San Jose’s plan to build 62K homes fails state inspection

Rejection by state leaves South Bay city open for builder’s remedy projects

San Jose’s plan to build 62K homes falls short
San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan (Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)

The Bay Area’s largest city hasn’t got its housing plan in order.

State regulators have refused to sign off on San Jose’s required “Housing Element” plan to add 62,200 homes in the next eight years, leaving the city open to builder’s remedy proposals, the Silicon Valley Business Journal reported.

Late last month, the state Housing & Community Development Department straight-armed the city’s Housing Element, which was supposed to have been approved in January.

In a letter Aug. 28, the state housing department alerted city officials that San Jose’s draft plan still wasn’t up to snuff.

San Jose’s “adopted housing element addresses many … statutory requirements,” MelindaCoy, the state’s proactive housing accountability chief, said in the letter. “However, additional revisions are necessary to substantially comply” with state law.

San Jose’s housing plan lacks a self-evaluation of its last eight-year plan to build more homes, according to the state.

It also lacks a current list of housing projects in the pipeline.

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And it lacks an analysis of how the city’s permitting process delays or blocks housing development, state officials said.

The South Bay city is the last big Bay Area city without a final housing plan. While San Francisco and Oakland have approved plans, two-thirds of the Bay Area’s 109 cities and counties do not.

Under state law, the city must target where and how it can accommodate 62,200 more homes — more than half of them affordable — by 2031. The homes would add 20 percent to the city’s housing stock, and represent a 77 percent increase from its previous eight-year goal.

A failure of San Jose to comply with its requirement to plan for tens of thousands of new homes puts it at risk of losing affordable housing and transportation funds.

It also leaves it open to lose control over approvals for new housing projects, as developers can trigger a state builder’s remedy to skirt local zoning rules. To date, 15 developers in San Jose have invoked the state housing loophole now being tested in courts. 

— Dana Bartholomew

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