San Jose City Council to Vote on Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority Transit Land for More Affordable Bay Area Housing

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) — Every city in the Bay Area is under pressure to build more affordable housing, and on Tuesday the San Jose City Council is expected to vote on a new VTA plan at its meeting.

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority is considering using additional land from some of its light rail stations as new mixed-use housing.

If approved, the affordable housing project would not only help San Jose meet its housing needs by building 328 apartments, but it would also allow VTA to raise much-needed additional operating funds.

It would take seven and a half acres to VTA’s Blossom Hill light rail station.

In addition to the 328 apartments, it will also build commercial space and a community hall, as part of a vision to put housing and jobs where people would have easy access to public transit.

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VTA says it could raise $30 million by leasing 140 acres of surplus land it owns in seven cities.

With declining ridership of VTA bus service and light rail transit, generating revenue is critical to staying afloat.

“It can pay for upgrades, connections, better connections to stations, some capital upgrades that can provide basic maintenance and operations for the system,” said Carolyn Gonot, VTA’s chief executive.

“It’s always a good time to build a transit-oriented development, certainly in Silicon Valley, it’s absolutely always a good time to build housing,” said Alex Shoor, executive director of Catalyze SV, who supports the project. “We need this so badly, the housing crisis has unfortunately only gotten worse over the past two years, it has been amplified due to the pandemic, so every housing unit we can get in our community is important .”

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The first step is the city’s approval of the environmental impact report and zoning, so that the developer can proceed.

The San Jose City Council is expected to vote on it Tuesday at its 1:30 p.m. meeting.

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