The Los Gatos Town Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to allow the owners of the Riviera Terrace apartment complex to expand by 50 additional units.
The decision came after the Council found that the complex owners, Sobrato Interests, meet the state law that allows a housing density bonus for property owners who provide at least 20 percent of their units at a below-market price rate.
The town’s Planning Commission rejected the proposal at a Sept. 14 meeting, however, the town’s Planning Department recommended that the Council approve the expansion due to the density bonus statute.
Of the 50 proposed expansion units, 25 are planned to be affordable housing, 24 are planned below-market price, and one is planned to be a moderate-priced unit. The units would go into two new buildings that would back up close to the .
The six-acre property at 135 Riviera Drive is already home to 123 units, mostly one-bedroom, with a swimming pool and recreation area that will relocated to make room for additional buildings for the expansion.
Tim Steele, director of real estate planning for Sobrato Interests, said the expansion was important for Los Gatos residents as well as an opportunity to restore the surrounding habitat.
“This proposal calls for investment in aging property and allows us to improve the interface of creek habitat with landscaping and improve the existing storm drain,” he said.
The plan also calls for the increase of its current 164 parking spots to 220 spots.
After mixed public comment, voiced by residents who supported and opposed the expansion, Councilmember Joe Pirzynsky made the motion for approval, which also had added provisions for the property owners to provide a conditional creek riparian restoration plan as well as a plan from the Santa Clara Valley Water District to increase the water buffer in the creek.
Another provision of the plan is that Sobrato Interests provide a transitional housing plan for current residents that meet the salary requirement for affordable housing.
Pirzynski said he approves of the addition because of the value of providing affordable housing for residents while maintaining Los Gatos’ small-town feel.
“I thought this was an attractive benefit to the community,” he said. “We are a values-driven community and this isn’t typically done by most developers.”
Vice Mayor Barbara Spector said she was content that Sobrato Interests had come to the Council with a more detailed restoration plan.
“I’m very happy that the developer has a riparian corridor restoration plan,” she said. “They didn’t have one when they went to the Planning Commission."
Steele and his group will return to the Planning Commission with their restoration and architecture plan for approval at a later date.
In other news, the council voted unanimously on the consent agenda—which allows the body to approve several items with one vote and no public comment— to extend its custodial services contract with Sunnyvale Building Maintenance for the rest of the 2011-12 fiscal year for $70,000 as well as the 2012-13 year for $150,000 and the following two years pending budget approval.
According to Town Manager Greg Larson, Sunnyvale Building Maintenance was the lowest bidder in Los Gatos' search and started contracting its custodial services six months ago. They maintain town facilities such as the Los Gaots Library, Civic Center, Town Hall, the Los Gatos Monte Sereno Police Department offices and two yard houses.