3090 South Bascom
3090 S. Bascom Ave., San Jose, CA 95124
Project Type: Supportive & Affordable Housing + Commercial
Owner/Developer: Affirmed Housing
Presented to our members: July 2020
Catalyze SV evaluates project sustainability, equity, and vibrancy. Learn about our project review process.
For more information, please refer to our scorecard below or the following links:
* Projects go through several phases. Developers submit applications to the City, get their design reviewed, do redesigns based on City & community feedback, resubmit proposals for review, and get approval (though can even redesign after approval)
3090 South Bascom Project Scorecard
3090 South Bascom by Affirmed Housing is a 5-story affordable & supportive housing development with 79 apartments. It also includes 600 square feet of commercial space, on-site supportive services, a community garden, a courtyard, & 40 car parking spaces. The development is located next to the VTA line 61 bus stops and provides VTA transit passes while also including a bike parking space for each unit.
3090 South Bascom scored 3.83 out of 5 overall from our Project Advocacy Committee members.
Community Score: 4/5
The majority of our members gave the Affirmed Housing’s community engagement efforts on this proposal our highest score. They were especially impressed considering the law (Assembly Bill 2162) permits this project by right and thus it can forgo the community process through which it has been going. Most noteworthy are the recent repeated & frequent community meetings, as well as an interactive website that allows the community to comment directly on the proposal (an especially important tool during the pandemic). ᣳ Affirming Housing has also demonstrated a commitment to being a good neighbor to some residents upset about the proposal (albeit this negatively impacts our score in other areas).
Vibrancy Score: 3/5
This category calls for the most improvement in the current proposal. While we’re glad to see a community garden and artistic glass designed with local artists in the front entrance, this project could do much more to increase neighborhood vibrancy. Our first concern is that a new driveway will be added to South Bascom Ave when a shared driveway is already available. In the original building design, the shared driveway was used, which is safer for pedestrians & improves the vibrancy of the site. Our second concern is that the commercial space at 1,100 sq ft is too small for the site & that a non-profit office, although a needed community asset, would do little to bring vibrancy to the area. We are concerned that the latest proposal reducing window size is inequitable in an affordable complex & thus unfair to new residents. While it may placate a few displeased neighbors, low-income residents will have less direct light in their homes & thus diminished livability. Finally, we don’t believe that the building presented is visually appealing, especially when compared to the other Affirmed Housing projects shown to us. The architecture could benefit from some "San Jose" inspiration such as creative touches referencing the old guitar center or other local buildings.
Transportation Score: 4/5
We were very impressed to see that 3090 S. Bascom would include VTA transit passes for residents, which will encourage use of the 61 bus. We appreciate that the bike parking follows a 1:1 ratio, which is what Catalyze SV often suggests & that a bike repair station is included. Though the amount of car parking spaces seems adequate, we suggest Affirmed Housing look into shifting some residential parking spaces to carshare spaces. This will increase shared mobility options & facilitate a car-free, lower-cost lifestyle for residents. If the VTA bus stop for bus line 61 is at risk of being moved, Catalyze SV would be happy to advocate for the location to remain, both to ensure the maximum value of the transit passes & to encourage less car use.
Sustainability Score: 4/5
We’re pleased to see that 3090 S. Bascom will be building to GreenPoint Gold rating. It appears Affirmed Housing is taking a holistic approach in addressing a range of environmental issues. With plans for rooftop solar to supply 75% of the residential electricity, this project will have a low-carbon footprint & save residents money. A community garden will also benefit them. According to our members, the only thing holding this proposal back from receiving a 5 is that it is not being built to GreenPoint Platinum.
Intensity/Zoning Score: 3/5
With the huge need for affordable housing, our members believe this project should prioritize maximizing homes for low-income residents. With a maximum of 140 units allowed on the site & 90 in the original design, we beseech Affirmed Housing to increase the total number of units. This could include increasing the height (maybe with a step-down from the street), returning to the original design, or extending further into the northeast corner of the lot. While we understand the developer considering the property value & privacy concerns of neighbors, a site zoned for 120 feet & 140 units - versus the current proposal at 66 feet & 79 units - should give greater priority in our community to the needs of future low-income residents.
Affordability Score: 5/5
3090 S. Bascom plans to provide affordable housing to a mix of residents most in need: 29 supportive units, 28 extremely low-income units, & 20 low & very low-income units. In addition to focusing on the lowest income levels, Affirmed Housing will provide free transit passes & generate on-site power through solar installations, thus further decreasing monthly costs to its residents. We also appreciate that the building will provide supportive services, including case management on site.
Legacy Score: N/A
Members of Catalyze SV didn’t think this category was applicable to this site.