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Support for AB 1401 Residential and commercial development - parking requirements

Dear Chair Friedman:

On behalf of Mountain View YIMBY, I write to express our strong support for your Assembly Bill 1401 to eliminate local minimum parking requirements for both residential and commercial buildings.

Mountain View YIMBY is a chapter of South Bay YIMBY are a group of people who live or work in the city of Mountain View and believe in increasing equitable access to the opportunities offered by this amazing city, and combating global warming through urbanization. We do so by advocating for construction of homes at all income levels, from supportive housing to market rate! We protect Mountain View’s more vulnerable residents by defending Mountain View’s rent control law and advocating for better displacement protection policies. Last but not least, we push for more transit, and bike and pedestrian infrastructure.

Whereas our organization’s main focus is the city of Mountain View, we believe that the housing crisis and climate change require action at a broader scale. That’s why we support AB 1401, which we believe will help advance these causes throughout the state.

AB 1401 will eliminate requirements that homes and commercial buildings near transit or in neighborhoods with less car use be built with more parking than is necessary. By reducing the over-building of parking, this bill would reduce traffic, greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, reduce the cost of housing to renters and homeowners, and improve the prospects of small neighborhood businesses fighting to survive during the pandemic.

On-site parking reduces the housing supply by taking up space that could otherwise be used for additional apartments. Providing on-site parking is also very expensive, costing $30,000 to $75,000 per space to build. This cost is passed on to renters and home buyers, regardless of whether they own a car. In fact, a recent study by Santa Clara University, researchers found that the cost of garage parking to renter households is approximately $1,700 per year, or an additional 17% of a housing unit’s rent.

In response to the pandemic and the closure of restaurants and small shops, local governments have allowed businesses to expand into on-site and street parking spaces to allow for safe outdoor dining and shopping. These new and more productive uses of parking spaces have shown us the way forward to create more inviting and sustainable neighborhoods, and allow small businesses to survive and in some cases thrive. This bill would remove arbitrary restrictions that prevent small businesses from using their property for its most productive use.

AB 1401 will prevent the wasteful overproduction of parking spaces, and reduce car dependency and carbon emissions. It will also encourage greater transit usage and more housing and business growth near transit, helping to create revitalized and pedestrian-friendly commercial corridors and downtowns throughout California.

This bill does not prohibit property owners from building on-site parking. Rather, it gives them the flexibility to decide on their own how much on-site parking to provide, instead of requiring compliance with a one-size-fits-all mandate.

Thank you for your leadership in addressing climate change and promoting sustainable transportation, affordable housing and livable communities with this important legislation.

Emily Ann Ramos, Lead
Mountain View YIMBY