NOTE: originally posted by Adina Levin at greencaltrain.com. Republished with permission.
Earlier this month, Sunnyvale City Council passed an update of the Land Use and Transportation Element of its General Plan, by a 6:1 vote. The plan anticipates adding commercial space for 42,000 jobs and 15,000 housing units through 2035, worsening the jobs/housing balance from 1.44 to 1.73.
At the same time, City Council passed a motion to support further study of additional tools that could improve the jobs/housing balance, due to concern about the housing shortage and affordability. Most community comments at the meeting supported the growth in the plan but wanted to see more housing and an improved jobs/housing balance.
The City Council maintained a policy to create “village centers” – walkable, mixed-use areas which had drawn mixed community response. Some valued opportunities for more housing in increasingly walkable places, while others were concerned about density and traffic. Council supported a requirement that proposed Village Center proposals have community outreach before review by the Planning Commission. Council also added consideration of the southwest corner of Sunnyvale/Saratoga as a village center which would be served by the new, frequent VTA 523 service.
Overall, the plan envisions to have growth concentrated in focused areas such as the Downtown, Lawrence Station Area, and some growth in the Village Centers. Over time, Sunnyvale has been strengthening its goals to have more sustainable transportation and fewer car trips in its change areas, including a new policy in an early adoption phase to have transportation demand management for residential developments.
On April 11, City Council is expected to review a revised draft of the Land Use and Transportation Element (LUTE) which is a chapter of the city’s General Plan. The objective is to move Sunnyvale towards being a “Complete Community” that is less dependent on automobiles. Major strategies include:
Village Centers: modify existing shopping districts to include housing. This will increase the housing supply at village centers and expand commercial opportunities for businesses there. Village center will be located near transit lines, improving the odds that residents can commute without driving.
Jobs/Housing Balance: Sunnyvale will add proportionately more jobs than housing. Under present conditions, Sunnyvale has 1.44 jobs per housing unit. By 2035, Sunnyvale will have 1.73 jobs per housing unit. This will make jobs more plentiful, and make it more difficult for residents to secure housing within Sunnyvale.
Multimodal Transit System: city policies will emphasize complete streets, carpooling, mass transit and bicycle infrastructure. As we approach and exceed Sunnyvale’s capacity to transport residents via private automobiles, residents will need better access to more efficient transportation.
Development will focus on transit corridors and village centers. Proportionately more jobs will be added. Most existing residential neighborhoods will remain low density.
What do you think? Let City Council know!
Contact City Council to share your thoughts on the LUTE.
City Council is expected to review the changes next Tuesday, April 11, at 7 pm in the City Council Chambers, 456 W. Olive Ave. Members of the public are welcome to speak at the meeting for up to three minutes each.
UPDATE: the City Council agenda for April 11 has been published. Council will review the Land Use and Transportation Element as agenda item #4.