Silicon Valley developer stages hunger strike after construction on his housing project is halted

Silicon Valley developer stages hunger strike after construction on his housing project is halted
Photo Credit: Aron Developers
By Wesley Severson - Published on February 10, 2023.

It’s now been one full week since the CEO of a South Bay development company has eaten. He’s in the middle of a hunger strike to protest development officials who forced him to stop construction on his housing project in Sunnyvale. Navneet Aron is the founder of Aron Developers. He started his hunger strike inside Sunnyvale City Hall on February 3rd. Every day he shows up when City Hall opens to occupy the sofa in the waiting area near the planning and building department. He has several signs, including one that reads “on hunger strike until death!”

When City Hall closes, he apparently packs up and heads home. According to the Mercury News, he’s only been consuming water, coffee, and gum


The county issued a stop work order at Aron’s project on North Fair Oaks Avenue, which features 18 townhomes. The problem is that Aron never got approval for the installation of a plastic vapor barrier that sits beneath the foundation and prevents toxins from the soil from seeping into the concrete and into the home. Aron says he simply forgot that he had to get approval for the vapor barrier from the Santa Clara County Department of Environmental Health before he laid the foundation. 

Aron's Fair Oaks Housing Development. | Rendering Credit: Aron Development


Aron is now waiting to get it approved, but that process could take up to 45 days, a delay which he says could derail the project permanently. He says interest on his construction loan costs him $15,000 per day, not to mention construction labor costs that run about $25,000 per week. “We are simply suffering and forcing our people who have families and kids and live paycheck to paycheck to not be able to work on site. They don’t have any other income. So that’s why I’m here. I don’t know anything else to do,” Aron told the Mercury News.

The city of Sunnyvale won’t allow construction to restart until the county gives the green light. “Developers are ultimately responsible for having a compliant project. The city had to issue a stop work order because Mr. Aron failed to meet health and safety conditions for his project,” Sunnyvale spokesperson Jennifer Garnett told the Mercury News. Apparently, Aron’s 9-year-old daughter is trying to get him to start eating again, but he is vowing to stay food-free until construction work restarts.