Media Alerts

Two More District 1 Neighborhood Groups Join City-Wide Coalition to Preserve Single Family Zoning


October 25, 2021 (San José, CA) -- Families and Homes SJ today announced that two more neighborhood groups in Council District 1 have declared their support for single-family residential zoning in San José. The Moreland West Neighborhood Association and the District 1 Leadership Group (“D1LC”) have joined four other District 1 Neighborhood Associations (Eden, Lynhaven, Murdock and Winchester Orchard) to call on their council member and the entire city council to oppose legislative efforts to eliminate single-family zoning.

Council District 1, represented by council member Charles “Chappie” Jones, is now home to more community-based organizations opposed to “Opportunity Housing” than any other council district in the city. Five Neighborhood Associations and the D1LC, which itself represents 29 separate neighborhoods within District 1, have all taken public positions to preserve single-family zoning.

In its letter to the mayor and city council, the D1LC urged the city to utilize its scarce planning resources to finally complete on-gong work on Urban Villages. Urban Villages are the city’s long-established and fully vetted strategy to add housing for an additional 400,000 city residents—a stunning 40% population increase. Even under the most optimistic of projections, disruptive initiatives like Opportunity Housing will add less than 4% of the housing units that will be created by the Urban Village strategy.

Rapid Expansion of Grass-Roots Citywide Coalition Opposed to ‘Opportunity Housing’

Moreland West and the D1LC are the latest members of a fast-growing, citywide grass-roots alliance of locally based neighborhood organizations that are all opposed to the abolition of single-family residential zoning in San José. A complete list of the 29 organizations—based in 8 of the city’s 10 council districts—that have joined the Families and Homes SJ coalition can be found on our website at: https://www.familieshomessj.org/about-us.

Later this year the San José City Council will decide whether to approve a General Plan Task Force recommendation to study and draft a binding ordinance to replace single-family zoning throughout the entire city with new zoning that permits four residential units (plus up to three accessory dwelling units or ADUs) on any single parcel without community notification or public hearings. This radical proposal—euphemistically called “Opportunity Housing” by its promoters—would reduce neighborhood parking availability, increase greenhouse gas emissions, shrink tree canopy, overburden city services and infrastructure, further aggravate the city’s structural budget deficit, and degrade the quality of life that San José families have worked so hard to create—all without adding a single unit of affordable housing. This proposal, if passed, would be irreversible since state law prohibits down-zoning once a parcel has been up-zoned.

Council District 2 Coyote Creek Neighborhood Joins Coalition to Preserve Single Family Zoning

October 4 2021 - Families and Homes SJ today announced that the Coyote Creek Neighborhood Association (CCNA) is the latest San José community group declaring formal opposition to the abolition of single-family residential zoning in San José. CCNA represents more than 800 households in City Council District 2. It’s board of directors has submitted a letter to Mayor Liccardo and all members of the City Council urging them to reject any proposals to adopt Opportunity Housing.

The CCNA noted its 40-year history of working with the City of San Jose in pursuit of common goals both for the city and the Coyote Creek neighborhood. This collaboration has included volunteer work in crime prevention and reporting, park maintenance, cleanup and neighborhood beautification projects, and public safety. The group praised the City of San Jose’s well-conceived General Plan to prioritize high density housing in urban villages with access to transit and within walking distance of shopping. CCNA supports the current General Plan, which will accommodate a 40% increase in San Jose residents, while it opposes the euphemistically named “Opportunity Housing” proposal to densify single-family neighborhoods.

The CCNA letter to the mayor and council acknowledges the recent passage of state legislation that allows lot splitting and duplex construction in single-family neighborhoods and points out that Opportunity Housing is much worse. It allows up to 7 dwelling units to be constructed on a single-family parcel, without the need for lot-splitting, and without any owner-occupancy requirements. The proposal enables multi-unit housing projects “by right” without any public review and appeals process.

Rapid Expansion of Grass-Roots Citywide Coalition Opposed to ‘Opportunity Housing’

The CCNA is the newest member of a fast-growing, citywide grass-roots alliance of locally based neighborhood organizations that are all opposed to the abolition of single-family residential zoning in San José. A complete list of the 26 organizations—based in 8 of the city’s 10 council districts—that have joined the Families and Homes SJ coalition can be found on our website at: https://www.familieshomessj.org/about-us.

