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LINC in the News
Belmont considers affordable housing development
Proposal includes 40 homes for low-income seniors and families
San Mateo Daily Journal, February 13, 2018
by Zachary Clark, Daily Journal staff

The latest in a series of efforts to address the housing crisis, the Belmont City Council will consider Tuesday entering into an exclusive negotiation agreement for an entirely affordable housing development on El Camino Real.

LINC Housing, a Long Beach-based nonprofit, is proposing to develop 40 affordable units on two city-owned sites near the Caltrain station: one at 900 El Camino Real and another comprising 876, 884 and 898 El Camino Real.

The development would consist of 20 one-bedroom units set aside for low-income seniors as well as 10 two-bedroom and 10 three-bedroom units for low-income individuals and families, according to a staff report.

Mayor Doug Kim said this would be Belmont’s first 100-percent affordable housing development.

“About a year ago we took a hard look at what we can do to promote housing in Belmont and what land we own,” Kim said. “These parcels on El Camino jumped out as near-term opportunities for us to move housing forward.”

The project’s main challenge, Kim said, is the small size and narrow shape of the parcels, which are currently home to an abandoned filling station and one-story building. Kim said the council was hoping to receive many bids when it issued a request for proposals in June, but only two developers came forward.

“Some developers were turned away because they didn’t think they could be too creative with the property,” Kim said.

The development would require a variety of funding sources in addition to the city’s contribution of land, including low-income housing tax credits, federal home loans and San Mateo County affordable housing funds, according to a staff report.

Two other projects in the works — a mixed-use proposal at Firehouse Square and another called “Artisan Crossing” at 1325 Old County Road — would also bring affordable homes to Belmont.

City officials have been negotiating with developer Sares Regis Group about the Firehouse Square project. Conceptual drawings for the project include 81 townhomes and single-story flats, 25 percent of which would be sold or rented at affordable rates.

The “Artisan Crossing” project, proposed by Windy Hill Property Ventures in October, includes 175 apartments, 15 percent of which would be below market rate.

The City Council meets 7 p.m. Feb. 13, at City Hall, 1 Twin Pines Lane.

© Copyright 2018 San Mateo Daily Journal