This article was written by BenitoLink intern Michael Koteles
On March 23 the Hollister Planning Commission unanimously approved the development of 100 multifamily apartments in the West of Fairview subdivision.
According to the agenda packet, Eden Housing/Mimosa Street Investors’ project is 100% affordable to three income categories: low, very low and extremely low. The project site is located on the corner of Avenida Cesar Chavez and Mimosa Street on a 4.6-acre parcel.
California defines the three categories of income as 15%-30%, 30%-50% and 50%-80% of the county’s median income. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, San Benito County’s median income is $95,606, which means the three income categories range from $14,340 to $76,484.
The project includes one-, two- and three-bedroom units and an on-site manager’s unit.
According to the agenda packet, the community of 100 family and farmworker apartments is located in a series of three-story breezeway-type buildings, organized around a central community hub for outdoor recreation and activity areas. The project also includes a single-story community building offering meeting rooms, a fitness center and after-school activity areas in addition to management offices and various resident-serving facilities.
Outdoor recreation amenities feature a playground and various play areas, a pickleball court, BBQs and gathering spaces, open activity areas and shaded seating pockets.
During public comment, six speakers opposed the project, saying they were concerned that affordable housing would lead to safety issues within the neighborhood; that the apartments would be blocking the views of current residents and create limited parking; and that they preferred the land be set aside for communal use.
“When we first moved here we were told it was going to be a family-owned condominium,” speaker Pablo Rodriguez said. “I’m worried about the safety of my daughter, and my neighbors. [I] moved to Hollister for the safety but now we are having second thoughts.”
Commissioner Carol Lenoir defended the project and rebutted the commenters who said they were concerned about safety.
“Your kids aren’t going to be any less in danger if people come and live over there because guess what, they love their kids too and they watch their kids,” Lenoir said. “I don’t know what you’re expecting.”
Overall residential growth was another concern voiced during public comment.
“The amount of living space intersperses with the suburban community and is unbalanced urban planning,” speaker Oluwaseyi Amorin said.
Residents also said there would be a need for security due to the number of people that would be moving in.
Though Lenoir spoke highly of the project, she said some speakers had valid concerns and wanted to establish a resident capacity for the project.
“Also I want to make sure that there is a cap on the number of folks living in those units because they come with a very good point. People just rack and stack and you have a requirement for affordable housing, I know you’re going to do an inventory audit every year,” Lenoir said.
Multiple speakers said the land should be used for communal resources such as parks because residents currently have to drive to parks outside the neighborhood. The closest park is Valley View park, about .6 miles away from the project.
Lenoir said this project was beneficial for the community.
“These projects are very rare, and hard to pull off. We should really consider that a lot of thought has really gone into this.”
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