Later this year the San José City Council will decide whether to approve a General Plan Task Force recommendation to begin studying and drafting a binding ordinance to replace single-family zoning throughout the entire city with new zoning that permits four residential units (plus up to three accessory dwelling units or ADUs) on any single parcel without community notification or public hearings. This radical proposal—euphemistically called ‘Opportunity Housing’ by its promoters—would reduce neighborhood parking availability, increase greenhouse gas emissions, shrink tree canopy, overburden city services and infrastructure, further aggravate the city’s structural budget deficit, and degrade the quality of life that San José families have worked so hard to create—all without adding a single unit of affordable housing. This proposal, if passed, would be irreversible since state law prohibits down-zoning once a parcel has been up-zoned.

Families & Homes SJ Supports Council Memo to Preserve Local Zoning Control in San José


August 4, 2021 (San José, CA) -- Families and Homes SJ (www.familieshomessj.org) today announced their support of a San José council memorandum asserting the city’s right to control local zoning and land use issues. The memo, authored by councilmember Dev Davis, specifically opposes California Senate Bills 9 and 10 (SB9 and SB10), which seek to override local zoning authority by mandating residential density upzoning without any local community input.

SB9 and SB10 would usurp the city’s existing authority to determine if new development projects require planning review and oversight. It would prevent the city from considering the availability of needed infrastructure for new residential construction—including sewer, power, and water availability—forcing approval of all proposed developments ‘by right’ without further analysis or community input.

SB9 would allow up to 8 units to be built on all existing single-family lots; SB10 would allow even higher density on some existing single-family lots. Neither proposed legislation has any requirement for affordability nor environmental compliance.

“SB9 and SB10 are unconscionable power grabs by the state that would outlaw single-family zoning throughout the state forever. These bills completely remove the city and local residents from the planning process,” explained Families & Homes SJ board member Sandra Delvin. “Local communities are best-placed to understand the trade-offs involved in new development. Allowing high-density multi-unit developments to be built anywhere, regardless of infrastructure availability or other local concerns, is a recipe for urban disaster. Our organization wholeheartedly supports this memo, and we strongly urge all councilmembers to vote for its adoption.”

Grassroots Citywide Coalition Supports Local Control and Single-Family Zoning in San José

Families & Homes SJ--a citywide alliance of neighborhood and community groups opposed to the abolition of single-family residential zoning--now comprises more than 20 all-volunteer organizations, including neighborhood associations based in 8 of the city’s 10 council districts. A full list of supporting organizations can be found on the Families & Homes SJ website at: https://www.familieshomessj.org/about-us.

The council memo supporting local control of zoning is expected to come before the Rules Committee for consideration on August 11. Members of the public are urged to attend (in-person or online) and voice their support for the memo. Details of the Rules committee meeting will be posted on the Families & Homes SJ website when it becomes available.

Thousand Oaks and Lynhaven Neighborhood Associations Join Citywide Grassroots Coalition Against Opportunity Housing

August 3, 2021 - Families and Homes SJ today announced that the Thousand Oaks Neighborhood Association in San Jose City Council District 9 and the Lynhaven Neighborhood Association in Council District 1 have joined the rapidly growing number of neighborhood groups throughout the city to formally oppose the abolition of single-family residential zoning.

The Thousand Oaks Neighborhood Association conducted an online survey of residents in July which drew 351 responses. The results show 95% oppose Opportunity Housing, with only 5% in supporting it. The survey presented respondents with the Envision 2040 General Plan Task Force recommendation on Opportunity Housing, along with ten arguments for and ten arguments against the recommendation. The arguments in favor the Task Force recommendation were provided by paid advocates for citywide Opportunity Housing in San Jose. The arguments against the recommendation were provided by Families and Homes SJ, an all-volunteer organization.

The Lynhaven Neighborhood Association is the second neighborhood group in District 1 to formally declare opposition to Opportunity Housing. In May, the Eden Neighborhood Association announced its opposition to the proposed elimination of single-family zoning following a unanimous vote by its board of directors.

Rapid Expansion of Grassroots Citywide Coalition Opposed to ‘Opportunity Housing’

The citywide alliance of neighborhood and community groups opposed to the abolition of single-family residential zoning now includes more than 20 all-volunteer organizations, including neighborhood associations serving 8 of the city’s 10 council districts. The full list of organizations can be found on the Families & Homes website at: https://www.familieshomessj.org/about-us.

