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CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM NO. 30


Meeting Date: September 12, 2000

Subject/Title: Authorize staff to initiate amendment of Housing Element of the General Plan to allow new multi-family development within the Downtown neighborhood which exhibits an over-concentration of lower income households. 

Submitted by: Mitch Oshinsky, Community Development Director

Approved by: Jon Elam, City Manager


RECOMMENDATION

Authorize staff to initiate an amendment of Housing Element of the General Plan to allow new multi-family development within the Downtown neighborhood which exhibits an over-concentration of lower income households.

PREVIOUS ACTION

In 1998, the City Council adopted a Housing Element Update, the main intent of which was to preclude new multi-family residential development within neighborhoods exhibiting an over-concentration of lower income households.

BACKGROUND

As the result of two large multi-family developments proposed in 1996 (Marsh Creek Apartments and Brentwood Park Apartments), Brentwood residents and the City Council became concerned about an apparent overconcentration of lower income housing in the eastern part of the City, including Downtown. In response, the City had a study done to accurately measure whether there was an imbalance of housing types, and if so, to what degree.

The study concluded that several areas in the City, mostly east of the railroad tracks had a statistically significant concentration of lower income households.

As a result, an Update of the Housing Element was completed and adopted by Council in February 1998, based on recommendations from the Housing Element Subcommittee, and Planning Commission. The key language is:

POLICY 3.3 – Manage new housing development within neighborhoods (defined as census block groups) exhibiting an over-concentration of lower income households based on the following criteria:

· New multi-family development within neighborhoods exhibiting an over-concentration of lower income households is to be considered inconsistent with the General Plan Housing Element.

Over the past few months, we have received several contacts from people interested in developing multi-family housing in or adjacent to the Downtown. Some of the requests have been for senior housing, some for housing above retail buildings, and some for free standing family apartments. We have had to inform all these people that such uses are not permitted.

There is great value to the health of a Downtown in creating a base of residential development in and around it, to add life, activity and patrons. A number of cities, including Mountain View and Ventura have recently adopted policies which have successfully attracted higher density housing to their downtown’s to help maintain and enhance their character.

The City Manager and I believe such an approach would be beneficial for our Downtown as well. If Council agrees, it would be appropriate to authorize staff to amend Housing Element Policy 3.3, to exempt the Downtown from the prohibition on multi-family housing. 

City Administration
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