Portola Valley keeping pace with affordable housing target


Portola Valley has met its target for total number of affordable housing units under California state rules three years early, but the quest is continuing to develop more.

The target for its state Regional Needs Housing Allocation is 64 units by 2022, and the town issued eight building permits for affordable units in 2018, bringing the total to 69 units, according to a progress report that was reviewed by the Planning Commission at its May 1 meeting.

Almost all of the affordable units are contained within original structures, or serve as accessory dwelling units – free-standing units on properties that contain a larger dwelling, said Town Manager Jeremy Dennis.

The town passed an ADU ordinance on March 27 that allows all property owners, with a few exceptions, to build extra units or add on to their properties in the spirit of encouraging more housing, Dennis said.

"We're targeting options to increase housing opportunities, helping seniors age in place and helping people who grew up in town and can't move back," he said.

Twenty-seven of the building permits were issued for very-low-income housing, five for low- income, seven for moderate-income and 30 for above-moderate-income, according to the staff report.

The town needs to zone for 10 low-income units and eight moderate-income units to meet its housing allocation goal in all income categories.

"We are required to plan for that number of units and zone for them, but we aren't required to build them," said Laura Russell, Portola Valley's planning director.

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