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NOT IN MY DOWNTOWN!

Los Gatos Towns Affordable Housing Segregation Plan


Los Gatos, in order to provide affordable housing so as to meet its fair share of regional housing market, as required to certify its planning package, has elected to avoid re-zoning and instead adopted the AHOZ approach. Exhibit 1 clearly illustrates how the Towns Planning Commission is proposing to distribute affordable housing units: The Commission wants the sliver of land north of SR-85 (representing about 3% of the Towns land) to capture the great majority of new units at extremely low, very low, low, and moderate income levels; in this already dense area, the plan adds affordable housing at a rate of nearly 900 new units per square mile. In the area immediately to the south of SR-85 and north of Lark Avenue (representing roughly 19% of the Towns land), the Commission proposes about 100 new affordable units per square mile The Commission leaves the remaining 78% of Los Gatos land with ZERO affordable units.

Exhibit 1: The Towns Affordable Housing Segregation Plan Overview


Showing Planning Commissions proposed distribution of total extremely low, very low, low, and moderate category housing, per Affordable Housing Overlay Zone (AHOZ) specifications

Distribution of Land
North of 85 3%

Distribution of New Affordable Housing


South of Lark 0%

South of Lark 78%


South of 85, North of Lark 19%
South of 85, North of Lark 39%

North of 85 61%

Sources: Analysis of Planning Commission Staff Reports and U.S. Census (as reported by citi -data.com); land distribution is approximate Sources: Analysis of Planning Commission Staff Reports and U.S. Census (as reported by citi -data.com); land distribution is approximate

The imbalance in the Planning Commissions proposal is not a mere geographical slight-of-hand but reflects a demographic divide of the Town, which the Commission appears keen to deepen.

Not In My Downtown / December 2012

As Exhibit 2 illustrates, the Towns Segregation Plan keeps future Affordable Housing away from the relatively high (or even medium) income sections of Los Gatos, and relegates future development to the lowest-income section of Town (as measured by median per-capita income).

Exhibit 2: The Towns Affordable Housing Segregation Plan Along Income Distribution (1)
Showing Planning Commissions proposed distribution of total low, very low, and extremely low category housing; the percentages shown are the proportion of affordable housing proposed through AHOZ in each particular area

Sources: Planning Commission Staff Reports and U.S. Census (as reported by citi -data.com)

Exhibit 3 reinforces the same observation of bias in the distribution proposed by the Planning Commission, when arrayed against median family income. The Commissions segregation plan is bound to increase income disparity across the Town, accentuating the spread between more- and less-affluent neighborhoods.

Not In My Downtown / December 2012

Exhibit 3: The Towns Affordable Housing Segregation Plan Along Income Distribution (2)
Showing Planning Commissions proposed distribution of total low, very low, and extremely low category housing ; the percentages shown are the proportion of affordable housing proposed through AHOZ in each particular area

Sources: Planning Commission Staff Reports and U.S. Census (as reported by citi -data.com)

Exhibit 4 illustrates an additional dimension of bias in the proposal: The planned units are highly dense the plans for Courthouse and Southbay (including all the incentives and concessions approved by the Commission) create an average of more than 37 units per acre, or a rate of nearly 24,000 households per square mile. Yet the Planning Commission proposes to segregate this addition into what is already the DENSET section of town while most of Los Gatos continues at a density of less than 1,500 households per square mile. In other words, the Commission ensures keeping the low-income housing away from the sparsely-populated sections of Los Gatos.

Not In My Downtown / December 2012

Exhibit 4: The Towns Affordable Housing Segregation Plan Along Population Density
Showing Planning Commissions proposed distribution of total low, very low, and extremely low category housing; the percentages shown are the proportion of affordable housing proposed through AHOZ in each particular area

Sources: Planning Commission Staff Reports and U.S. Census (as reported by citi -data.com)

Finally, Exhibit 5 illustrates what may be arguably the most unfortunate bias built into the Planning Commissions proposal. The Towns Segregation Plan keeps future Affordable Housing away from the areas of Los Gatos which are near-uniform from a racial diversity standpoint; while relegating the affordable housing units to the most racially-diverse sections of Town.

Not In My Downtown / December 2012

Exhibit 5: The Towns Affordable Housing Segregation Plan along Racial Diversity
Showing Planning Commissions proposed distribution of total low, very low, and extremely low category housing ; the percentages shown are the proportion of affordable housing proposed through AHOZ in each particular area

Sources: Planning Commission Staff Reports and U.S. Census (as reported by citi -data.com)

Actions speak louder than words; one needs to judge programs by their outcomes. The outcomes targeted by the current proposal are very clear: The Planning Commissions proposal segregates low-income housing primarily into the remote parts of Los Gatos, counter to the spirit of local development. While doing so, it (1) exacerbates income disparity, by keeping future affordable housing away from affluent parts of town (2) worsens congestion, by keeping future affordable ho using away from the less-dense parts of town (3) introduces a community divide, by maintaining future affordable housing away from the predominantly-white neighborhoods of town

Not In My Downtown / December 2012