Los Altos Hills leaders seek ADU input, possible housing requirement ‘carve out’

ADU survey
Courtesy of the Town of Los Altos Hills
The town of Los Altos Hills is asking residents to take an ADU survey through Feb. 26.

The town of Los Altos Hills has extended the deadline for a survey meant to, in part, gauge residents’ appetite for the construction of accessory dwelling units. The survey is available online through Friday (Feb. 26).

Town leaders are encouraging the constructing of ADUs because, in a town that prides itself on requiring lots to measure at least an acre in size, they are its chief mechanism for meeting state-mandated low-income housing allocations.

In addition to evaluating the interest of residents currently without ADUs, the survey targets current ADU owners, town planning and building director Zach Dahl explained to council members at their meeting last week.

“(For) people who have ADUs, we survey them to find out how the ADU is being occupied, if they’re charging rent, how much,” he said. “And then we use that along with other data to determine rents, and how we would best class these units in one of the various affordable housing categories.”

The survey answers, Dahl said, could help the town guide or focus its ADU policy to achieve the Regional Housing Needs Allocations preliminarily assigned to it by the Association of Bay Area Governments: 210 units for families with above-moderate incomes (greater than 120% of the Bay Area’s median income); 82 for those with moderate incomes (80-120% of the area’s median income); 72 for those with low incomes (50-80% of the area’s median income); and 125 for those with very-low incomes (less than 50% of the area’s median income) – all by 2031.

At last week’s council meeting, town Mayor Kavita Tankha suggested residents team up with other communities like Los Altos and push back on state housing mandates by seeking “carve out” exemptions.

They could even charter buses to shepherd local residents to Sacramento to lobby legislators in person, she said. Los Altos Hills, at least, would be wise to emphasize its increased susceptibility to wildfire.

“I totally understand the need to create more moderate and low-income housing,” Tankha said. “I think we want to be team players, we want to be part of a regional solution to create more housing and low-income housing, and we do that by encouraging the development of more ADUs. But this idea of one-size-fits-all is not really a good strategy because it does not take into account the individual risks different towns and different communities face.”

Los Altos Hills residents may take the ADU survey by visiting

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