Later this year the San José City Council will decide whether to approve the General Plan Task Force recommendation to begin studying and drafting a binding ordinance to replace single-family zoning throughout the entire city with new zoning that permits four residential units (plus up to three accessory dwelling units or ADUs) on any single parcel without community notification or public hearings. This radical proposal—euphemistically called ‘Opportunity Housing’ by its promoters—would reduce neighborhood parking availability, increase greenhouse gas emissions, shrink tree canopy, overburden city services and infrastructure, further aggravate the city’s structural budget deficit, and degrade the quality of life that San José families have worked so hard to create—all without adding a single unit of affordable housing. This proposal, if passed, would be irreversible since state law prohibits down-zoning once a parcel has been up-zoned.

Council District 9 Neighborhood Association Joins San José Coalition Opposed to ‘Opportunity Housing’


June 29, 2021. Families and Homes SJ today announced that the Kooser Woods Coalition Neighborhood Association is the latest San José community group announcing its opposition to the abolition of single-family residential zoning in San José. The association, which represents 1,186 households in City Council District 9, has submitted a letter to Mayor Liccardo and members of the City Council urging them to reject any proposals to adopt Opportunity Housing.


Kooser Woods Coalition Neighborhood Association President Ruth Callahan also stressed the importance of giving voters a direct voice in any final decision that would lead to universal re-zoning of existing single-family neighborhoods. Concerned that a 6 member majority on the City Council could irreversibly change every neighborhood in the city, Callahan stated that “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.“


Rapid Expansion of Grass-Roots Citywide Coalition Opposed to ‘Opportunity Housing’

The Kooser Woods Coalition Neighborhood Association represents the newest member of a fast-growing, citywide grass-roots alliance of locally based neighborhood organizations that are all opposed to the abolition of single-family residential zoning in San José. A complete list of the 17 organizations—based in 8 of the city’s 10 council districts—that have joined the Families and Homes SJ coalition can be found on our website at: https://www.familieshomessj.org/about-us.

Later this year the San José City Council will decide whether to approve a General Plan Task Force recommendation to begin studying and drafting a binding ordinance to replace single-family zoning throughout the entire city with new zoning that permits four residential units (plus up to three accessory dwelling units or ADUs) on any single parcel without community notification or public hearings. This radical proposal—euphemistically called ‘Opportunity Housing’ by its promoters—would reduce neighborhood parking availability, increase greenhouse gas emissions, shrink tree canopy, overburden city services and infrastructure, further aggravate the city’s structural budget deficit, and degrade the quality of life that San José families have worked so hard to create—all without adding a single unit of affordable housing. This proposal, if passed, would be irreversible since state law prohibits down-zoning once a parcel has been up-zoned.

Council District 3 Neighborhood Association Joins San José Coalition Opposed to ‘Opportunity Housing’

June 23, 2021 - Families and Homes SJ today announced that the Northside Neighborhood Association is the latest San José community group announcing its opposition to the abolition of Single-Family Residential Zoning in San José. The Northside Neighborhood Association describes itself as representing a large and diverse neighborhood close to downtown San José. A leading civic voice within council district 3, the Northside Neighborhood Association called the proposed ‘Opportunity Housing’ plan a “distraction of valuable time and resources for the Planning Department and City (that) should be stopped as soon as possible.”

In adopting an official letter urging the city council to reject the General Plan Task Force recommendation to study Opportunity Housing, the Northside Neighborhood Association cited several troubling concerns:

  • lack of assurance that Opportunity Housing would provide any affordable housing units,

  • further exacerbate jobs-to-housing imbalance in San José,

  • increased demand for scarce city services,

  • reduction in neighborhood trees and shade,

  • lack of any historical precedent for the beneficial effects of similar ordinances nationwide,

  • increase in neighborhood traffic and parking demand,

  • likelihood that Opportunity Housing will primarily impact the most underprivileged areas of the city.

The Northside Neighborhood Association concluded that the city should continue to “provide affordable housing through new development of large complexes in newly developed areas.”

“The Northside Neighborhood Association represents residents and voters in council member and mayoral candidate Raul Peralez’s district 3,” explained Sandra Delvin, one of the founders of Families and Homes SJ. “The association letter outlines many of our key concerns with Opportunity Housing. We hope that all city council members and mayoral candidates will take note of the many negative economic, environmental and quality-of-life concerns identified by the Northside Neighborhood Association.”

Large Grass-Roots Citywide Coalition Opposed to ‘Opportunity Housing’

The Northside Neighborhood Association joins a citywide grass-roots alliance of locally based neighborhood organizations that are all opposed to the abolition of single-family residential zoning in San José. A complete list of the 16 organizations—based in 7 of the city’s 10 council districts—that have joined the Families and Homes SJ coalition can be found on our website at: https://www.familieshomessj.org/about-us.

