SV@Home highlights exactly exactly the dynamic that drives Silicon Valley’s ongoing housing crisis: A town that has met just 15 percent of its new housing allocation denies a properly permitted and reviewed project that conformed with all city planning documents. A court has now forced the Town Council to reconsider, but the folks who are desperately scouring the Valley for a place to live won’t have a vote when they meet on the issue.
Democracy means having a voice in matters that affect your community. A city or town is clearly a meaningful political community in matters of land use, but it is not the only relevant political community. The impacts of housing do not end at the town’s edge. In this particular case, the Los Gatos Town Council’s decision will be making a decision that impacts impacts Campbell, San Jose, and a much broader region. We need to find the right way to see that the region has a greater voice on projects with regional impact.
Senator Scott Wiener’s SB 35 aims to address situations just like this one. Here’s hoping it makes it to the Governor’s desk, and leaves with a signature.