San Jose Proposes to Convert Schools into Teacher Housing

via David Sawyer on Flickr

San Jose Proposes to Convert Schools into Teacher Housing

An Original Blog by Jesamine D.The Code Solution

Housing in California is a crisis that not only exists today, but has also been drastically increasing over time. Los Angeles Times has even noted that 4 out of 10 Californians are living in poverty. this increasing risk places an impact on those that live in the neighborhood including parents, their children and even the teachers at nearby schools. This is especially true for teachers in San Jose’s rising housing cost neighborhoods.

An Attempt for Fair Housing

In midst of the housing crisis, the Northern California District proposed a plan to convert nearby schools into low-income housing for teachers. The district originally proposed to convert 9 properties (including schools and district offices) into housing for nearby teachers in the area. This would be set in place in order to help the many teachers that often live far away from their schools due to soaring housing costs. Many teachers face up to 4 hours daily when commuting to and from work.

Neighborhood Backlash

Though a seemingly supportive proposal, nearby residents felt otherwise. Hundreds of residents voiced their opinion on the matter. In fact, the community back-lashed the overall proposal, stating that by removing these school landmarks and converting them into low-income housing, would decrease the value of its neighborhood.

“It is ridiculous,” former Leland football coach Mike Carrozzo said of the proposal. “You’re going to build low-income housing in one of the more prosperous areas in the Bay Area, which also happens to be the furthest corner of the district for district teachers. It’s crazy.”

Moving School Locations

San Jose’s Unified School District further noted that the housing would not only benefit nearby teachers, but other school employees as well. In the proposal were suggested conversions of the beloved Leland High School and Bret Harte High School in the well-known Almaden Valley, a prestige and wealthy community. Additionally, schools consistently run into the problem of having to hire and retain employees do to long commutes and the rising housing costs near the school.

Declining Enrollment & Employment

The eight schools found in the proposal would later be transferred to another area, if given the opportunity to build for teacher housing. Schools that were brought into the proposal were originally picked due to declining enrollment and employment. Like the long and tedious commute that teachers face daily, parents also have a long commute when dropping off their kids at school. Not only does this affect their kids grades and attendance, but the parents attendance at work, as well. Furthermore, if given the opportunity to build the housing, the schools wouldn’t be shut down at all. Instead, these schools would be moved into other locations.

The Push for Teacher Housing

A proposal to defeat San Jose’s housing problem only brought more problems among the community itself. Though this was freshly proposed, other communities have begun to make an influence out of this, as well. A great example of the like would be Palo Alto’s experimental teacher housing, where they received additional funding to support the project.

Affordable-Housing Developments

Over 200 teachers are replaced yearly in San Jose’s school district. If supportive teacher housing isn’t in place, will this jeopardize the future of our schools? Whether it takes converting schools or some other plan, something must be done to save these high-risk schools.

An Original Blog by Jesamine D.The Code Solution

Questions or need assistance? Contact us immediately – We’re here to help.

Palo Alto Affordable Housing Wins RARE Zone Change

3705 El Camino Real by Pyatok Architecture & Urban Design - Palo Alto Online

https://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2018/09/26/affordable-housing-project-scores-zoning-victory-in-palo-alto

(Above image): 3705 El Camino Real Affordable Housing Development in Palo Alto by Pyatok Architecture + Urban Design | Source: Palo Alto Online

Palo Alto Affordable Housing Wins Rare Zone Change

Original Blog by Jesamine D. | The Code Solution

After 7 long years, Palo Alto’s affordable housing developments have received a rare zone change from the Planning and Transportation Commission.

The Camino Real Development

The Commission will apply the key zone change to Palo Alto’s non-profit housing on 3705 Camino Real beginning this 2018. In addition, this low-income project will soon house residents that make in income of 30 to 60 percent of the overall area’s median. With 65 units in place, 30 of the units will also be designated for residents with disability.

Overcoming Project Discouragement

Though commissioners were skeptical about the zone change, city councilors went ahead and created it anyway. With a 7-2 vote, council agreed to pursue the “Affordable Housing Combing District.” These were initially created to promote more low-income housing projects with higher level allowance, greater density, as well as less-strict parking restrictions. When word of the new change was spread throughout town, many emails urging to push the affordable housing were received. Others were weary that the zone’s overlay would affect other neighboring areas, as well. But – given the 100% dedication to the zone’s purpose of fulfilling affordable housing, everyone was soon on board.

“I don’t think we should be treating housing as a luxury, and we’re far behind on our housing production as a state,” Monk said. “We are seeing people living on the streets in numbers that just keep growing. We do need to do our part to address that problem.”

