I was proud to be the first City Council candidate I know of to not accept any campaign contributions from developers. Now there are four such candidates serving on the City Council. Not surprisingly, at our Council retreat in January this new Council directed staff to look at ways to slow the pace of residential development.

Last night we had a study session on this topic. Staff suggested a number of ideas one of which was to not let developers defer their fees when getting their building permits. We also brought up that we, as a City, need to push back on some of the legislative proposals that will force more housing onto cities like Fremont.

I brought up the issue of the ‘Mixed Use’ areas, as defined in our General Plan, that always end up being primarily residential developments. For example, the proposal at the Cloverleaf Bowl site was 272 residential units with only 8,000 sq. ft. of retail and NO commercial space. Thus, the project would have been about 98% residential, not exactly ‘mixed’ use. The recently approved Silicon Sage project in Centerville was also primarily residential.

If we are to solve the large jobs / housing imbalance in the Bay Area, we have to get more jobs in areas like Fremont. Obviously, projects that are primarily residential only make the problem worse. Staff will be looking into possibly modifying how we define Mixed Use so as to require more commercial spaces within those areas.

We also suggested that Council hold a future study session on affordable housing. I have been frustrated that many of the suggestions to solve the housing crisis in the Bay Area (i.e. the Casa Compact) would allow for more market rate housing but would not do enough to generate affordable housing.