A battle over new housing is brewing in Los Altos Hills.
Sasha Zbrozek currently owns nearly two acres in Los Altos Hills on Summit Wood Road. He’s hoping to tear down his house and replace it with 15 apartments and five townhomes in the upscale suburb.
It’s a proposal that’s likely to face a lot of local opposition but he believes a provision in state housing law could help him force the issue.
“Builders remedy” allows property owners to override local zoning laws and push through projects of virtually any size. It’s meant as a penalty for cities and counties that fail to meet the deadline for state mandated future homebuilding plans.
The state requires 20% of builders remedy projects to be affordable housing without the provision.
Zbrozek said his multi unit plans would be dead.
“The town has tight restrictions, 1 unit per acre and a 40 foot set back ,so it’s basically single family homes only,” he said.
California YIMBY, which stands for “yes in my backyard” is a nonprofit focused on ending the state’s shortage of affordable housing.
California YIMBY spokesman Matthew Lewis told NBC Bay Area he supports homeowners trying to build more housing.
“In this case, Los Altos Hills thumbed its nose at the state law now they have to face the reality that builders can do what they want,” he said.
NBC Bay Area reached out to the Los Altos Hills city manager Wednesday. He declined to do an interview but sent a statement, which said in part:
“The town adopted a substantially compliant housing element prior to the state law deadline. The town is currently reviewing the proposed “builder’s remedy” project proposals.”
Some Los Altos Hills residents NBC Bay Area talked with off camera said they are concerned the builders remedy projects will change the look of their neighborhood.
But Zbrozek said that he personally has received nothing but support.
“I am looking forward to having control over the future of the parcel,” he said.
The Town of Los Altos will hold a public hearing on the project and it must still comply with environmental laws and go through a design review.
Source: NBC Bay Area
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