Later this year the San José City Council will decide whether to approve a General Plan Task Force recommendation to begin studying and drafting a binding ordinance to replace single-family zoning throughout the entire city with new zoning that permits four residential units (plus up to three accessory dwelling units or ADUs) on any single parcel without community notification or public hearings. This radical proposal—euphemistically called ‘Opportunity Housing’ by its promoters—would reduce neighborhood parking availability, increase greenhouse gas emissions, shrink tree canopy, overburden city services and infrastructure, further aggravate the city’s structural budget deficit, and degrade the quality of life that San José families have worked so hard to create—all without adding a single unit of affordable housing. This proposal, if passed, would be irreversible since state law prohibits down-zoning once a parcel has been up-zoned.

Published public opinion polls confirm that a clear majority of San José voters oppose the elimination of single-family residential zoning in the city.

Where Does Your Council Member Stand on Opportunity Housing and Voter Approval?

June 17, 2021. Families & Homes San José (FHSJ) recently sent an inquiry to each of the 10 city council members as well as Mayor Liccardo. We were interested in two key issues; how they plan to vote this fall on the Envision San José 2040 Task Force recommendation to study the abolition of single-family zoning citywide, and how they feel about subjecting any proposed ordinance that eliminates single family-zoning to voter approval.

Synopsis

Council members (CM) Davis, Foley, and Mahan oppose the Task Force recommendation. Mayor Liccardo and the other council members declined to answer.

CMs Davis and Mahan support a voter referendum, CM Foley opposes it, and Mayor Liccardo and the other council members declined to answer.

Below are the questions we posed, and our perspectives on the responses.

General Plan Task Force Recommendation

“If a Council vote were held today to implement the Envision 2040 General Plan Task Force recommendation that was approved on 8/20/2020, would you vote FOR or AGAINST it?”

When the 40-member Task Force was appointed, its directive was to make recommendations regarding a proposal to implement “Opportunity Housing” (elimination of single-family zoning) in urban villages within a half mile of transit corridors. Instead of adhering to its charter, in August of 2020 the Task Force responded with a recommendation for city staff to study eliminating single-family zoning everywhere in the city. Although the Task Force recommendation has not yet come before the council, city staff has already initiated its research and has been actively promoting the concept in public meetings, podcasts, and other forums.

D6 CM Davis and D9 CM Foley both served on the Task Force and voted against the recommendation so their responses to our survey came as no surprise. Davis’ response reflects the position of four neighborhood associations in her district, including the Willow Glen Neighborhood Association which launched an online petition in opposition to Opportunity Housing. It is concerning to note however, that shortly after receiving our inquiry, CM Foley launched an online survey seeking input on several ideas that effectively eliminate single-family zoning. The survey questions suggests that CM Foley could be receptive to abolishing single-family zoning under certain conditions, or within certain parts of the city.

D10 CM Mahan’s response in opposition to the Task Force recommendation was welcome news to FHSJ, and reflective of the prevailing sentiment of D10 residents. The District 10 Leadership Coalition and the Santa Teresa Foothills Neighborhood Association, which partially falls within D10, both oppose Opportunity Housing.

D8 CM Arenas also served on the Task Force and voted in favor of the recommendation. Her position is at odds with the District 8 Community Roundtable (D8CRT) which advocates for neighborhoods in her district. The D8CRT has submitted a formal letter to Mayor Liccardo and members of council in opposition to citywide Opportunity Housing.

FHSJ is disappointed that Mayor Liccardo and CMs Jones, Jimenez, Peralez, Cohen, Carrasco, Esparza, and Arenas are evading this important issue.

Voter Approval

Would you support subjecting a proposed citywide change to single family house zoning to final approval by San José voters via a ballot referendum or initiative? (assume this would coincide with the 2022 citywide elections and not necessitate a costly special election)

Given the magnitude of this issue, the FHSJ coalition has asked the council to place the final decision on any proposed ordinance change that would affect neighborhoods currently zoned for single-family detached homes in the hands of voters via a ballot referendum.

This practice is not uncommon. As recently as 2018, the council placed a citywide measure on the ballot asking voters to reject a small housing development in the Evergreen district. The council successfully sought to counter an initiative placed on the ballot by a developer seeking voter approval of the project. Given the mayor and council were willing to ask all voters in San José to decide the fate of a zoning proposal that would affect only a small sliver of city land, FHSJ finds it unconscionable that they would object to giving voters a voice in an irreversible zoning proposal that would permanently change every neighborhood in the city.

