Slower housing growth considered

City would limit new annual units to 159

MORE HOUSING Workers on rooftops of Century Communities on Cerrato Way in Hollister. Photo: Tarmo Hannula

A growth management plan for the City of Hollister has received some updates following scrutiny by the state earlier this year.

The ordinance, which is expected to be up for approval at the city council’s next meeting Oct. 21, limits the number of new market-rate housing units at 159 per year, down from the previously proposed 244 units.

Exemptions to the plan include affordable and senior housing units. The Housing and Community Development Department’s Division of Housing Policy Development had warned Hollister officials in February that the city was in danger of being out of compliance with state housing laws.

The state warned that while the city was currently adhering to housing element compliance, offering enough different types of housing to residents, a proposed ordinance could change Hollister’s status.

Among other things, the city’s rating system for approving housing projects significantly increased the cost per unit.

In response, a draft growth plan being considered eliminated surcharges on proposals through a grading criteria, according to City Manager Bill Avera.

Vice Mayor Marty Richman said he wanted to change the ordinance’s definition of a small residential project from eight single-family units to four, which the council agreed.

Mayor Ignacio Velázquez, who in past meetings said he felt 244 units was too high a number, said he supported the reduced number of 159.

“I’m not crazy about the numbers,” he said, “but it is sure better than 244.”

According to Planning Manager Abraham Prado, 1,184 housing units were built in the city since 2009, with 342 of those classified as affordable. Twelve residential projects are currently in various stages of construction, totaling 1,017 units.

If approved by the council on Oct. 21, the ordinance would go into effect 30 days later, Avera said.

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