Quito Village Background
Sand Hill Property Company (owner of Quito Village) is a local developer in the community, active in the Silicon Valley since 1988 with housing, office, retail, hotel, and mixed-use projects. While we have owned and operated Quito Village for well over a decade, the steady downturn of the retail industry combined with the Bay Area’s severe housing crisis has forced us to reconsider the best use of the property. The project approved by the City is fully compliant with all applicable planning standards and will bring a variety of housing types, affordable to a wide range of income levels in Saratoga, a city in the midst of a severe housing shortage and affordability crisis.
The housing crisis in Santa Clara County is real. Currently the median home price in Santa Clara County is $1,100,000. At the median annual income of $119,000 it will take a family of four more than 20 years to save for a down payment to purchase a home at that price. In Saratoga, the crisis is even more acute. With a median housing price of $2,600,000, it would take that same family more than 45 years to save for a Saratoga home. Just as extreme, the median rent in Saratoga is approximately $5,595, higher than the places widely considered to be the most expensive in the nation, including San Francisco and Manhattan.
These high prices serve to prevent those who work and serve in Saratoga, who grew up in Saratoga, or who simply desire to retire and remain in Saratoga, from being able to live here. More affordability and a better variety of housing types is what Saratoga needs. But for over a decade, Saratoga has built little to no new housing.
Since 2007, Saratoga has been required to plan for 731 housing units. Under the 4th Cycle Housing Element from 2007-2014, Saratoga approved zero extremely low-income units, zero very low-income units, and only 15 low-income units, even though the City’s RHNA goals for 2007-2014 were 45 extremely low, 45 very low, and 68 low-income respectively. Under the current RHNA Housing Cycle (2015-2022), Saratoga has permitting only a total of 67 housing units (new homes and 2nd units totaled). Saratoga will again fall short of its state housing requirement of 439 new homes. These are some of the lowest housing production numbers in Santa Clara County.
Housing Solutions for Saratoga
Our project seeks to respond on point, providing 90 new housing units, nine of which will be affordable to the very-low income households that have historically been left out of Saratoga. Our project serves to help Saratoga meet its above moderate and very low-income housing mandates while also fully complying with the City’s General Plan and existing Zoning Code requirements. The project is also consistent with Saratoga’s 2015-2023 Housing Element which states that the City should take steps to encourage mixed-use development within the City. Importantly, the new Quito Village has been painstakingly designed to be in keeping with Saratoga’s distinct community character.
The 90 townhomes are two-story homes which will include both for-sale and rental units. A major housing challenge in our community is that far too great a portion of our income is going toward rent; this project will include 10% of its units as affordable to very-low income households with rents at a fraction of market rates. Another challenge is fewer people becoming homeowners; the for-sale units in this project are important to address the need for a greater supply and variety of ownership housing in Saratoga. This includes demand from longtime residents who want to move down to smaller homes on smaller lots, families who wish to raise their children in the community but cannot afford a traditional Saratoga single-family home, and current residents who are looking for ownership opportunities.
While the housing component of the project carries a significant benefit to the community, the retail and open space components are important aspects of the project that will ensure the project fits with the character of neighborhood and the site continues to serve as a destination for existing Saratoga residents. The project includes 5,000 square feet of community-serving retail, large open green spaces to be enjoyed by residents and the public alike, ample parking beyond what is required by Saratoga’s Zoning Code, and thoughtful buffers and other protections for the surrounding neighborhood. Although the zoning of the site potentially allows for upwards of 117 units, our project is sensitive to local concerns about overly dense projects and proposes only 90 homes. All in all, the new Quito Village will be sensitive to, and in our view strengthen, the fabric of the Saratoga community.
For the simple reason of ensuring the timely delivery of this much-needed housing, we submitted our project pursuant to Senate Bill 35, which was enacted in direct response to California’s acute housing shortage and the State Legislature’s recent declaration that access to housing, and in particular affordable housing, is a matter of statewide concern.
As a property owner in Saratoga we know Saratoga residents take great pride in their city. We have put a great deal of thought into this project and have worked hard to prepare an application that maintains the character of the Saratoga community, meets the quality expectations of its residents, and provides new housing options that will allow Saratoga to not only meet its state-mandated goals but sustain itself as the cherished place to live it now is. We are confident this will be a project of which everyone can be proud.
 https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2018/12/18/astonishing-numbers-2018-bay-area-housing-crisis/  https://hotpads.com/saratoga-ca/houses-for-rent  Housing and Community Development annual Housing Element Progress Report submitted by the City of Saratoga.