Failed Projects

Palo Alto’s newest affordable-housing project will be the first of its kind since the 45-unit Treehouse development on Charleston Road in 2011. Additionally, the city attempted to build another 60 units for low-income seniors and 12 single family homes in 2013. Unfortunately, the council-approved zoning was overturned by city voters.

Creating More Affordable Housing

Other neighborhoods should see Palo Alto’s rare zone change as motivation to continue building these much-needed affordable-housing projects. Even after having the proposal of the housing be overturned or discouraged, the low-income development proved to be worthy.

Questions or need assistance? Contact us, we’re here to help.

Original Blog by Jesamine D. | The Code Solution

The Los Angeles Parking Problem

free stock image

The Los Angeles Parking Problem

When people think of California, they often think sunshine, beaches, movie stars and of course, the famous Los Angeles traffic. No matter how great the sunshine and breeze may feel, no one likes getting stuck on the freeway during that morning / evening rush hour. What’s worse than that? Coming home only to spend 30 minutes to an hour on finding parking. So, why is this Los Angeles parking problem still present?

Population

A study of a 15-block area in downtown L.A. revealed that people “cruising” for scarce parking cumulatively drive an extra 3,600 miles per day. With almost 4 million Angelenos filling the city, it’s no wonder a daily commute consists of delays and traffic stops. With so many people coming into the city and getting around, catering to the large community will be difficult, especially since California’s roadways were designed back in the day – making it a mess for Angelenos now.

Environment

Apart from having too many people in Los Angeles, the environment itself is unable to accommodate our ever-growing needs. A great example would be the Google headquarters in Cupertino, California. Though the major tech company has over 14,000 employees, the city of Cupertino only allows 11,000 parking spots. This is just one of the many examples of Los Angeles development planning gone wrong. In addition, over 40% of the city is strictly reserved for parking, rather than the needed roadways. With many cars and individuals to cater to, what can the city do to relieve this issue?

Development

Let’s face it, attempting to control city developments was a clear mistake. Now even though much needed developments are missing, other options are still available – like automated parking systems, underground parking structures, low-income housing projects near metro areas, etc. Making room for structures like these will provide more room and ease for locals. Though this would be nice, executing an efficient way to build these brings forth another issue. Part of the development limitations are imposed as a single parking spot adds 12.5% to the price of a housing unit, while two spots add 25%. Additionally, with land costs at a premium, many developers need to add floors or dig underground just to add parking, which can get pricey. This Los Angeles parking problem makes housing less affordable, less favorable to build and contributes to the overall Los Angeles housing crisis.

Solution

For those who are wondering what can be done, a solution may take some time. For developers who are interested in learning more about building autonomous parking structures, contact the Automated Parking Solution for assistance. For any other information regarding building or planning your development, contact The Code Solution – a premiere architecture, coding and planning firm in Los Angeles.

Original Blog by Jesamine D.

Questions or need assistance? Contact us – We’re here to help.

Costa Hawkins and Voting NO on Prop 10

Activists disappointed after an Assembly committee blocked a bill to
lift statewide restrictions on types rent control demonstrate in
California’s Capitol on Thursday. (Katy Murphy - Bay Area News Group)
source: mercury news

Costa Hawkins and Voting NO on Prop 10

In 1995, California passed a statute allowing landlords to charge “market” rent whenever a new tenant enters a lease. The Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act permits this rent alteration, just as long as written notice is properly given. Though the Rent Adjustment Commission hasn’t reported more than 5% of rent increase since 1985, rent prices would still increase anywhere from 3-5%. This includes potential increase in single-family homes, most condominiums and multi-family rental units that were built after 1995.

Los Angeles Housing Crisis

A large amount of Los Angeles residents spend more than half of their income on rent. With housing rates this extreme, it’s now evident why one in four LA residents are living in poverty. Unfortunately, the Act only increases the risk in Los Angeles’ current housing crisis. Though the need for affordable housing is apparent, the Act severely impacted a 2009 court decision,which would’ve required developers to include affordable housing units in their resident projects.

Restoring Affordable Housing

The Court responded by stating Los Angeles’ violated the Costa Hawkins Act by allowing lower rent rates for newly constructed units. In contrast of this, Governor Jerry Brown (thankfully) signed a bill that restored the permission to pursue building affordable units in new rental developments.

Pursuing Low-Income Residential Projects

While the demand for affordable housing continues to grow, new housing developments are increasing at an even slower pace. This sufficient lack leaves California’s rate of new housing projects short of demand. Even for homeowners who are subleasing even a single room in their residence, they may still be subject to increases in their rent. Though repealing an act will take time to display results, it all starts with a “no.”

