The Mountain View City Council unanimously supported a 100% affordable housing project proposed on Montecito Avenue at its Dec. 6 meeting.
The five-story project, located at 1265 Montecito Ave., would replace a vacant office building that’s currently on the site with 84 affordable units, and is aimed at low-income families with children who make between 30% and 60% of the area median income. The location is surrounded by buildings with multiple uses, including a shopping center, two other residential projects and a car wash.
Charities Housing, the project applicant, is proposing a unit mix of 24 studios, 18 one-bedrooms, 21 two-bedrooms, 21 three-bedrooms, and one three-bedroom staff unit – adding 84 affordable homes to the city’s below market rate housing stock.
The site is also located within half a mile of a major transit stop, which qualifies the project for the state density bonus parking requirement of 0.5 spaces per unit, city senior planner Edgar Maravilla said. The project proposed 45 parking spaces, one more than it was required to provide per state law.
Councilmember Lisa Matichak had questions about the number of parking spaces at the Dec. 6 meeting.
“Given concerns we’ve heard about other recent affordable housing developments, I was wondering what the backup plan is for additional off-street parking for this development, if the amount of parking that’s provided is not enough?” Matichak asked.
Charities Housing Director of Housing Development Kathy Robinson said in many of the developer's other affordable housing projects, the parking spaces aren’t all being used.
“We’ve built expensive parking spaces that aren’t being utilized by anyone,” Robinson said. “Fifty percent of the units in this development will be for people with 30% of area median incomes and below, and what’s proven to be the experience in many of our developments is that people at that income level often do not have cars. They simply cannot afford them.”
During public comment, individuals speaking on behalf of the Housing Action Coalition, Mountain View YIMBY, the Mountain View Coalition for Sustainable Planning, the Greenbelt Alliance, Destination Home and Silicon Valley at Home all strongly endorsed the project.
Council members largely praised the project for bringing more affordable housing to Mountain View, though Matichak reiterated that the number of parking spaces is a concern for her.
“We don’t have great public transit here,” Matichak said. “... We really need it to be better, and in the meantime, I struggle with asking our most vulnerable residents to commute by bicycle. What if you have two jobs and you’re racing between those? That’s tough to do if you’re on a bike or trying to use public transit. I think we need to recognize that a lot of people still are using vehicles.”
Despite her concerns, Matichak voted in support of the project, as did the rest of council. The project passed unanimously.