The Milpitas City Council Tuesday voted 4-1 — with Councilmember Karina Dominguez dissenting — to approve a revised five-acre, single-family home development on North Park Victoria Avenue.
The project will build 38 single-family homes on the site, with four of those homes designated as affordable. Ten of the homes will have accessory dwelling units (ADUs) attached to them, colloquially known as “granny units.” Cities like San Jose have looked to granny units in recent years to help solve the Bay Area’s affordable housing crisis by using already-existing housing.
The plan was originally heard in November, 2019, when the project’s developer, Robson Homes, requested to pay in-lieu fees to adhere to the city’s 15 percent affordable housing ordinance instead of building the required 5.1 units. Instead, the council asked Robson to present revised plans that included affordable housing.
On Tuesday, Robson presented revisions that establish four affordable units and approximately $780,250 to cover the remaining 1.1 units. In addition, Rankin Street, which runs parallel to the approved development, will also be widened by approximately 10-12 feet.
“The applicant has gone above and beyond with its plans,” said Councilmember Anthony Phan. Phan praised Robson’s “sincere efforts” in soliciting community feedback and addressing concerns from residents about the project.
“It’s difficult to find a developer like Robson,” he added. “We do see their efforts, and we value it.”
The project’s lone dissenter, Councilmember Karina Dominguez, was concerned that the units — which will be priced at an estimated $1-2 million, according to the developer — would cost too much for lower- and middle-income buyers, and that four affordable units wouldn’t be enough to supply the city’s need for low-cost housing.
“I want our teachers to be able to buy a home that’s under a million dollars,” Dominguez said. “I know many friends who can’t afford that.”
She also opined that more housing would exasperate city and school resources.
“All the pieces of land out there can’t all be used for housing.” Dominguez said. “We have other needs. A full school is something we’ve all been wanting…I’m not here to make news about four [affordable units]. I want to make the news about building a community that’s going to put Milpitas families first.”
Frank Evans, who lives across the street from the proposed development, claimed the development would cause too much traffic.
“It’s too many houses and too many cars in that small piece of land,” said Evans. “Milpitas has done more than its share in providing high-density housing.”
Mayor Rich Tran, who has never voted in favor of a market-rate housing development, casted a surprise affirmative vote. Tran believed the project had gone beyond expectations in terms of providing affordable housing.
“I believe in the vision of this development,” said Tran. “Not just the roads, not just the structures, but the community that will be there.”
Tran ran both of his election campaigns opposing all market-rate housing developments. He has delivered on his promise to oppose all developments — either voting no or abstaining to new developments — since he took office in 2016.
Said Tran, “You couldn’t have asked for a better developer.”