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Menlo Park Planning Commission OKs 432-unit housing development in Bayfront neighborhood

Original post made on Sep 12, 2023

Menlo Park is moving forward with a 432-unit development and 67-foot-tall development in the Bayfront neighborhood.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, September 12, 2023, 10:31 AM

Comments (4)

Posted by Rob Silano
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 12, 2023 at 12:16 pm

Rob Silano is a registered user.

Another huge Sobrato Project. What is defined as 66 below market housing? What are those requirements? Restricted to low income individuals( Their salary level), to teachers, public safety or city- county employees? Or is this another way to get around the low income housing requirement as we at Menlo Park are needed to fulfill?

Posted by PH
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 12, 2023 at 4:10 pm

PH is a registered user.

Here's the BMR agreement: Web Link

It's located on the website linked to in the article. It's in English, so you could read it for yourself Rob. :) At first blush it looks like Sobrato is doing MP a solid and targeting "low-income" AMI's.

"Based on the City’s 15 percent BMR requirement, the Project will provide 48 BMR apartments with low-AMI levels. In addition, TSO [Sobrato] proposes an additional 8 low-income apartments ..., making the Project 17 percent affordable. There is no difference between the market-rate and BMR apartment units.

... the Project will provide 18 BMR townhomes with low-AMI levels. ...TSO plans to donate the land for the BMR townhomes to HGSF [Habitat]. ... HGSF offers affordable homeownership opportunities to low-income families through a unique program that requires no down payment and provides zero-interest rate mortgages to homeowners. HGSF’s ability to provide ... deep levels of affordability is predicated on keeping construction costs low, optimizing the use of staff and volunteer labor, donated construction materials ..., and receiving funding from various private and public sources.

...if HGSF cannot obtain financing or otherwise chooses not to develop the affordable townhomes, TSO would partner with a different affordable housing developer .... If no affordable housing developer is interested in such a partnership, TSO would construct the BMR townhomes in a manner consistent with the City’s Municipal Code and BMR Guidelines."

Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 12, 2023 at 5:49 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Which probably means they'll end up being BMR, but not affordable.

Posted by PH
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 13, 2023 at 2:15 pm

PH is a registered user.

"As noted within the Below Market Rate Housing Program Guidelines ... the initial monthly rental amounts for the BMR rental units will be equal to or less than 30 percent of the applicable income limits for very low, low, and moderate income households adjusted for occupancy, but in no case will the monthly rental amounts exceed 75 percent of comparable market rents."

Honestly, I'm not sure I fully understand this language, but, in general "BMR" rents ARE affordable to those with the target income levels. Hence a "low-income" BMR unit would be affordable to an individual or household that qualifies as "low-income". Here, "low" income means 80% AMI. From reading the table I was surprised to learn that a single adult with income of $104k qualifies as "low" income.

Income designations are targeted as a percent range of "AMI", area median income. Web Link

I think the point you are trying to make is that BMR units targeted for families with "moderate" income levels are near-market rate rents. And I agree with that, however based on the language used above it seems to be that no BMR would rent for more than 75% of the market rate for a comparable unit.

In other words the developer is agreeing to take a rent haircut even in cases where target family income levels can afford near market rate rents.

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