CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM
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
Submitted by: Mitch Oshinsky, Community Development Director
Approved by: Jon Elam, City Manager
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.
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.
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
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.