Real estate developer JMK Investments held its first community meeting in November to present its plans for a new 44-unit development in Milpitas’s Sunnyhills neighborhood.
The 44-unit development proposes 37 new market-rate apartments, including a new playground onsite. Seven of the 44 units will be designated as affordable per the city’s 15-percent-minimum affordable housing ordinance.
Dozens of residents attended the meeting, held at the Barbara Lee Senior Center, as well as several Sunnyhills residents — many of whom were concerned about construction noise and hazards.
“I know a lot of the residents in Sunnyhills,” said resident and Sunnyhills Community Association President Allyson McDonald. “A lot of them are elderly and the construction and dust might be too much for their health.”
A representative from the developer claimed the new apartments would use existing land, and was the best option given the area’s already-developed state.
Any other option, the representative said, would displace more tenants than it would house. The project, he claimed, would be a marked improvement from the aging housing stock JMK received when they bought the property in 1985.
“The development adds more housing to the community, and it’s on used land,” said the representative at the meeting. “It’s much more efficient than tearing down even more buildings.”
The construction practice, known as infill development, utilizes already-built-on or used land to create new construction.
At the meeting, McDonald claimed that members of the Sunnyhills Tenants Association have reached out to JMK several times, yet were ignored, a claim the representative was “unaware of.”
Some residents also raised questions about the potential increase in property values should the development be built. That could potentially mean higher rents for some tenants.
“I’m disappointed because there could be more housing in this plan, and that would mean more affordable housing,” said McDonald. “I’m wondering why it’s going this way.”
The representative said JMK is looking into construction concerns, and is confident the new construction won’t cause any health or environmental problems out of the ordinary for a project of similar size.
The Sunnyhills neighborhood is home to hundreds of low-income residents who rely on subsidized housing. In November, 2017, a developer in the neighborhood reversed its decision to evict dozens of low-income tenants, instead giving them a five-year extension.
JMK met with the city this past December to discuss issues related to the infill project, including concerns over parking, design, and water runoff, according to city Public Information Officer Jennifer Yamaguma. The developer is expected to resubmit a new plan taking the public’s and city officials’ comments into consideration early next year.
Editor’s Note: Article updated from the print version, to correct one piece of information about the members of the Sunnyhills Tenants Association themselves reaching out to JMK.