Northern News

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A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

Making great communities happen

SB 35 invoked to build 91 townhomes in Saratoga

By Janice Bitters, San Jose Spotlight, January 9, 2019

“Sand Hill Property Co. is planning a new 91-townhome development in Saratoga, but the project comes with a twist: the prominent developer is using a controversial state law to streamline city approvals.

“Since Senate Bill 35 took effect in 2018, the law, which speeds up the development of certain housing projects, has been used only a handful of times in the Bay Area, generally for high-profile projects that have stalled in the past, or that developers fear may stall.

“On [January 9, 2020], Sand Hill Property Co. officials submitted plans to the city, announcing its intent to use the law to build the two- to four-bedroom townhomes alongside about 5,000 square feet of commercial space in place of the existing Quito Village retail center.

“If the project is approved through SB 35, each townhome would stand two stories tall, spanning 1,700 to 2,400 square feet and have a two-car garage.

“Of the 91 for-sale homes, 10 percent — or nine townhomes — would be set aside as affordable homes, though the prices haven’t yet been set,” according to Sand Hill’s director of planning and entitlement Steve Lynch.

“Sand Hill’s proposal opts to make those nine affordable units available to people who are considered very low-income earners, one step further on the affordability scale than required by law.

“ ‘We’re bringing new housing to a community that has shown itself to produce almost no housing over the last four years,’ Lynch said. ‘We’re excited to help them meet their RHNA numbers on a shopping center site that … is a dead vacant site.’ ”

Read more in the original article, including how Sand Hill Property Co. invoked SB35 to redevelop Cupertino’s Vallco Shopping Mall.