Given the Town is largely developed, future growth can only occur as built-out lots are redeveloped. ABAG projects by 2040 growth of 619 additional housing units that could be occupied by new residents. For the past 10 years the population of Los Gatos has remained essentially flat and over the last five years only 135 new units were developed.
To enable the development of 3,904 new units over the next 20 years, the Town plans to increase all existing residential land use densities 2x to 3x (excluding the Hillside) and lot coverage ratios across the town. Once the Town adopts increased land use densities (i.e. up-zones), State law prohibits the Town from ever decreasing densities.
Since the 2040 General Plan can be amended at any time, a more prudent approach would be to plan for the 6th cycle RHNA allocation plus a small buffer and amend the General Plan in 8 to 10 years when more data such as the 7th cycle RHNA becomes known. That way only incremental changes in land use densities and lot coverage ratios are made based on known requirements as opposed to “guessing” what might be required at a future date.
The LGCA is more concerned about planning for the development of affordable housing by zoning adequate sites at suitable densities over the next 8 years as opposed to up-zoning all residential land uses which would enable developers to build more $2m condos/houses in a town that is largely developed over the next 20 years.
And, since the State requires that the Housing element of the General Plan to be updated every 8 years, the Town will be required to revisit the number of housing units to add, going through the same process we are today. So, what is gained by planning for an excessive number of new units? What is the “cost” of doing this?
LGCA sees no benefit in planning for the development 3,904 units which is unsupported by any population forecast and would materially impact the character of the Town. One of the fundamental purposes of the 2040 General Plan is to direct future development in such a way that preserves the character of the Town while minimizing the pressure to develop. An incremental approach, based on only the 6th cycle RHNA requirement for new housing delivers on this goal.