At the last City Council meeting (on October 16), the Milpitas City Council approved forward motion on the “Main Street Milpitas” project, a 7-story, 85-foot-tall residential structure, which would be built across two parcels located at 1380 and 1400 S. Main Street, and would feature 220 units, a public plaza, micro-retail commercial space, and a community center.
At the prior Council meeting, on October 2, the item had been presented to Council, but after a couple hours of discussion, they concluded that they didn’t have adequate information on traffic impacts, parking, and the layering of entitlements.
So at the October 16 meeting, City Staff, along with representatives from Core Residential, LLC, came back with answers and clarifications, in order for Council to vote on whether or not to approve a site development permit, a conditional use permit, and amendments to the General Plan and Specific Plan, along with a Density Bonus.
The Density Bonus comes into play because developers are planning on a 20% increase in density over the allotted maximum. In exchange for this privilege, the developers are designating 10 of the units (5% of the total) for affordable housing.
One representative from Core also mentioned that the new development will have benefits to the general public, not only through the affordable housing, but through the pedestrian-oriented public plaza, as well as the building’s aesthetically pleasing design.
And since they estimate that 19 new students from K-12 will be added to the Milpitas Unified School District (MUSD), the developers have also thrown in a $1 million development fee to MUSD.
The site, which will include studios, one-bedrooms, and two-bedrooms, will be located near the Great Mall, Light Rail, and new BART station. It’s also very close to the Pines neighborhood, which is already having problems due to a lack of parking; this is likely due to an influx of residents from the new high-density housing at the Apex and Ilara Apartments. (During the summer, Council had voted to move forward on a pilot permit parking program in the Pines neighborhood to alleviate this problem.)
Toward the end of the discussion, the issue of parking was mentioned by Mayor Rich Tran, who waged the sole vote against the “Main Street Milpitas” project.
“I will not be supporting this agenda item,” said Mayor Tran. “I feel like parking is the main issue. And it sounds like we expect these future residents to walk to the BART station but not expect them to walk the shorter distance to the Pines to park their vehicle.”
Earlier, a representative from Core had mentioned that to walk from the new development to the Pines would take seven minutes, which he felt was not a feasible option, given the amount of time it would take them to get home after parking. However, throughout the presentation, the topic of walking to the new BART station from the development came up, in terms of how easy it would be. This walk would, according to Google Maps, amount to about 17 minutes.
“We have a shortage of rental units. This project helps alleviate that situation. It’s not like town homes or other market rate housing residential projects we’ve approved in the past. I think that beyond that, Main Street needs this project,” said Councilmember Anthony Phan. “The project is designed so that Main Street can have a flow of activity, a diverse flow of activity. Main Street needs projects in general, but this is one of the good projects that have come before us that would bring a lot of benefits and I think would attract a lot of positive attention to that area. So for my one vote I will be supporting the project and I urge my colleagues to do the same.”
Vice Mayor Marsha Grilli, Councilmember Bob Nuñez, and Councilmember Garry Barbadillo all fell into alignment with Councilmember Phan, expressing their support for the project. The motion passed 4-1.