FHSJ applauds CMs Davis and Mahan for their support and is disappointed that CM Foley opposes it. We are equally disappointed by willingness of Mayor Liccardo and CMs Jones, Jimenez, Peralez, Cohen, Carrasco, Esparza, and Arenas to suppress a direct vote on what could become the most important decision in city history.

How to Influence Your Elected Representatives

FHSJ is encouraging residents to contact Mayor Licarrdo and all members of the city council urging them to reject the Envision San José 2040 Task Force recommendation and demand a voter referendum on any proposed ordinance that would allow multi-unit development in neighborhoods presently zoned for single-family homes. We are also asking residents to speak at future council meetings when this matter is placed on the council agenda. Sign up for the FHSJ Newsletter to keep apprised of upcoming council meeting dates, times, and instructions for public comments.

Mayor Liccardo

sam.liccardo@sanjoseca.gov

Council Members

Chappie Jones, District 1 - district1@sanjoseca.gov

Sergio Jimenez, District 2 - district2@sanjoseca.gov

Raul Peralez, District 3 - district3@sanjoseca.gov

David Cohen, District 4 - district4@sanjoseca.gov

Magdalena Carrasco, District 5 - district5@sanjoseca.gov

Devora "Dev" Davis, District 6 - district6@sanjoseca.gov

Maya Esparza, District 7 - district7@sanjoseca.gov

Sylvia Arenas, District 8 - district8@sanjoseca.gov

Pam Foley, District 9 - district9@sanjoseca.gov

Matt Mahan, District 10 - district10@sanjoseca.gov

District 10 Leadership Coalition Declares Opposition too Proposed Single-Family Zoning Ban

June 10, 2021—San José, CA. The District 10 Leadership Coalition (D10LC) has issued a formal statement of opposition to a General Plan Task Force recommendation to study citywide implementation of a highly controversial de-zoning proposal its proponents call “Opportunity Housing.” In October, the City Council is expected to consider the task force recommendation that would direct staff to study and draft an ordinance replacing single-family zoning throughout the entire city with new zoning that permits up to four residential units (plus up to three accessory dwelling units or ADUs) on any single parcel without community notification or public hearings.

The mission of the D10LC is to “foster an awareness of issues that facilitates successful advocacy for safe and secure neighborhoods, improved urban services, and a desirable quality of life for current and future San José residents.” Earlier this year, the D10LC worked with the office of D10 Council Member Matt Mahan in appointing Families and Homes SJ to lead a working group focused on the preservation of single-family zoning.


The D10LC joins a citywide grass roots alliance of locally-based neighborhood organizations that are all opposed to the abolition of single-family residential zoning in San José. A complete list of organizations that have joined the Families and Homes SJ coalition--and the seven city council districts they represent--can be found on our website at: https://www.familieshomessj.org/about-us.

Council District 8 Community Group Latest to Join Citywide Coalition Opposed to ‘Opportunity Housing’ in San José

June 8, 2021. Families and Homes SJ today announced that the District 8 Community Round Table (“D8CRT”) is the latest San José community organization joining the coalition opposed to the elimination of Single-Family Residential Zoning in San José. The D8CRT represents residents and homeowners in San José council district 8 on the city’s southeast side. A leading voice within the district 8 community, the D8CRT includes three former city council candidates, a current planning commissioner, and the leaders and founders of several local advocacy groups and non-profits.

The D8CRT adopted an official letter urging the city council to reject the General Plan Task Force recommendation to study Opportunity Housing, a proposal that would eliminate single-family zoning throughout the entire city of San José. The D8CRT letter also calls for any proposal to implement Opportunity Housing be put to a citywide referendum before adoption.

“The addition of the D8CRT to our grass-roots coalition is very significant for two reasons,” explained Sandra Delvin, founder of Families and Homes SJ. “First of all, the D8CRT is the primary leadership organization within district 8, focused on research, communications, and education on issues of importance to the greater San José Council district 8 communities. Their opposition to any citywide plan to eliminate single-family zoning in San José speaks volumes about public sentiment in D8. Secondly, it expands our coalition’s political base to now include seven of our city’s ten council districts. We hope the D8 council member will now reevaluate her initial support for Opportunity Housing.”

The D8CRT joins a citywide grass roots alliance of locally-based neighborhood organizations that are all opposed to the abolition of single-family residential zoning in San José. A complete list of organizations that have joined the Families and Homes SJ coalition--and the seven city council districts they represent--can be found on our website at: https://www.familieshomessj.org/about-us.

