low-income housing primarily into these “remote” parts of Los Gatos is mind-boggling, since it:

  • Exacerbates income disparity, by keeping future affordable housing away from affluent parts of town
  • Worsens congestion, by keeping future affordable housing away from the less-dense parts of town
  • Introduces a community divide, by maintaining future affordable housing away from the predominantly-white neighborhoods of town

During a Nov. 14 public hearing, the Commission heard broad and strong feedback from the local community about the implications of the commission’s lopsided plan; the Commission also received a note from the Campbell school district warning the Commission of the implications of its plan on local schools. However, the Commission brushed aside the community feedback, ignored the local school warnings, and rushed through the decision process, approved a hastily—written Environment Impact Report (without any comment or edit—very unusual for the Commission) and essentially decided to let the Council make the call.  

This plan makes no sense! It would segregate the community, load up local schools, drive up traffic congestion in our busiest intersections and routes, and hurt the environment; it will also do a disservice to the potential low-income residents whom we all would like to accommodate in Los Gatos.

We—a group of local residents—have put together significant analysis showing the bias in the Commission's decision; we urge everyone to learn more about this situation by contacting our neighborhood group, at ChallengePlans@Outlook.com.

AR December 18, 2012 at 03:48 PM
los gatos is not san jose or san francisco. a town of 50k people is not responsible for solving a housing crisis. people want to move here because it is a refuge from failed sprawl like san jose. if you're ever feeling guilty about being a "snob", go look at the "megan's law" map that tracks where registered sex offenders are known to reside. you'll never feel guilty about snobbery again.
Shawn December 18, 2012 at 04:45 PM
I attended a presentation by a builder to view what they plan to build for the first development of just one of these sites. Mr. Tersini (along with his hired gun plublic relations person) has shown plans to develop a parcel in such fashion to make him money. The parcel has multiple acres, however a single acre will have well over 50 units, urban "projects" style. If this is done it affords him the ability to develop the rest of the area as high density signle family homes and make his fortune. However this is beyond the town's density bonus, beyond the state mandated penalty density bonus. This is an example of what WILL happen if the town passes these measures, while allowing a builder to help the town develop the guidelines (which is a huge conflict of interest). In the coming meetings the staff will dance around implied requirements and state mandates, none of which explicitly govern the town's choices as to how WE intend to implement and distribute affordable housing. However it is clear to me now what the end result could be if we do not act quickly.
Doug Hamilton December 19, 2012 at 01:26 AM
Affordable "low income" housing in Los Gatos? Can you say "oxymoron"? When the median price in the least desirable part of Los Gatos is $641,000 there is no such thing as affordable housing regardless of where you try to put it.
Mike Hunt December 19, 2012 at 01:37 AM
Section 8 or high density Daly City-style housing will solve the problem. Best place to start is the Almond Grove area.

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