Hollister officials want more downsized homes

KB Home has been building near R.O. Hardin School along Line Street.

As a real estate agent, Hollister Councilman Karson Klauer knows something about the local housing market. He shared his thoughts on development trends at a special meeting Monday.
He said developers are not building to the current population. With a median household income of just over $60,000 here, most residents can’t afford new homes being built.
“We’re building for citizens of other cities and I think we’re doing a disservice to the people that live here, that work here,” Klauer said from the council chambers.
He and other council members, along with city planning commissioners, heard a presentation on an overview of housing issues such as the total number of outstanding allocations (2,753), locations for planned multifamily housing projects and lot sizes of the single-family homes going up.
Increasing the availability of housing that is affordable to most people—not necessarily by the legal definition involving subsidies—was the overriding theme at the study session meeting where officials could not take action.
While City Manager Bill Avera underscored the difficulty for developers in making subsidized housing pencil out, especially since the dissolution of the redevelopment agency three years ago, officials did express interest in catering to developments with smaller footprints from homes that are more affordable and less taxing on the environment.
In reviewing numbers from the planning department, Klauer said he was particularly concerned about the number of allocations for single-family residential homes on small lots, 155, compared with the number of single-family homes allotted for standard lots, 1,540.
“We’re hitting the top. We’re hitting market rate,” Klauer said. “We’re talking about affordable, but there’s a lot in between that’s not getting addressed at all.”
Councilman Victor Gomez, who works in San Jose, said lot sizes in Santa Clara County are much smaller than here. Gomez said he would rather see something like 1,800-square-foot homes on 2,500-square-foot lots.
“You don’t see footprints this big,” he said.
There were far more standard-lot, single-family allocations than any other type in the presentation. Planning Commissioner David Huboi was dismayed at the number of affordable apartment allocations, 272, calling it “really out of balance.”
With the RDA gone, however, it has been a challenge getting any multi-unit projects built, whether affordable or market rate. Developer Tom Nino pointed to a couple disincentives contributing to lacking multifamily housing in Hollister—difficulty for builders in getting loans insured by the government and high impact fees.
“For a number of years, that really, really hurt developers’ potential to build mult-residential,” Nino said.
Allocated housing types:
Single-family residential (standard lot): 1,540
Single-family residential (small lot): 155
Townhouse/condo/duette: 206
Market rate apartments: 429
Affordable apartments: 279

Leave your comments