Proposed project on Alberto Way is first in Los Gatos to use state streamlining law

Developers invoking SB330 to expedite permitting process

Los Gatos has received its first official residential development project, which is in accordance with a state housing law intended to streamline the process.

The planning commission approved the proposed 52-unit, mixed-use, multi-family development at 405 Alberto Way earlier this month, moving it past the pre-application stage. The project’s retail and fitness spaces, palm trees, bocce court, and central pool are all planned.

To expedite the permitting process, Newport Beach-based developers Bucilla Group Architecture invoked Senate Bill 330, a state housing law that prohibits cities from passing laws prohibiting specific housing developments from being built.

The project, which was submitted to the city on August 28 and is located near Highway 17 and Saratoga-Los Gatos Boulevard, would have a modern appearance similar to the contentious North 40 Phase 1 development on Lark Avenue. It has 600 square feet of retail space, 625 square feet of fitness space, and 52 one to three bedroom housing units.

Five electric vehicle charging stations are proposed per building, as well as bike and car parking and 57,443 square feet of open space for a dog park, bocce court, and hot tub.

The developer’s planner and architect, Greg. G. Bucilla III, stated that the project is consistent with the town’s General Plan and includes mixed-use residential, retail, open space, and recreation.

Developers stated in a letter to the city that the project would “not impair the integrity or character of zoning” and is “in harmony with” the General Plan.

The developers are also using the Density Bonus Law, which allows for increased density in exchange for the construction of affordable or senior housing.

SB 330 is intended to avoid controversies surrounding developments such as the North 40, which included over 400 new units and was the subject of a year-long political and legal debate.

In a lawsuit, a judge ruled that the town was incorrect when it decided the project couldn’t proceed in 2016. The first phase of the North 40 was approved by the council in 2018.

Councilmembers were outraged at the time by the significant decrease in affordable units proposed for the site. Initially, over 270 were proposed, but only 50 were built.

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