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Planning Commissioners to Review Related Santa Clara Project

On a Wednesday, Jan. 29 meeting mainly consisting of study sessions, Santa Clara Planning Commissioners were prepped on a major project that they’re scheduled to review at a February meeting. Related Santa Clara, formerly known as CityPlace, is a mixed-use project located on 240 acres in northern Santa Clara at 5155 Stars and Stripes Dr. Project plans show a total of 9.2 million square feet divided between 5.4 million square feet of office space, 700 hotel rooms, 1,680 residential units, and one million square feet of retail, restaurant and entertainment spaces. The project was put forth by a public-private partnership between the City and developer, Related Companies.

The project is now entering the public hearing review process for the First Phase of the plans. Planning staff explained that the Master Community Plan process for the project, “Is very different and unique” requiring “several years in the making to bring this multi-phased project forward.”

The unique process will require review by Planning Commissioners for every phase of the project. Not much detail was presented to Commissioners at the Jan. 29 meeting as they were told to prepare for in-depth presentations at their February meeting, with opportunities to weigh in on the specifics of the proposal.

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Housing Legislation 

Another study session brought Commissioners up to speed on a collection of housing bills recently passed at the state level. Property owners now have more leeway to add Accessory Dwelling Units, or ADUs, to their residences. Two such units are allowed per lot if the one that’s attached to the main structure is 500 square feet or less. Multifamily buildings can also have an interior ADU built, such as within a garage area.

Senate Bill 744 allows Low-Barrier Navigation Centers to be built “by-right” in mixed-use and non-residential zones. These centers are geared for those without homes but generally have more space and services than emergency shelters.

The City’s surplus lands will now have to be considered for housing under Assembly Bill 1486. The legislation states that localities cannot disallow residential development on surplus lands that in the past may have been passed on to a developer to build commercial properties such as stadiums. It’s expected that the legislation will have a significant impact on development on such parcels going forward in Santa Clara.

Several tenant protection bills passed including AB 1482, which caps rent increases, requires for just cause eviction as well as relocation expense benefits if a landlord evicts a tenant because they want to occupy a unit themselves. Other bills prohibit discrimination of those with Section 8 vouchers and require 90-day notices for rent increase that are greater than 10 percent.

AB 1483 requires that municipalities disclose online development impact fees as well as the studies done to justify the fee schedules.

The Santa Clara Planning Commission meet next on Wednesday, Feb. 26.

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