BLANK SLATE - The land at 405 Alberto Way was rezoned as part of the Housing Element update process. A project planned for the site is being redesigned. (Drew Penner / Los Gatan File Photo)

The developer behind the first project in Los Gatos to fall under the SB330 law designed to streamline housing production statewide says it’s adding 26 homes to its mixed-use project at 405 Alberto Way after Los Gatos introduced a new overlay zone.

Randy Lamb, a managing member of LPG 405, the company behind the upscale condominium and retail build, says their designers are in the process of drawing up new plans.

“We’re just trying to make sure the scale works in the neighborhood, and it’s a work in progress,” he said, as he walked the Los Gatan through some of the updates on a call Monday. “You’re seeing ice cream before it’s ice cream. It’s still milk.”

Twenty others followed in 405 Alberto Way’s footsteps, in surfacing under SB330 rules.

And while many of those developments also invoked the “Builder’s Remedy,” given that Los Gatos was out of compliance with its Housing Element plan for more than a year—meaning they could build more, or with fewer hurdles—LPG 405 hadn’t pursued that path.

The developer aimed for one-bedroom up to three-bedroom units, 600 square feet of retail, 625 square feet of fitness and 114 parking spaces.

And the team sought to access a density bonus, due to including affordable housing, but decided to reduce the number of units from 60 to 52 (and reduced the number of affordable units from nine to eight).

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PROJECT SITE – The developer behind the project says it’s too soon to say what exactly the new version of 405 Alberto Way will look like. (Drew Penner / Los Gatan File Photo)

Architect Greg G. Bucilla III told the Town to expect a “vibrant and sustainable mixed-use residential, retail, open space and recreation” that balances “community of character, color, texture and lifestyle.”

Meanwhile, in order to bring its Housing Element into compliance with State law, Council voted to introduce a Housing Element Overlay Zone (HEOZ) that increased the density in very specific areas.

In November, Mayor Mary Badame (who was the vice mayor at the time) abstained from the vote concerning the zoning at 405 Alberto Way, because of where she lives.

Councilmember Matthew Hudes (who is now in the vice mayor chair) opposed the motion concerning the Highway Commercial property, which passed 3-1.

“What it did is it put a minimum on the amount that can be built on that site, and a maximum,” explained Lamb. “Our site now has a minimum of 30 developable units per acre and a maximum of 40.”

Suddenly, the minimum for the 2.1-acre site (if you factor in an additional 20% for lower-income Los Gatans) was supposed to be 77.4 units.

Hence the new 78-unit total.

“We’re just following the lead from the HEOZ,” said Lamb, adding he believes it’s the ideal place for a higher-density development, given its location along key transit corridors. “It’s great to be able to add housing in the community on a great site.”

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Drew Penner is an award-winning Canadian journalist whose reporting has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Good Times Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times, Scotts Valley Press Banner, San Diego Union-Tribune, KCRW and the Vancouver Sun. Please send your Los Gatos and Santa Cruz County news tips to [email protected].



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