Within the next couple of years, drivers traversing the North Fair Oaks section of El Camino Real, just north of Atherton, may say goodbye to the Enterprise Rent-A-Car shop and hello to a new affordable housing development.
That's the plan if local nonprofit housing developer Palo Alto Housing gets its way.
The developer has proposed to build a four-story, 68,243-square-foot affordable housing building with 67 apartments at 2821 El Camino Real, where the Enterprise Rent-a-Car is located.
Palo Alto Housing formally acquired the property in October 2017 with funding help from the Housing Endowment and Regional Trust (HEART) of San Mateo County, according to Palo Alto Housing President and CEO Candice Gonzalez.
The development would have 61 studio apartments, five one-bedroom apartments, and one two-bedroom manager's unit. About 30 will be reserved for veterans.
All units will be designated as "affordable" and will be dedicated for tenants with "extremely low, very low or low-income" as defined by the federal government, according to San Mateo County planner Laura Richstone.
At a Nov. 9 meeting to gather public comment, Ms. Richstone said, speakers expressed concern about traffic and parking, how neighboring trees would be affected, and how the project would impact property values.
The most common question, though, according to Ms. Gonzalez, was how to get on the wait list. "North Fair Oaks is being hit hard by the housing crisis and residents are very much aware of the critical need for affordable housing in the community," she said.
According to Ms. Gonzalez, the developer is trying to get project approvals and start construction in 2019 and 2020, with leasing to start in early 2021. The project is currently in a "pre-application" phase with the San Mateo County planning department, Ms. Richstone said.
The development would have 50 parking spots and 36 bike parking spaces. According to Ms. Gonzalez, lower-income tenants means lower rates of vehicle ownership.
"Affordable housing in general produces a lower need for parking since the cost of vehicle ownership and maintenance is often cost-prohibitive for our lower-income residents," she said, noting that the agency also encourages public transit and biking via free or reduced public transit passes, access to shared cars, and abundant bike parking.
The development complies with new zoning that the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors approved Nov. 21 for the El Camino Real-facing stretch of North Fair Oaks, Ms. Richstone said.
Funding sources so far are HEART of San Mateo County, the Housing Authority of San Mateo County, veteran housing and homeless prevention programs and tax credits, Ms. Gonzalez said.