What is Prop 10?

Prop 10 is a statute that was presented to California courts when determining whether local governments should step into place for adopting rent control ordinances. The proposition would repeal the Costa Hawkins Act, reversing many of its requirements. In addition, the proposition includes flaws such as not increase housing for affordable spending, will not force local communities to build affordable housing and finally, the prop will not provide any instant relief for those facing higher housing rates.

“NO” on Prop. 10

When getting your ballot in the mail, it’s important to understand what each prop represents before voting. For example, prop 10 provide doesn’t provide protection for renters, seniors, veterans, the disabled, nor does the prop provide affordable housing or rent rollbacks, either. Overall, renters will immediately feel the effects of prop 10’s harmful output. Having such in effect will cause landlords to convert their apartments into potential condominiums, increasing rent prices and vacation opportunities. This will push many of California’s renters in a state of “where do I go now?” To better our community, we can stop this reduction of affordable and middle-class housing by voting “no” on prop 10.

Original Blog by Jesamine D.


Questions or need assistance?
Contact us immediately, we’re here to help.

A Beginner’s Guide to TOC

TOC

TOC Apartments in North Santa Fe, by Community Housing Works (CHW)

Discussing Transit-Oriented Communities (TOC)

Living in Los Angeles has its ups and downs. For one, anyone who is a Los Angeles native knows all about the frequent congestion in traffic. When sitting at a complete standstill on the freeway, we’ve all often thought, “where did all these people come from?” Moreover, “where do all these people live?” As California keeps growing, the need for proper housing accommodations keeps rising. Given this urgency, the city of Los Angeles has passed an ordinance to benefit residential developers in an effort to provide more housing for all.

Intent

Overall, the ordinance gives developers the opportunity to create a much larger-scale project than what is normally allowed. The underlying hope is to build more affordable housing in close proximity to major transit stops so that there will be a lesser need for Angelinos to rely on their cars for traversing the city. This opportunity should push investors to build these larger projects, all while benefiting the community’s current affordable housing need. Every lot within a TOC Affordable Housing Incentive Area will be determined by the shortest distance between any point on the lot and the major transit stop. In addition, the developer has a responsibility to provide documentation which states their desired project is within a TOC-permitted area. Development of the residency will take effect once the city has given its approval.

TOC Incentive Requirements

In order to completely satisfy Los Angeles’ ordinance requirements, several qualifying factors must be met. These are the nuts and bolts of getting a TOC project approved by the city:

1. On-Site Affordable Housing – Every tier will have On-Site Restricted Affordable Housing, as determined by the Housing Development. The minimum number of affordable units will be determined by the overall number of units in the final project. These On-Site Affordable Housing Units will be available at the below percentage rates:

Tier 1

    1. : 8% of these units should be available to those of the Extremely Low Income (ELI) households, or 11% of these units for Very Low-Income households, or 20% of the units for Lower Income households.

Tier 2

    1. : 9% for the Extremely Low-Income households, or 12% for Very Low-Income households, or 21% for Low Income households.

Tier 3

    1. : 10% for the Extremely Low-Income households, 14% for Very Low-Income households, or 23% for Lower-Income households; and

Tier 4

    : 11% for Extremely Low-Income Households, 15% Very Low-Income households, or 25% for Lower-Income households.

2. One-Half Mile from Major Transit Stop – This is perhaps one of the most crucial elements when planning a development with TOC-supplied incentives. Each residential project must be within 2,640 square feet from a major transit stop. When referring to bus stops, such development must be within at least two major bus stops. This does not include bus stops along the same road, as it must be perpendicular.

TOC Tier, TOC Guidelines, TOC, TOC Los Angeles

TOC guidelines by City of Los Angeles

3. Housing Replacement – In order for the development to be effective, such must be able to fulfill the applicable housing replacement requirements set forth by the California Government Code Section 65915(c)(3). In addition, prior to obtaining the building permit, the Department of Housing and Community Investment must first verify you meet the affordable housing replacement needs.
4. Density and Development Bonus Restrictions – Under the California Government Code Section 65915, the housing development under TOC compliance is not permitted to receive other density or development bonuses. This includes restriction from any other State or local programs that typically provide such development incentives. Lastly, these restrictions apply to bonuses or incentives that would grant additional units through a General Plan Amendment, Zone Change, or Height District Change. Affordable housing development bonuses within a Transit Neighborhood Plan, Specific Plan, overlay district, or Community Plan Implementation Overlay (CPIO), will not be permitted to request nor obtain, either.

