Interesting article on how the housing crisis is manifesting itself in different Silicon Valley cities, including Sunnyvale. The tech boom is creating more urgent need for housing which in turn is pushing the prices ever higher where majority of 2 income households still can not afford to buy in Silicon Valley. You can read the full story below:
A plan to build four two-story houses near several one-story Eichler buildings has been halted after an outcry from Eichler owners in Sunnyvale.
A plan to build four two-story houses near a neighborhood full of one-story Eichler homes will be redesigned after an outcry from adjacent neighbors.
Neighbors living on and around Sheraton Drive told the city of Sunnyvale last week that the new larger homes would result in a loss of privacy and access to natural light if a developer was able to go forward with a plan to build the homes on a mostly vacant lot at 1130 Prunelle Court.
Approximately 30 Sunnyvale residents attended a Sept. 30 city of Sunnyvale zoning administrator hearing regarding the proposal. About a dozen residents spoke for about 45 minutes on the matter, and their remarks were universally negative.
Eichler homes, named after developer Joseph Eichler, began popping up around California in the 1940s; many were built in the Bay Area. The homes are ideal for sunny California weather due their layout, which features large glass windows and walls to best utilize sunlight, making for energy efficient structures.
“The huge glass windows are perfect. During the summertime, they keep the heat out, and in the winter they trap the heat in. Everyone that lives in an Eichler enjoys the windows,” said Fan Zhang, who lives in an Eichler on Sheraton that shares a back fence with the Prunelee Court lot.
Suggestions to plant trees surrounding homes so that Eichler owners with large glass walls would have more privacy were poorly received.
“If you put drapes around it and trees around it, why live in an Eichler house?” Zhang asked. “I have to adjust my living style to adjust to your design; that doesn’t make sense. I was here first.”
Another concern even among ranch-style home owners was the division of the Prunelle Court plot. The current space is 32,000 square feet, and the plan for the homes was to slice the plot into four 8,000-square-foot homes, much smaller than most similarly sized plots in the area where three large homes sit.
“I’m astonished that in these neighborhoods a two-story, four-house development is being contemplated,” said Beverly Grindstaff, an associate professor of design history at San Jose State University. “Its growth for growth sake, and it’s a real misstep to not look at the neighborhoods that are being changed.”
Grindstaff also said that it was “really remarkable” that the project had even reached this part of the design stage, given the special considerations that go into designing Eichler neighborhoods. Her remarks were met with a large round of applause from neighbors in attendance.
After listening to almost an hour of impassioned pleas from neighbors, the developers agreed to reconsider the design of the homes slated for the Prunelle lot.
“I think we clearly need to redesign this thing because I think there are a lot of valid points. I want to look at possibly doing basements. I need to look at the numbers, it’s going to be really expensive to be done,” said developer Forrest Mozart. “I’ll take into consideration everything they said…to try to meet all their needs.”
It is unknown when the project will be back for consideration by the city.