June 24, 2020
Dear Chair Sturm and Commission Members:
RE: The Terraces Project
The following information is provided to give you a more factual understanding of the housing that Lafayette has provided since 2014 and the future housing it can provide. This information is also in response to the subjective housing concerns raised by City staff in their report to you. It should be abundantly clear that the City does not have a housing problem, nor will it have a housing problem for its Housing Element and RHNA numbers, now, or in the distant future.
1) According to numbers provided by City staff, since 2014 the City has approved, in process, or in the pipeline about 920 housing units. Under the City’s approved Housing Element, the City is only required to provide 400 housing units from 2014 through 2022.
2) The City has designated under their approved Housing Element (HE) about 20-25 parcels in the downtown with the potential for about 650 housing units to meet their State requirement of 400 housing units (RHNA) and the various affordability categories. Most of the parcels set aside for housing in the HE have not been built upon. And, almost all the parcels noted in Item 1 above are on parcels other than those the City set aside in their approved HE. When you consider the parcels in Item 1 above plus the parcels set aside for housing development, they total almost 1,600 housing units.
3) And, if you take into account the up to 825 housing units that the BART property may require of the City by 2029 under AB2923, the total number of housing units available will approach 2,400 housing units.
4) Further, if you add the current growth rate of new housing based upon the period 2014-2020 on parcels other than set aside for RHNA numbers, there could be up to another 1,200 housing units approved, in process, in the pipeline, or available to be built by 2029. When this figure is added to the above numbers, the total is about 3,600 housing units by 2029. If the current number of housing units in Lafayette is about 9,000, then this is a 40% increase in housing available for the City by 2029. Even if all of these housing units do not materialize, the City has nine times the amount required. And these numbers do not even include The Terraces 315 housing units.
5) No other City in the State even comes close to meeting these numbers on a per capita basis. And, given that the State’s population has been declining for the past few years, as well as in the nine Bay Area counties except for Santa Clara County, there could well be a much smaller increase in the RHNA numbers going forward.
6) The City has an approved Housing Element that was certified as being “in full compliance” with State law by the California Department of Housing and Community Development per letter dated March 26, 2015. The City has adequate zoning and land available for full compliance with all RHNA requirements now and in the future.
In summary, you do not have to worry about Lafayette’s housing numbers. It is not a valid reason to override the City’s General Plan, Hillside Development Ordinance and other protections.
Thank you for your consideration.