News

Mountain View will spend $1M to update its housing plans under new state requirements

Residential construction in Mountain View is projected to increase under new state housing requirements. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

New state housing requirements are forcing the city of Mountain View to take a close look at its housing stock and residential zoning to accommodate heavy growth. And it looks like that work is going to cost far more than expected.

City Council members are expected to approve a budget next week for updating Mountain View's Housing Element, a document that will have to show the city could reasonably support 11,135 additional housing units over the next eight years. City officials thought it would cost about $300,000, but are now asking for just over $1 million.

Like most cities across the Bay Area, Mountain View is being asked to grow far faster than in previous years under the 2023-2031 Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA). The process requires Mountain View to zone for 11,135 additional units, about four times as many as the previous eight-year cycle, that are affordable across a broad spectrum of income levels.

Early on, city officials were banking on an update to the city's "R3" zoning in order to account for some of that residential growth. But City Council members opted to hit the brakes and solicit more public feedback on the zoning overhaul, meaning R3 changes won't be baked into the Housing Element.

What's more, the city may not be able to lean entirely on the North Bayshore and East Whisman precise plans, which include a massive portion of the Mountain View's future housing growth. Developers -- specifically Google -- have proposed market-rate units with little in the way of affordable housing, prompting city officials to identify other places that affordable housing could be built.

Help sustain the local news you depend on.

Your contribution matters. Become a member today.

Join

The upshot is that Mountain View may have to do what it's calling "targeted rezonings" and will need a detailed update on its site inventory.

Between the possible rezoning and the sheer quantity of units Mountain View is being asked to build, the city will have to conduct a rigorous environmental review that was previously deemed unnecessary. City officials say a full environmental impact report will be needed to assess the effects of additional housing, which is expected to cost upwards of $371,000.

In a bid to create more housing statewide and enforce the RHNA process, the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) is taking a closer look at whether the newly zoned housing is feasible and stands a chance of actually getting built in the next eight years. Mountain View is required to analyze what HCD considers "constraints" on housing, which can include onerous fees, taxes and zoning standards that can drive up costs.

That analysis will dig into financial challenges facing developers, including a new tax under consideration by the Mountain View Whisman School District that places heavy property taxes on all new homes north of Central Expressway. The school district and the city have both grappled with how to pay for new schools that would support residential growth and the students it will generate.

The economic analysis, like the environmental review and the site inventory, is also pushing up costs, and is expected to add $37,000 to the budget. All told, the city anticipates it will cost $1,004,000 to carry out the housing element update. Council members are expected to approve the budget at the Jan. 25 City Council meeting.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox in our Express newsletter.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox in our Express newsletter.

Kevin Forestieri is an assistant editor with the Mountain View Voice and The Almanac. He joined the Voice in 2014 and has reported on schools, housing, crime and health. Read more >>

Follow Mountain View Voice Online on Twitter @mvvoice, Facebook and on Instagram @mvvoice for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Get uninterrupted access to important local city government news. Become a member today.

Mountain View will spend $1M to update its housing plans under new state requirements

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Fri, Jan 21, 2022, 12:50 pm

New state housing requirements are forcing the city of Mountain View to take a close look at its housing stock and residential zoning to accommodate heavy growth. And it looks like that work is going to cost far more than expected.

City Council members are expected to approve a budget next week for updating Mountain View's Housing Element, a document that will have to show the city could reasonably support 11,135 additional housing units over the next eight years. City officials thought it would cost about $300,000, but are now asking for just over $1 million.

Like most cities across the Bay Area, Mountain View is being asked to grow far faster than in previous years under the 2023-2031 Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA). The process requires Mountain View to zone for 11,135 additional units, about four times as many as the previous eight-year cycle, that are affordable across a broad spectrum of income levels.

Early on, city officials were banking on an update to the city's "R3" zoning in order to account for some of that residential growth. But City Council members opted to hit the brakes and solicit more public feedback on the zoning overhaul, meaning R3 changes won't be baked into the Housing Element.

What's more, the city may not be able to lean entirely on the North Bayshore and East Whisman precise plans, which include a massive portion of the Mountain View's future housing growth. Developers -- specifically Google -- have proposed market-rate units with little in the way of affordable housing, prompting city officials to identify other places that affordable housing could be built.

The upshot is that Mountain View may have to do what it's calling "targeted rezonings" and will need a detailed update on its site inventory.

Between the possible rezoning and the sheer quantity of units Mountain View is being asked to build, the city will have to conduct a rigorous environmental review that was previously deemed unnecessary. City officials say a full environmental impact report will be needed to assess the effects of additional housing, which is expected to cost upwards of $371,000.

In a bid to create more housing statewide and enforce the RHNA process, the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) is taking a closer look at whether the newly zoned housing is feasible and stands a chance of actually getting built in the next eight years. Mountain View is required to analyze what HCD considers "constraints" on housing, which can include onerous fees, taxes and zoning standards that can drive up costs.

That analysis will dig into financial challenges facing developers, including a new tax under consideration by the Mountain View Whisman School District that places heavy property taxes on all new homes north of Central Expressway. The school district and the city have both grappled with how to pay for new schools that would support residential growth and the students it will generate.

The economic analysis, like the environmental review and the site inventory, is also pushing up costs, and is expected to add $37,000 to the budget. All told, the city anticipates it will cost $1,004,000 to carry out the housing element update. Council members are expected to approve the budget at the Jan. 25 City Council meeting.

Comments

SRB
Registered user
St. Francis Acres
on Jan 21, 2022 at 2:31 pm
SRB, St. Francis Acres
Registered user
on Jan 21, 2022 at 2:31 pm

Yet another unfunded mandate from the State?


DavidM
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 21, 2022 at 3:37 pm
DavidM, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Jan 21, 2022 at 3:37 pm

Here we go. "Targeted rezoning". Which means expect that a 6-story high-rise may soon come to a nice neighborhood like yours. All in the name of a dated analysis, pre-pandemic, that said M-V needed to meet the demand for housing for thousands of tech workers, and affordable units for those less fortunate than their high-tech neighbors. BTW, most under 30-somethings are all heading to other states. The M-V city council is completely out of touch with reality, only seeing $$ from a future tax base that will do nothing for road repair or any other crumbling infrastructure need. Time to head for the hills I guess.


Bean
Registered user
Bailey Park
on Jan 23, 2022 at 5:31 pm
Bean, Bailey Park
Registered user
on Jan 23, 2022 at 5:31 pm

Impediments against new housing is what drives up costs for everyone.

We need to build more, build dense modern communities where public transit pencils out.

No one is going after your single family home but you have no right to tell me if I can or cannot build a fourplex on my property and provide shelter to 3 more families.

Or you can keep your single family home only as a mandate but repeal prop 13.

Sprawl and climate arson costs money. Pay up or sell and move out but a city will need to look and act like a city.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.