On behalf of The Silicon Valley Organization (The SVO), our 65 member board of directors and our 1,400 member businesses, I would like to express our support for the removal of Item 8 on the Council Priorities list, Commercial Impact Fee for Affordable Housing.
In 2016, a broad coalition of Silicon Valley leaders placed Measure A, the Affordable Housing Bond on the ballot to help address the significant issues facing the county around housing for the homeless, workforce housing and the overall lack of housing. Measure A passed with overwhelming support and will allow the County to borrow up to $950 million by issuing general obligation bonds. Bond proceeds could only be used to acquire or improve real property.
According to the ballot language, bond proceeds from Measure A would “provide affordable local housing for vulnerable populations including veterans, seniors, the disabled, low and moderate income individuals or families, foster youth, victims of abuse, the homeless and individuals suffering from mental health or substance abuse illnesses, which housing may include supporting mental health and substance abuse services.” Up to $150 million in bond proceeds could be used to assist moderate income households. Of this $150 million, up to $50 million may be used to provide housing that is affordable for moderate income individuals and families; such portion, for example, could be used for first-time homebuyers or to promote housing that is in proximity to employment.
Pursuing another impact fee for affordable housing does not make much sense considering we have not even had an opportunity to issue a single bond under this new funding mechanism let alone add additional obstacles for business and employment growth here in our city.