Sample Letters

Dear <Your Council-member Here>,

I am deeply concerned that the City Council might enact a citywide elimination of single-family residential zoning by adopting a policy called "Opportunity Housing" that would allow a four-plex and up to 3 ADUs on any lot currently zoning for detached single family homes. San Jose already struggles to provide me the core services that I deserve. Eliminating single family zoning will place further stress on San Jose’s spending and create difficulties in maintaining current service levels.

In addition, as the effects of the COVID pandemic lockdowns abate, traffic is returning to previous levels. The proposed elimination of single family zoning will make what were unacceptable levels of traffic service intolerably worse. That is unacceptable to me.

The San Jose General Plan reflects a commitment to preserve and enhance existing residential neighborhoods. Opportunity Housing is a gross violation of that promise. The adoption of Opportunity Housing is such a significant break from San Jose’s established zoning policy that it should only be decided at the ballot box by San Jose’s voters. I respectfully ask that you and the City Council avoid a unilateral decision on enacting such a policy.

Thank you for your time in this especially important matter.


<your name>


Dear Hon. Mayor Liccardo & Councilmembers,

I am writing about the proposed Opportunity Housing ordinance--the proposal to eliminate single-family residential zoning throughout the entire city of San Jose and replace it with zoning that permits duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes on every single-family lot within the city.

As you know, additional residents place additional demands on the city budget: for police and fire protection, parks, street repair and all other city services. Of course, these added expenses can be mitigated if additional residences also increase tax revenue and if these new residents can be served with the economies of scale enabled by high density housing.

The San Jose Planning Department recently re-confirmed that the threshold for new residential housing density that is fiscally neutral for the city budget is 45 dwelling units per acre (45 du/ac). Above this 45du/ac threshold, new revenue exceeds new expenses for our city budget.

Unfortunately, Opportunity Housing will add housing units at densities far below this threshold, likely as few as 10-12 du/ac. Such low densities will further burden our already strained city budget. Opportunity Housing—if passed—will negatively impact the delivery of city services and the quality of life for all San Jose residents, old and new.

Fortunately, a far better solution to the housing crisis exists. Completing the city’s planned Urban Village strategy--adding new mid- and high-density housing at 50-100 du/ac—will meet the housing challenge in a fiscally sustainable way that is also acceptable to a majority of current city residents. Please vote NO on the flawed Opportunity Housing proposal.

Respectfully and sincerely submitted.

Your neighbors and constituents,