Sunnyvale City Council to consider General Plan revision: more jobs, more transit, less housing

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.

LUTE-2035

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.

Proposed AMD Site Redevelopment

Mercury News has announced a plan to convert the old AMD headquarters into over 1,000 units of housing.

“According to the project application submitted to the city, the plan for the 34-acre site at 1090 E. Duane Ave. is to build 136 units of for-sale housing, 651 mid-rise apartment units, 289 walk-up rental apartments and possibly a 6.5-acre park. Plans also include 1,954 parking spaces.”

Neighborhood Quality

Most of the surrounding neighborhood is already residential. There are several schools in the area, a Church, a Temple, a gym, Fry’s and Sports Basement. There are some restaurants across Lawrence and an Indian grocery across the street. Walk Score of 57 “somewhat walkable” seems accurate: you can access a number of neighborhood services without a car, but the neighborhood looks like it could use additional services.

The site sits at a transition between residential to the North and West, and retail / commercial to the South and East. Depending on what sort of amenities neighbors desire in their neighborhood, this might be a good opportunity to push for mixed-use development.

Traffic

Much of the traffic will likely go to 101 via Lawrence Expressway. There is a decent chance of housing workers in nearby office / light industrial and retail areas, which would reduce the traffic generated by this site.

Transit

Current transit service is poor. The best service would appear to be the 55, providing infrequent service connections to Sunnyvale Caltrain and light rail.

The area is served by a couple of express buses which make a total of six trips per day per direction.

Lawrence Caltrain is just over one mile away, but it is an ugly walk down an expressway. Fair Oaks has an infrequent North-South bus service, a more pleasant one mile walk down Duane.

amd-vta-curr

Current VTA service.

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Next Network draft service

Under the Next Network Draft, transit service would improve somewhat, with the addition of Route 20, running from Sunnyvale Caltrain, along Arquez, over to Mission College and the new BART station. This bus connection to Mission College is valuable owing to a lack of pedestrian and bicycle access across 101 in this part of Sunnyvale. The 20 is proposed to run frequently during peak periods, infrequently mid-day.

Next Steps

This site will require a zoning change and is under a Specific Plan designation, so this development will be vetted by the Planning Commission and City Council. Neighbors will be notified of the plan and invited to provide public comment.

This is site is not yet on the agenda for any public hearings.

AMD Headquarters Featured Image Credit: Coolcaesar via Wikimedia Commons

Research: Low-Income Housing Doesn’t Depress Neighboring Home Values

Research via Trulia:

The bottom line for NIMBYs who fear that property values will take a hit when a low-income housing project locates nearby is that their anxiety is largely unfounded – at least in cities where housing is either expensive or in short supply.

The research looked at 20 of the nation’s least affordable housing markets, and compared changes in home value in neighborhoods where low-income housing was built, relative to neighboring areas which did not add low-income housing.

Homes within 2,000 and 4,000 feet of low-income housing developments in San Jose, Ca. Source: Trulia

Homes within 2,000 and 4,000 feet of low-income housing developments in San Jose, Ca.
Source: Trulia

Such statistics may be useful to reference when evaluating proposals to add Low Income Housing.