Later this year the San José City Council will decide whether to approve a General Plan Task Force recommendation to begin studying and drafting a binding ordinance to replace single-family zoning throughout the entire city with new zoning that permits four residential units (plus up to three accessory dwelling units or ADUs) on any single parcel without community notification or public hearings. This radical proposal—euphemistically called “Opportunity Housing” by its promoters—would reduce neighborhood parking availability, increase greenhouse gas emissions, shrink tree canopy, overburden city services and infrastructure, further aggravate the city’s structural budget deficit, and degrade the quality of life that San José families have worked so hard to create—all without adding a single unit of affordable housing.

Published public opinion polls confirm that a clear majority of San José voters oppose the elimination of single-family residential zoning in the city.

Penitencia Neighborhood Association Joins Citywide Coalition to Preserve Single-Family Residential Zoning in San José

June 2, 2021 — San José, CA. Families and Homes SJ today announced that the Penitencia Neighborhood Association is joining the coalition opposing the elimination of Single-Family Residential Zoning in San José. The Penitencia Neighborhood Association represents city residents in Council District 4 in North San José.

“Ten neighborhood associations--based in a majority of San José council districts--have announced their support for single-family zoning,” explained Sandra Delvin, founder of Families and Homes SJ. “Our grass roots coalition represents homeowners and residents who are alarmed about radical proposals to eliminate single-family zoning throughout the entire city. We hope their council representatives are listening to the voices of the voters within their districts.”

The Penitencia Neighborhood Association joins a citywide grass roots alliance of sister organizations that are all opposed to the abolition of single-family residential zoning in San José. The organizations that have joined the Families and Homes SJ coalition include:

Association Council District

Berryessa Citizens Advisory Council D4

Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility Citywide

District 6 Neighborhood Leaders Group D6

Eden Neighborhood Association D1

Julian St. James Neighborhood Association D3

Naglee Park Campus Community Association D3

North Willow Glen Neighborhood Association D6

Penitencia Neighborhood Association D4

Rose Garden Neighborhood Preservation Association D6

Santa Teresa Foothills Neighborhood Association D2 & D10

Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association Citywide

Willow Glen Neighborhood Association D6


Later this year the San José City Council will decide whether to approve a General Plan Task Force recommendation to begin the process of studying and drafting a binding ordinance that will replace single-family zoning throughout the entire city with new zoning that permits four residential units (plus up to three accessory dwelling units or ADUs) on any single parcel without community notification or public hearings. This radical proposal—euphemistically called “Opportunity Housing” by its promoters—would reduce neighborhood parking availability, increase greenhouse gas emissions, shrink tree canopy, overburden city services and infrastructure, further aggravate the city’s structural budget deficit, and degrade the quality of life that San José families have worked so hard to create—all without adding a single unit of affordable housing.

Published public opinion polls confirm that a clear majority of San José voters oppose the elimination of single-family residential zoning in the city.

Residents Flag City for Disseminating Misinformation on "Opportunity Housing"

Objections force removal of biased content from City website and expose unsubstantiated zoning claims

May 24, 2021. City officials have been receiving numerous complaints from residents concerned about bias, misinformation, and political advocacy by City Planning and Housing department staff. The issue centers around a recommendation to the City Council made by the Envision 2040 General Plan Task Force in August of last year. Later this year, the Council is expected to consider directing staff to research eliminating single family zoning citywide. Although the task force recommendation to study the issue has not yet been deliberated upon or decided by the Council, residents are questioning why staff is already moving forward with the costly and resource-intensive project without authorization or direction.

Staff Political Advocacy

Staff representatives have been appearing at numerous public forums to share information and advocate for the single-family zoning elimination proposal, marketed as “Opportunity Housing” by special interest groups, without having completed the necessary research or even receiving authorization to conduct a research project. Even more surprising, San Jose Spotlight reported in April that staff has already begun analysis and has developed a five-step process to draft an ordinance for the Council to vote on.

Political advocacy activity by staff members representing the City of San Jose prompted a number of residents to speak at a recent Rules and Governance Committee meeting to voice their objections. In addition to concerns about inappropriate public engagements, speakers cited specific examples of bias and misinformation perpetrated by City officials.

One example cited was an episode of a podcast series hosted by the City Housing Department called “Dwellings.” Episode 2 of the series featured an interview with an executive of a special interest advocacy organization. Shortly after objections were raised at the Rules Committee meeting, the podcast was removed from the City website.

