Senator Wiener’s Streamlining Bill Invoked to Bring New 50% Affordable, 2400 Unit Housing Project to Silicon Valley

Project on Vallco shopping site in Cupertino invokes SB 35, which requires the city to approve new project that includes 1200 affordable homes within 180 days
March 28, 2018

San Francisco –  Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) released the following statement after a developer announced they will invoke SB 35, a streamlining bill authored by Senator Wiener, and in doing so create 2400 units – including 1200 units of affordable housing – in Cupertino. The project is located at the Vallco shopping center, where a developer has been blocked for years from moving a mixed-use project forward. A previous iteration of the project proposed only 800 housing units, which means SB 35 is leading to triple the number of housing units in Cupertino.

“Silicon Valley is at the heart of our economy, and it needs to be at the heart of our region’s housing production,” said Senator Wiener. “Tripling the number of housing units, while also making 50% of them affordable shows that when we streamline housing production, we can make real changes that create new, affordable homes for thousands of people. These will be people who will no longer have to commute long distances for their work, and who can live closer to their families and friends. To bring down housing costs and prevent the continued displacement of people in our communities, we simply need more homes in the Bay Area, and in California, particularly near major job centers. This new proposal is a great step forward.”

This is the second project that had been stuck in the development process that invoked SB 35 by offering 50% affordable housing units. Earlier this month, a project on 4th Street in Berkeley announced it would be seeking a streamlined approval under SB 35.

Under SB 35, if cities fall short of their state-required housing goals, then approval of projects in those cities are streamlined if they meet a set of objective criteria, including affordability, and if they meet labor standards. The streamlining applies only to the income levels that aren’t being built – so if a city is building sufficient market-rate units but not enough low-income units, the project must include at least 50% low-income units to qualify for streamlined approval. Streamlining, under SB 35, means that cities cannot subject projects to discretionary approvals, such as conditional use, and that CEQA does not apply.