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Housing allocation goals nearly double for one small, Silicon Valley town

Housing allocation goals nearly double for one small, Silicon Valley town
Photo Credit: Town of Los Gatos
By Wesley Severson - Published on July 16, 2021.

The town of Los Gatos could experience tremendous population growth over the next 20 years if the updated draft of the city’s 2040 General Plan becomes a reality. It recommends the town build 3,783 new residential units in the next 19 years. According to San Jose Spotlight, that’s around 90% more than its state-mandated housing goal of 1,993 residential units that is recommended in the 2023-2031 Regional Housing Needs Allocation.

Los Gatos also released a ‘Land Use Alternatives’ report in 2019 that calculated the town needed between 1,500 to 2,000 new housing units over the next two decades. Town officials say that the reason behind the increase in the housing recommendation is to allow Los Gatos to become more diverse and more accessible to non-white, lower-income residents.

Los Gatos sits in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains and has always had a suburban, even rural feel to it. But under the plan, there would be a change in land-use designation which would mean more multi-family options like duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, and townhomes. It would also make it easier for property owners to construct additional residences. Those more affordable types of units could help bring median rental prices down which could attract less-affluent residents.

Single-family homes have dominated the housing market in Los Gatos over the last decade.

Los Gatos Town Manager Laurel Prevetti told San José Spotlight, the town doesn’t have much open land and will rely on redeveloping mixed-use areas to meet the 1,993 housing unit goal set in the Regional Housing Needs Allocation. “Last time we only had to plan for 600 housing units with our allocation. This time we have to plan for at least 2,000. So this is a significant ask and the town is up to the challenge,” Prevetti said.

If Los Gatos, or any other city, is unable to meet their state-mandated housing goals there is no penalty. At least six other Bay Area cities appealed their state-mandated housing allocations. The cities are mainly concerned about a lack of water supply and not enough road infrastructure to handle new traffic. An environmental impact study is underway right now in Los Gatos that will address those possible issues.

So far, long-time residents have come out in opposition to the 2040 General Plan, saying that the addition of 3,783 new residential units is just not feasible for the small, foothill town.