Housing Opportunity Districts (HOD)
Overview and Goals
- Streamline the permitting of housing development to meet the housing goals of the City;
- Allow by-right approval of housing projects if they meet certain objective criteria;
- Incentivize the development of on-site affordable housing; and
- Encourage different types of special needs housing, including senior living, housing for persons with disabilities, and workforce housing.
How to get involved
We would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions for the draft recommendation for the NCMU and TC zones in the City. The City has produced a set of three informative videos that provide an overview of the project along with the proposed zoning changes in each zone. Please use the links below to watch the three videos. Complementing the videos, we have also prepared a HOD Factsheet (PDF) that provides an overview of the project.
Video 1: Housing Opportunity Districts (HOD) Overview (7 min)
Video 2: Neighborhood Commercial Mixed-Use (NCMU) HOD (7 min)
Video 3: Town Center (TC) HOD (4 min)
After watching the three videos, please complete this feedback form to provide your comments. The feedback form will be open for comments until August 31, 2023. Your participation in this crucial phase is pivotal to shaping the future of our city. Thank you for your time and contribution.
The HODs (Housing Opportunity Districts) will be important for implementing the 2040 General Plan. The plan identifies areas across the city for future housing development, including specific plans, Neighborhood Commercial Mixed-Use (NCMU) areas, and the Town Center (TC). The city is updating the specific plans and the HOD will apply to these areas where most of the housing development is expected.
The current policies for NCMU and TWC use designations do not adequately promote mixed-use development. Currently, the NCMU requirement of one residential unit per 1,500 square feet of retail and commercial space does not encourage redevelopment. Clarifying the maximum allowed residential density would be more effective. Furthermore, certain parcels of land may be better suited for mixed-use purposes, while others may be more appropriate for residential development. Similarly, the Town Center (TC) allows 40 residential units per acre, but the high Floor Area Ratio (FAR) for non-residential use hinders redevelopment. This additional non-residential space required to build housing is unlikely to be feasible on the ground.
The HODs will provide a more practical strategy for creating vibrant mixed-use neighborhoods in key areas. They will remain centers of local retail businesses while also incorporating more housing and amenities.
The HODs will also be a critical implementation tool of the ongoing Housing Element Update, which must be updated every eight years to identify adequate sites for new affordable housing to fulfill the City’s RHNA. In the upcoming RHNA cycle (2023-2031), the City of Milpitas has been allocated 6,713 units, which is more than double the allocation from the previous cycle. Furthermore, 3,786 of the units must be affordable (i.e., below market rate) with 2,655 of those units at the low- or very-low-income affordability level, which the City has historically struggled to provide.
To address this challenge, the HODs will focus on providing practical and effective incentives for developers to build affordable housing, especially at deeper affordability levels. The Housing Element Update will rely on the HODs as a key program to implement its policies and help the City fulfill its housing goals and needs.
Governor Newsom's 2019-20 Budget Act allocated $250 million to address California's affordable housing shortage and homelessness. This included $119 million for the Local Early Action Planning Grant (LEAP), a non-competitive program for cities and counties to update planning documents and accelerate housing production. The City applied for LEAP funding to create Housing Opportunity Districts (HODs) in priority areas identified in its General Plan. HODs will provide incentives such as density bonuses, relaxed standards, streamlined permitting, and financial support for affordable housing. The City of Milpitas was awarded a $300,000 LEAP grant on September 2, 2020, and subsequently approved a professional services agreement with Raimi and Associates to prepare the HODs by June 30, 2024, in coordination with other ongoing planning efforts.