Hitting the (Virtual) Road to Secure More Housing

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With more than 2,200 new housing units at stake, the Bay Area Council this week hit the virtual road to testify in support of projects from Lafayette to Sunnyvale. In Lafayette, Council member O’Brien Homes is fighting a pitched battle with the city and local opponents over its plans for the 315-unit Terraces of Lafayette, including 63 units designated as affordable. The project has become a poster child for California’s housing crisis and was featured in both a New York Times article and a book by Times reporter Conor Doughtery – Golden Gates: Fighting for Housing in America — highlighting the role of local resistance in defeating new housing.

The project has been forced to undergo multiple changes, battled through various lawsuits and a ballot referendum, and even resulted in the high-profile resignation by the city manager over his concerns that the city’s housing obstruction was adding to climate change. Following a nine-hour hearing this week, the Lafayette City Council again delayed a final decision. The project returns to the City Council on Aug. 24, hopefully for the final time. A new state law (SB 330) the Council supported caps the number of public hearings for projects that comply with local zoning laws. Across the Bay, the Council’s housing team logged in to testify in support of 1,100 new homes on the site of the old Balboa Reservoir adjacent to City College of San Francisco. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved the project, which includes 650 units designated as affordable. The decision comes after opponents had blocked approval for decades.

Turning south, the Council attended a Redwood City Council study session to give our support for a 60-unit townhome project proposed by member company Sares Regis. And in nearby Sunnyvale, the Council’s testimony helped Sares Regis win City Council approval for 790 housing units in a project that is expected to pump new life into the city’s downtown. To submit a housing project for Council endorsement, please contact Senior Vice President Matt Regan.

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