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Town of Los Gatos Housing Element LogoIf you want a say in shaping the blueprint of Los Gatos’ future, now is your opportunity to comment on the Housing Element.

If you’re reading this article, you probably live or work in Los Gatos and have a real interest in it’s future. Like much of California, Los Gatos has been in a housing shortage for decades. The Housing Element will determine how to meet the needs of the Town’s future, and engagement from locals will help direct how it meets the needs of the community.

Every 8 years the state requires each municipality to create a plan for future development, especially housing development, to meet the needs of current and future populations (read about it on the Town’s page on the General Plan). Back in March we shared information about one of the first community meetings on the Town of Los Gatos Housing element. As of late August 2022, the first draft has been published and is in the public review and commentary period.

To view the plan draft, visit EngageLosGatosHousing.com/. There you can find a copy of the plan as well as a timeline, scheduled public events, sign up for email updates, and even submit commentary on some of the selected sites. Read to the end of this article for a quick list of ways to engage, including in-person and virtual opportunities to ask Town staff questions about the plan.

Affordable Housing In Los Gatos

For this planning cycle, it has been determined that Los Gatos needs to increase housing by 1,993 units. Nearly 58% of that has been allocated to moderate and above moderate income housing and the other 42% is allocated lower income household. We need all of those homes!

Residents choose Los Gatos for great schools, hospitals and medical care, and community, but many of the teachers, first responders, and social workers are being driven out of town by the high cost and low availability of housing. Los Gatos is in desperate need for more housing – especially more affordable housing, which has been put off in past years. Here’s an example.

Back in 2011 there were plans to build 32 low-income residences on Dittos Lane on a plot of land the Town purchased in 2009. Objections to high density housing plus some conflicts with the Town plan prevented any building from happening on that site. In 2017 the Town was soliciting buyers for the undeveloped Dittos parcel. In 2018 a Mercury news article announced plans to build teacher housing at a significantly lower density – just 4 homes. As of August 2021, County records appear show that the lot was sold to Support Teachers Housing LLC at a loss to the Town. As far as I am aware, development has not yet begun.

Affordable housing can come in a wide variety of forms. California’s relaxing regulations to encourage the development of ADUs is one form of encouraging smaller, lower cost, higher-density housing that is becoming a more popular option with homeowners and smaller investment owners. Senior living facilities and educator rental units are other forms of meeting some of the community’s affordable housing needs.

Housing Element: How to Engage?

Read the draft! Educate yourself on the proposals, the sites, and learn what the Town needs to acchieve in this cycle. There are a number of tools on the Housing Element website to try out too, like the Housing Simulator.

The draft that is available shows a number of sites which have been identified as potential areas for development or redevelopment as housing. Do you live or work near any of them? Respond to the surveys on these sites by clicking the “Comment here” button.

Go to the Farmers Market! That’s right – the Town will have a stall at the downtown Los Gatos Farmers’ Market this Sunday, September 4th to meet with residents and neighbors and answer questions about the general plan.

Attend the webinar on September 15th, and send written remarks by mail or email by September 27th (contact information and Zoom links are all on the Housing Element main page).