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Housing bill - Trojan horse!

From: domainremoved <Patti>
Date: Sat, 4 May 2019 17:21:19 -0700

Dear Honorable Mayors and City Councilmembers -
The state, the bay area, and my town of Menlo Park have a serious jobs
housing imbalance. The proposed Sacramento bills to address this problem
appear to be fatally flawed. Not only do they only address one part of the
problem (i.e., a shortage of housing), they do nothing to address the
disproportionately higher jobs growth that has been occurring. Not only
should you fight the proposed state legislation, you should act locally
immediately to address the problems that past Councils' decisions have put
in your lap and put on the radar of the state legislature.

This letter addresses a topic I have not seen discussed at all: that the
proposed state bills would worse then imbalance while confiscating a city's
ability to manage the problem of a serious jobs/housing imbalance and all
the related problems that stem from that, such as commuter traffic
congestion, dislocation of longterm lower income residents who are an
essential part of our communities and economies..

SB50 is akin to a Trojan horse that would worsen the jobs/housing
imbalance. While this proposed bill ostensibly favors housing in mixed-use
developments, it doesn't result that way when a developer wishes to
maximize the allowed nonresidential square footage. A "Housing development
project" under SB50 is defined to include "Mixed-use development consisting
of residential nonresidential uses with at least two-thirds of the square
footage designated for residential use.".

Simple arithmetic proves that mixed use projects, generally favored by
developers, would not provide more housing units than jobs, and in fact are
more likely to add quite a few more jobs than housing, thus exacerbating -
rather than alleviating - the current jobs/housing imbalance.

To illustrate, below is a mixed use project on an acre of land developed at
FAR 2.25, which is an intensity SB50 allows :

   - Assume the maximum non-residential is developed at current worker
   densities for Silicon Valley companies or incubators
   (150 SF/worker, 50 SF/worker, respectively)
   - Assume the remaining residential square footage is developed for small
   one-bedroom or small two-bedroom
   (500 SF, 1,200 SF, respectively)

Such a project could represent up to 653 jobs and possibly as only 54
housing units (if average 1,200 SF/unit). And the local community couldn't
do anything about it.
The resulting jobs/housing ratio could range up to 12.00 jobs/housing
unit! That's a shortage of at least 87 up to 598 housing units compared to
jobs for just this one example project, This is the opposite of improving
the housing shortage and jobs/housing imbalance.

Using the above assumptions, there is NO case where the number of housing
units equal the number of jobs. Only if the AVERAGE housing unit size were
smaller than 300 square feet would the number of housing units equal the
number of jobs when the worker density is 150 SF/worker. But, the AVERAGE
housing unit size would need to be only 100 SF in order for the number of
housing units to equal the number of jobs if the non-residential space is
densely occupied by incubators.

The message here is that a focus only on housing will not solve the
jobs/housing imbalance.It would be far better to slow down the jobs growth
while also promoting housing. Further, the situation could be grossly
worsened if blunt instruments like these bills are used. And they
completely cripple the ability of local jurisdictions to alter projects
that worsen the jobs/housing imbalance.

Don't let this Trojan horse legislation get approved. Additionally, get
serious about the local jobs/housing imbalance by focusing on the jobs part
of the equation, not just housing. Otherwise, traffic congestion, loss of
essential community members, and "solutions from afar" will continue to

Fight these bills and put a pause on approving net new non-residential
square feet locally while addressing the housing shortage, or your
decisions will be part of the problem.

Patti Fry, former Menlo Park Planning Commissioner

*Details of calculations:

Assuming mixed use project on 1 acre (43,560 SF) and FAR of 2.25 under SB50
as of 3/11/19

Maximum allowed non-residential SF 1/3 of site is 32,670 SF

Remaining residential SF is 65,340 SF

Worker density of 50 SF/worker to 150 SF/worker means 217.8 to 653
potential jobs (32,670 SF divided by 50 or by 150)

Housing unit size of 1,200 SF/unit or 500 SF/unit means 54 or 130 units
would be built (65,340 SF divided by 1,200 or by 500)

Jobs/housing ratio becomes 1.67-4.00 if worker density is 150 SF/worker
(divide 217.8 jobs by 130.68 or by 54.45 housing units)

Jobs/housing ratio becomes 5.00-12.00 if worker density is 50 SF/worker
(divide 653.4 jobs by 130.68 or by 54.45 housing units)
Received on Sat May 04 2019 - 17:16:39 PDT

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