5. Base and Additional Incentives – Housing Developments involved with the TOC ordinance are able to receive Base Incentives, or “Base Units,” which are the maximum allowed density for its zoning. On-Site Restricted Affordable Housing Units may also be applicable to the affordable housing units in its section. For more detailed information on the allowable incentives, please refer to the city of Los Angeles’ TOC Guidelines.

6. Projects Adhering to Labor Standards – For projects that have accommodated the required labor standards, the grant of two additional incentives (or a total of five incentives) may be permitted.
7. 100% Affordable Housing Developments – An increase in tier will be permitted to Eligible Housing Development buildings that contain 100% On-Site Affordable Housing Units.

TOC Tiers

The incentives offered to developers increases dependant upon how close, or hor how far a parcel is from a particular type of transit. The specifics are detailed in the chart above. Closer proximity will put a project in a higher tier, thus allowing for the development of a larger, more dense structure. When exploring your options for a TOC project, it’s important to understand what tier specifications are available. In order for your development to build efficiently, it’s important to set your project in an R3 tier (at minimum). Though R4 tiers are preferred, establishing such in any Tier 4 may be nearly impossible. The higher the Tier the better. Tier 3’s may be of great benefit to developers, especially given this factor will allow a maximum of 0.5 spaces per unit, regardless of bedroom count.

There are two main base incentives that have the largest impact on the size and scope of a TOC project. They are an increase in the number of dwelling units (density), and and increase in the buildable square footage (floor area ratio, or, FAR). Once you break it down, it may look like this:

    1. Tier 1 – 50% increase in density / 40% increase in FAR
    1. Tier 2 – 60% increase in density / 45% increase in FAR
    1. Tier 3 – 70% increase in density / 50% increase in FAR
    Tier 4 – 80% increase in density / 55% increase in FAR

In-Lieu Fee

For developers to begin executing the TOC residency, they must build units off-site or on-site, obtain and preserve at-risk (affordable) properties, or pay an in-lieu fee. As stated in Measure JJJ, the in-lieu fee would be 1.1 multiplied by the number of units provided by the developer, then multiplied by the region’s “affordability gap.” The development’s number of bedrooms and other underlying factors must coincide with the in-lieu fees the project. Such in-lieu fees would consist of the following:

$43,695

    1. per studio unit

$46,350

    1. per one-bedroom unit

$51,313

    1. per two-bedroom unit

$56,965

    per three-bedroom unit

The above fees in-lieu pertain to 5% of units that are designated for extremely low-income and low-income households, thus granting the lower fee amount. In contrast, for projects that are being executed in regions where residential use was not previously permitted, the in-lieu fees are as follows:

$62,826

    1. per studio unit

$66,585

    1. per one-bedroom unit

$73,704

    1. per two-bedroom unit

$81,817

    per three-bedroom unit

Los Angeles Transit-Oriented Communities

Overall, investors and developers in Los Angeles should be aware of the city’s great incentive. Los Angeles itself is a city that keeps growing and growing. With the extreme housing need filling our community, it’s important developers consider a residential project that will not only benefit their development, but benefit the community, as well.

Original Blog by Jesamine D.

For any questions you may have, or for assistance in planning your TOC project, contact us immediately – we’re here to help.

Predicting the State of Real Estate in 2020

The Code Solution is pleased to feature another guest post from our friends at The Llenrock GroupThe following post was originally published on Llenrock Blog. 

With 2016 coming to an end, it’s time to start looking at what the future of real estate holds. Thankfully, PWC has done a lot of the work for us. In a recent report, PWC detailed what can be expected in the real estate market of 2020, with our own spin of course!

Read more

5 Benefits of Augmented Reality in Retail and Industrial CRE

The Code Solution is excited to showcase another guest post from our friends at The Llenrock GroupThe following post was originally published on Llenrock Blog. 

Since the recent Pokemon Go phenomenon, everyone has been writing about the relationship between augmented reality and commercial real estate. We were recently interviewed by CoStar News on how we see augmented reality helping (and hurting) various sectors of commercial real estate. Since I’m such a nerd about studying the multi-faceted relationship between technology, society, and the CRE industry, why not reclaim our expertise in a top 5 post?

Read more

Should your next building be smart?

When I first heard about automated homes, also known as smart homes, the Disney movie Smart House immediately came to mind. For those of you who have seen the movie and all its cheesiness, you will remember that it was about a boy who programmed their smart home to be a surrogate mother, and it didn’t go so well.

After 17 years, the technology that didn’t go so well for the family in Smart House, is gaining increased popularity with homeowners, renters, real estate developers, and landlords too. For this reason, I am here to tell you why smart buildings are awesome, and not at all scary.

Read more

Let's Talk