Misleading Zoning Statements

Several residents called attention to an incredulous statement attributed to Deputy Planning Director Michael Brilliot in a San Jose Spotlight “fact check” article published in March. Mr. Brilliot reportedly claimed that a proposed ordinance change that would allow a fourplex and up to 3 Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) to be built on parcels presently zoned for single family houses would not constitute the elimination of single-family zoning.

Another concern raised involves a grossly misleading and unsubstantiated claim that “94% of residential land in San Jose is zoned for single family use.” The claim has been widely disseminated by paid employees of well-funded “Opportunity Housing” special interest groups, several of which are controlled by board members and wealthy funders that reside outside the City of San Jose.

A grassroots coalition of residents and neighborhood groups across the city called Families and Homes San Jose (SJ) recently met with Planning Department representatives to investigate the validity and methodology used to arrive at the figure.

It was determined that there are discrepancies between land use designations in the General Plan and what is reflected in City zoning maps. Moreover, there are inconsistencies in how the term “single family” dwelling units is applied in different documents. In some cases, the term is applied to parcels that in fact contain and allow multi-family dwelling units. It also came to light that much of the land designated as “single family” includes non-residential uses such as streets, school campuses, churches, and other quasi-public uses. An accurate and documented calculation of land use zoning percentages does not exist, however planning experts close to the issue agree the figure is substantially lower than what special interest groups such as Silicon Valley at Home have been perpetuating.

A more meaningful way of measuring the allocation of residential land within the city is to examine the distribution of residential parcels. According to research from the Manhattan Group, single family detached houses comprise just 54.3% of San Jose’s housing stock, substantially below the average for greater Santa Clara County and neighboring San Mateo County.

Source: Manhattan Institute Urban Policy Report, 2018

Families and Homes SJ continues to monitor activities and content produced by unelected city employees who are required to maintain neutrality and professionalism when representing the City of San Jose. As instances of bias or misinformation are discovered, the group vows to continue raising objections with the City Manager’s office, Mayor Liccardo, and the City Council. It also encourages its coalition of residents and neighborhood associations to do the same.

Eden Neighborhood Association Joins Call to Preserve Single Family Zoning in San José - Grass Roots Coalition Grows to Eleven City-Based Organizations

May 18, 2021 - San José, CA. By an unanimous vote of its board, the Eden Neighborhood Association, announced its opposition to the proposed elimination of Single-Family Residential Zoning in San José. The Eden Neighborhood Association represents residents and homeowners in West San José located in Council District 1.


Later this year the San José City Council will decide whether to approve the General Plan Task Force recommendation to consider replacing single-family zoning throughout the entire city with a new zoning definition that permits up to four residential units (plus up to three accessory dwelling units or ADUs) on any single parcel without neighborhood review. Under the catch phrase ‘Opportunity Housing’, this radical proposal would reduce neighborhood parking availability, shrink tree canopy, overburden city services, further aggravate the city’s structural budget deficit, and degrade the quality of life that San José families have worked so hard to create—all without adding a single unit of affordable housing in the city.


The Eden Neighborhood Association joins a citywide grass roots alliance of sister organizations that are all opposed to the elimination of single-family residential zoning in San José. The organizations that have already joined the Families and Homes SJ coalition include:

  • Berryessa Citizens Advisory Council

  • Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility

  • District 6 Neighborhood Leaders Group

  • Julian St. James Neighborhood Association

  • Naglee Park Campus Community Association

  • North Willow Glen Neighborhood Association

  • Rose Garden Neighborhood Preservation Association

  • Santa Teresa Foothills Neighborhood Association

  • Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association

  • Willow Glen Neighborhood Association

Families and Homes SJ is proud that the organizations backing its call to preserve single-family residential zoning are a true grass roots coalition. 100% of the membership, leadership, and financial support represented by the neighborhood groups in this coalition comes from within the city of San José. This grass roots effort is in sharp contrast with the outside groups pushing to eliminate single-family zoning in San José. Many of the organizations opposed to single-family zoning have membership and leadership based in surrounding cities, including Los Gatos, Palo Alto, Atherton and Los Altos. Unlike San José, these cities are not considering similar measures to eliminate single-family zoning on their home turf. And unlike Families and Homes SJ, these outside organizations opposed to single-family zoning are backed by financial support from Facebook, Google and some of the most powerful corporations and property developers in the region.


Public opinion polls confirm that a clear majority of San José voters oppose the elimination of single-family residential zoning in the city.

