Oppose Charities Housing's plan for ACO Furniture site

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Charities Housing plans to build a high density low income senior housing project, consisting of 130-150 studio apartments at 397 Blossom Hill Road, San Jose, the ACO Furniture site. Approximately thirty percent of the units are to be reserved for formerly homeless, including those with mental health and substance abuse issues. Services for these tenants are voluntary, not mandatory. Charities Housing has submitted formal plans to the city. On June 28, the city announced to the public that they had received the plan. Charities Housing can change the demographics of the project, including the homeless tenant percentage, up until the city approves the plan.

Community members have raised concerns regarding this project with a focus on safety and the real potential negative impact to the community. Residents and businesses in the area are concerned that high density low income housing at the site will increase crime and blight; reduce property values and that such a development is out of scale in an area where the homes are one story and two story single family residences, duplexes and apartment buildings.

The concerns stem from these facts:

• This site is zoned Neighborhood Community Commercial, not residential, and it should stay that way to benefit the neighborhood. Residents were assured by former Council Member Ash Kalra in 2014 that this zoning designation would prevent residential uses of the property.
• Neighbors and business owners successfully fought this same proposal THREE years ago; there was no benefit to the surrounding neighborhoods THEN and there is no benefit to the surrounding neighborhoods NOW.
• Residents of District 2 need more JOBS; several of the large stores in the Blossom Hill area (Sears, Babies R Us) are closing, reducing the number of jobs available in the district. This site could be used to create jobs for community residents.
• District 2 is doing its share to provide low income housing; 4 council districts provide more low income housing (districts 7,3,5,6) while 5 districts (9,4,1,10,8) provide less. The rest of the city of San Jose AND the County of Santa Clara need to do more to provide low income housing.
• 50 local business owners and managers have already signed a petition in opposition to high density low income housing at the ACO site. This number includes not only local businesses but the big chain stores in the area. Many more are expected to sign it; there is great concern among the business community that this project will have an adverse effect on local businesses.
• This plan does not conform to the proposals made by neighbors when the City discussed the plans for an Urban Village for the Blossom Hill/Snell area. Neighbors envisioned a revitalized area with the creation of jobs, more open spaces and vibrant shopping and restaurants, not high density low income housing.

We ask Mayor Sam Liccardo, the City Council Members, and the San Jose Planning Commission to keep this site zoned Neighborhood Community Commercial and to deny residential permit applications submitted by Charities Housing or other entities for the ACO Furniture site at 397 Blossom Hill Road, San Jose, CA.