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July 3, 2022

Support senior housing in Los Gatos

On April 5, the Los Gatos Town Council will consider whether to approve the Los Gatos Meadows rebuild, which would bring 174 units of senior housing online. As a 24-year Town resident who lives near the site, I believe that the project is essential for providing badly needed housing options for our seniors.

It is no secret that our region faces a severe housing shortage. This shortage is especially acute for our seniors, who lack options that allow them to age gracefully in place. Seniors want homes that afford them the ability to live independently and remain connected to the world around them.

My mother is looking for a retirement home. If this project were completed, this is exactly the kind of community she would choose. It is close to me and my family and its close proximity to downtown, along with the innovative use of autonomous electric vehicles that will shuttle residents up and down the hill to Broadway, would allow her to remain part of the community. Residents can easily get coffee, stop by the Post Office, or enjoy a meal in town, all without having to get behind the wheel of a car.

Covia Communities, which owns and operates the property, has been a part of the Los Gatos community for more than 50 years. They closed the previous project with the intention of rebuilding due to concerns about fire safety and deteriorating building conditions. Since then, Covia has engaged the neighbors and the broader community to incorporate our feedback into the design of the project. They have listened and made changes based on the input given to them, including by reducing the massing of the project.

I know that many of my neighbors may be concerned with the height and visibility of the project.  To be clear: I get it. I live nearly adjacent to the property and can see the story poles from my living room window. But I understand that a rebuild of this senior facility has to meet today’s standards, which means taller buildings to accommodate larger units, as well as more green space and windows.

Covia has designed a beautiful community which has a very minor impact on the surrounding neighborhood. When I think about the hundreds of seniors like my mom who would have a beautiful home at the Meadows if the rebuild is approved, it seems selfish to stop or delay this project just because my view will change a little.

Seniors add so much to our community. They shop at our local stores, they volunteer for local non-profits, and they offer their hard-earned advice and wisdom to us all. Like all of us, they deserve a safe and nurturing place they can call home. As a community, we need to honor our seniors not just with our words, but through our actions.

The Los Gatos Town Council has the opportunity to do just this at its April 5 meeting. I hope they do the right thing and approve the project as quickly as possible, so seniors like my mother can have the home they have worked their entire lives to deserve.

Gillian Verga is a 24-year resident of the Town of Los Gatos. She serves on the Los Gatos Complete Streets and Transportation Commission; her views are her own.

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