Access road to the South Street Townhomes subdivision. Photo by Noe Magaña.
Access road to the South Street Townhomes subdivision. Photo by Noe Magaña.

Editor’s note: This article was updated as incorrectly stated Hollister’s proposed affordable housing requirement is 20%. It is 15%.

The Hollister Planning Commission unanimously approved an extension for a tentative map, conditional use permit, and site and architectural review for a subdivision of 14 townhomes on South Street, near R.O Hardin Elementary School.

According to the staff report, the project—known as South Street Townhomes and owned by Jim Campagna/ South Street LLC out of San Jose—was approved by the commission in 2021 and was set to expire Aug. 23, but was given an extension so it could be considered by the commission. 

According to the agenda packet, the project includes two buildings with four units, and two buildings with three units on a .81 acre site. It adds each unit is a three- or four-bedroom, two-story townhouse. 

Floor plan of the South Street Townhomes subdivision. Image from the agenda packet.
Floor plan of the South Street Townhomes subdivision. Image from the agenda packet.

Lot sizes vary from 1,254 square feet to 1,673 and buildings from 799 square feet and 911 square feet. It also proposes 35 parking spaces, including 1 ADA compliant. 

Campagna said it was his intention to rent out the townhomes at market rate. 

Senior planner Erica Fraser with 4Leaf, said the only change in the plan was to increase the “road width” from 25 feet to 26 feet to meet the fire code. Later in the meeting, after resident Cary Blevins said the access road only measures about 20 feet, Campagna and Fraser clarified that the increase in road width referred to the parking area where a fire hydrant is planned to be installed. 

Misty Blevins said she was concerned about the impact on parking, which she said the streets are “always full of cars.”

“It’s not ideal for those of us who have been there for years,” Misty said. “I wish these things would be addressed or that we could have a heads up and know what our rights are and how it’s going to affect us going forward.”

Resident Marie Mota said she owned a rental on Walnut Lane and asked if people who live there would have privacy as the town homes are two-story and she wasn’t sure how far back the buildings are set back to her property line but was not answered following public comment. 

Before making a motion to extend the permit, Commissioner Carol Lenoir, who questioned if the project included an affordable component at the beginning of the meeting, said “Try as I may, I can’t find any findings for denial with current code and policy. This [will not] fly in another few months.”

Hollister is working on its housing elements that includes an affordable housing component which would require any developer that builds 10 or more units for sale or rental needs to include 15% of affordable housing.

Affordable housing is based on an area’s median income (AMI), which in San Benito County is $101,923. The income categories vary depending on the size of a household, but the formula for affordability provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is as follows:

  • Acutely low income: 0%-15% of AMI
  • Extremely low income: 15%-30% of AMI
  • Very low income: 30% to 50% of AMI
  • Lower income: 50% to 80% of AMI; this designation may also be used to mean 0% to 80% of AMI
  • Moderate income: 80% to 120% of AMI

Given this formula, a household in the county making $122,307 is considered moderate. 

Development Services Director Christy Hopper announced the decision by the Planning Commission is appealable to the City Council within 15 days.  

Other actions

The Planning Commission continued for a second time a site and architectural review of a 1,540 square feet Starbucks building on the corner of Fourth Street and Westside Boulevard, next to El Grullense Jal. 

The project was set to be considered Aug. 31 but the developer was granted a study session. 

“Staff and the applicant  are still working on making changes based on the direction that was provided on the study session on September 14,” interim Planning Manager Eva Kelly said. 

The project is expected to be considered Oct. 26.

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Noe Magaña is a BenitoLink reporter. He also experiments with videography and photography. He is a San Benito High School graduate with a bachelor’s in journalism from San Jose State and a Liberal Arts...