Q. Does Opportunity Housing eliminate single family residential zoning?
A. Yes. Opportunity Housing allows a fourplex and up to three ADUs to be built on lots currently zoned for single family use. By any standard, allowing up to seven housing units on a lot zoned for single family use is not single family zoning. Opportunity Housing advocates are claiming it does not eliminate single family zoning because the city would not force you to convert your single family property to multi-family use. We think this “if you like your house you can keep it” is laughable.
Q. Will Opportunity Housing create more affordable housing in San Jose?
A. No. All multi-unit housing constructed on single family lots would be sold or rented at market rates set by the owner/developer. No units would be subsidized or subject to rent or price controls.
Q. When will this issue be decided?
A. The San Jose Envision 2040 General Plan Task force submitted its recommendation to ban single family housing citywide in August of 2020. The City Council is expected to consider the question sometime this spring or summer, but no date is scheduled. It is assumed that the council will either request the City Planning staff to study the issue and provide recommendations on how to implement the ban, or simply reject the the Task Force recommendation. If the Council votes to have Planning staff study the issue, that process is expected to take about 18 months. The Council would then decide on what to do with the Planning staff’s recommendations.
Families & Homes is urging the Council to reject the Task Force proposal immediately. Further study by Planning staff is a waste of taxpayer money and puts undue stress on San Jose residents who live in single family neighborhoods.
Q. Will Opportunity Housing be subject to voter approval before becoming law?
A. The recommendation to the City Council does not include a provision for residents to have their voices heard via the ballot box. Without a voter referendum, the issue will be decided by 6 of of San Jose’s 11 elected representatives (10 Council Members plus the Mayor).
Q. The Planning Department and Opportunity Housing promoters claim 94% of residential land in San Jose is reserved for single-family homes—is this true?
No this is not true. The 94% number originates within the Planning Department’s little-understood distinction between land “zoned” for single-family and land “designated” single-family. When the planning department made this claim to a local residence group, they were confronted with a detailed analysis of the planning department’s own zoning map. A very large chunk of land that planning claimed was ‘designated’ single-family was actually covered by street, schools, churches and vast areas of open space! According to this citizen audit, single-family homes ACTUALLY covered something closer to 63% of the land in their sample.
When confronted with this detailed analysis, planning personnel quickly admitted that ‘the 94% number’ was not a fair representation of actual San Jose land use. Yet the Planning Department and Opportunity Housing promoters continue to make this false 94% claim in their public presentations.
No one really knows how much land in San Jose is actually dedicated to single-family homes today, but it is abundantly clear that it is much less than 94% of the residential land available. Plenty of land exists for San Jose to build new, properly zoned multi-family housing under the city’s Urban Village strategy.