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Santa Clara 100% Affordable Housing Project Moves Forward

Santa Clara Planning Commissioners approved a 100 percent affordable housing project located at 2330 Monroe St. on Wednesday, Nov. 13. If approved by City Council, the project will create 65 new affordable rental units, 25 percent of which will be for disabled persons. It’s on a 2.46-acre City-owned property to be leased to Freebird Development and Housing Choices Coalition for 55 years. Commissioners approved a General Plan amendment to designate the project site for Medium Density Residential. The project will also supply 32,000 square feet of landscaped open space, 98 parking spaces, a community room and site improvements. The units will be a mix of studios, one, two and three bedrooms. If approved, construction would be complete by 2022.

Commissioner Priya Cherukuru praised the project but advised the developer to work with VTA to get the nearest bus stop moved even closer to the project to make it more accessible for residents.

Commissioner Yuki Ikezi also supported the project but called for higher density than what was proposed saying, “This is one of the last empty lots in the City.”

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“We’re behind in what we need for affordable housing,” said Commissioner Nancy Biagini who also supported the project.

A number of outreach meetings were held regarding the project and community members were largely supportive, however some expressed concern about parking and traffic impacts.

A representative for the developer said that affordable housing funding being offered by tech giant Apple is a good potential source for the project and will be pursued to help expedite the construction process and get units available for lease sooner.

Live Music

Commissioners approved alcohol and live music permits for Eureka! Restaurant in Santa Clara Square located at 2762 Augustine Dr. The business hours were extended to 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights to accommodate the music and alcohol offerings.

“We’re finally getting a restaurant with live music,” said Commissioner Suds Jain.

The new restaurant is not yet open as tenant improvements are still underway. A compliance review will be conducted in 12 months to ensure that there are no disturbances created by the music and alcohol sales.

Commissioners also discussed the high permit fees, which cost the applicant $12,000 for the bundled alcohol and live music permits. City staff commented that the comprehensive zoning code update that’s underway could potentially make the permit process less involved, and in so doing reduce the fees.

Commissioner Lance Saleme commented that the fees may help offset municipal expenses for police and emergency services that are sometimes needed at establishments where alcohol is served, so any reduction should account for those expenses.

Other Business

A use permit was approved to allow a car/truck rental facility to operate at 2390 Lafayette St. The site currently has a vacant one-story commercial 5,000 square foot building that will be used for the new business on a 27,812 square-foot lot. The project will involve the planting of seven new trees and other landscape improvements.

Commissioners struck down an appeal, upholding the approval of a data center at 2174 Martin Ave. The appellant had claimed that the environmental review process was incomplete because it didn’t determine whether any endangered species were ever found at the project site. The appeal was dismissed as lacking any evidence for the claim.

The Planning Commission meets again on Wednesday, Dec. 11.

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