Major Los Gatos project promised 270 apartments. Only 50 are happening.

By Tran Nguyen, San Jose Spotlight, October 20, 2021

“Los Gatos officials in 2015 promised at least 270 affordable housing units from one of the town’s largest projects — North 40 — to address a housing crisis that has priced many out of the upscale town. But as of this year, the project will only provide 50 below market rate apartments for seniors — falling far short of what the town envisioned and needed for its housing goal.

“When a developer submitted a plan in 2016 with only a fraction of the housing below market, the town voted it down. The developer, Grosvenor, sued and won. When the town council was mandated to rescind its rejection and approve the plan, the outcome was a bitter pill to swallow.

“ ‘That was a lesson for Los Gatos,’ Mayor Marico Sayoc told San José Spotlight. ‘You can specify your desires. But ultimately, you could not impose more than what is in policies and regulations.’

“Judge Takaichi noted that the town can only reject a development based on specific plan and zoning standards, forcing Los Gatos to reconsider the project. The council then approved the number of units as proposed, effectively ending Los Gatos’ pipe dream of building hundreds of affordable units.

“Sayoc, who sat on the housing element advisory board and the council at the time, said she thought by specifying the level and numbers of affordable units in the specific plan, Los Gatos would get what it asked for.

“ ‘But going through the process, especially the process with the court, we understand that it’s strictly based on our current inclusionary policy,’ Sayoc said.”

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