In recent months these complaints have mostly been focused on projects in the North Bayshore neighborhood, where the city hopes to build as many as 9,850 new apartments and require up to 20 percent of them to be affordable. On Tuesday, SummerHill representatives leveled the same arguments for their proposal in East Whisman, the city's other area targeted for major growth.
"We're not asking for any relief but instead we wanted to propose alternatives that would deliver a higher number of units," said Katia Kamangar, SummerHill vice president. She warned that investors were wary of projects that involved too much affordable housing.
SummerHill's project would be a mix of 265 rental apartments, 134 condominiums and 48 flats.
The discussion centered over how to value moderate-income housing for the project's requirements for affordable housing. City officials have made it a point to encourage moderate-income housing to address what they call the "missing middle" — families that earn too much to qualify for most subsidized housing, but not enough to afford market-rate housing. To fill that gap, Mountain View leaders have encouraged developers to add a moderate income category for subsidized housing.
These families would be able to pay more in rent than low-income households, so it made sense that the housing requirements on developers should be higher, said Housing Director Wayne Chen. As a rough approximation, the city's normal 15 percent requirement for affordable housing should be equivalent to about 27 percent for moderate-income housing, he said.
SummerHill representatives disagreed with that assessment, and they offered a series of alternatives that they said would be feasible on their end. Of those options, the City Council threw its support behind a blended proposal to build 26 low-income units and 39 moderate-income units. Under this option, SummerHill would not have to pay $7 million from in-lieu fees required for the condominiums, and that money would be used to build more subsidized housing.
While it wasn't quite what the city hoped for, it was still important to get the housing built, said Councilwoman Pat Showalter.
"We need to take advantage of the good economy while we have it," she said.
The alternative carried in a 4-1 straw vote with Councilman John McAlister opposed. Councilman Ken Rosenberg was absent and Councilwoman Lisa Matichak abstained.
This story contains 441 words.
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