Four Additional Neighborhood Associations Join the Call to Preserve Single Family Zoning in San José

April 28, 2021. Growing concern about the City of San José’s pending consideration of a proposal to eliminate single family zoning is continuing to spawn rapidly growing opposition.

Today Families and Homes SJ is pleased to announce the most recent additions to the list of San José neighborhood groups that have formally issued statements of opposition.

The Naglee Park Campus Community Association, District 6 Neighborhood Leaders Group, North Willow Glen Neighborhood Association, and Julian St. James Neighborhood Association are all urging Mayor Liccardo and the City Council to firmly embrace the preservation of single family zoning and oppose the General Plan Task Force recommendation that would direct staff to invest scarce resources to study what is misleadingly referred to as “Opportunity Housing.’”

These organizations have echoed concerns raised by other neighborhood associations about the plan to eliminate single family zoning in San José, including:

  • The impact on the City’s structural budget deficit caused by further reducing the jobs-to-employed resident ratio

  • The unpredictable fiscal impact of upgrading localized infrastructure, parkland, police and fire services

  • Socio-economic impact of replacing entry-level priced “fixer upper” houses with multiplex market rate rental housing units.

  • Environmental impacts, including loss of tree canopy and water-permeable landscapes, as well as increased GHG emissions that would result from increased Vehicle Miles Traveled

Other neighborhood associations and public interest groups that have joined the call for preserving single family zoning include the Santa Teresa Foothills Neighborhood Association, Berryessa Citizens Advisory Council, Rose Garden Neighborhood Preservation Association, Willow Glen Neighborhood Association, Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility, and Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association.

San José Organizations Oppose Ban on Single Family Zoning

April 2, 2021. San José residents are becoming increasingly aware of the push to adopt “Opportunity Housing”, a movement to abolish single family zoning citywide. On March 8, 2021, Families and Homes San José announced numerous local neighborhood groups announcing opposition. Santa Teresa Foothills Neighborhood Association (STFNA), Berryessa Citizens Advisory Council (BCAC) and the Willow Glen Neighborhood Association were the initial groups in opposition. Additionally, various Bay Area organizations expressed their opposition.


Recently, the Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility expressed deep concern to Mayor Liccardo about enacting a citywide elimination of single-family residential zoning. Their webpage contains a sample letter to voice your own concerns to local elected leaders.


Joining other San José neighborhood associations, the Rose Garden Neighborhood Association, also opposed the rezoning. The association highlights “[...] the need for housing but we also know that it is possible to both expand the cities inventory of homes and dwellings while still keeping the historical value in the established older neighborhoods.”


As a reminder, the Willow Glen Neighborhood Association has also launched a petition where San Jose residents can express their desire to preserve single family zoning directly to Mayor Liccardo and members of the City Council.

San Jose Neighborhood Associations Oppose Ban on Single Family Zoning

March 8, 2021. As San Jose residents become more aware of a radical proposal to abolish single family zoning everywhere in the city, a growing number of local neighborhood groups are rising up in opposition. A recommendation by the Envision San Jose 2040 General Plan Task Force, referred to by proponents as “Opportunity Housing”, would allow a fourplex and up to 3 Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) to be built on any single family residential lot in the City of San Jose.

The Santa Teresa Foothills Neighborhood Association (STFNA) is the latest neighborhood group to publicly oppose citywide Opportunity Housing. In a March 3, 2021 letter to Mayor Liccardo and members of the City Council, the STFNA notes the proposal would “directly conflict with numerous goals and policies of the General Plan and undermine the decisions of thousands of residents to live in an environment that reflects their priorities.” The STFNA Board of Directors is encouraging residents to let the City Council Members that represent the neighborhood (Matt Mahan, D10 and Sergio Jimenez, D2) know their views.

The STFNA announcement follows a formal statement in opposition issued by the Berryessa Citizens Advisory Council (BCAC) last month. In a February 16, 2021 letter addressed to D4 Council Member David Cohen, BCAC notes that the proposal would exacerbate the city’s financial challenges caused by the housing to jobs imbalance, add further stress on aging infrastructure, and violate the city’s promise to those who purchased homes in neighborhoods zoned for single family housing. The letter also calls for voters to have an opportunity weigh in at the ballot box if the Council decides to allow further study on the matter.

The Willow Glen Neighborhood Association was the first group to formally take a stand issuing its position paper in August of last year. The association has also launched a petition where San Jose residents can express their desire to preserve single family zoning directly to Mayor Liccardo and members of the City Council.