Neighbors complain about new affordable housing project

Upon completion, Pacific Companies says they will have created 360 units of affordable living space. Photo by Bryce Stoepfel.

About 100 Gilroyans bit into the details of the new Alexander Station affordable housing project on 10th Street and they choked on the idea that the 262-unit complex has enough parking.
“They way underestimated the parking and I suspect that this is going to need at least twice the amount of parking they have,” said resident Carl Pratt at the Chamber of Commerce Government Relations Meeting at Old City Hall last week.
 “The apartments are for people with lower incomes, so you’ll probably have a couple of people working. Therefore there’s going to be two cars at least. If they only have 1.7 cars per apartment you know there’s going to be overflow and there’s no place to put it.”
They also worried that there will be more students living there than the 70 estimated by the builder and the Gilroy Unified School District.
“My biggest concern at this point is the amount of population in relations to the school district and I think the parking will be a nightmare,” said Lisa Faria, the Chairperson of the Board of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce and a local realtor.
It’s been no secret that many in Gilroy haven’t been fans of the Alexander Station project. They think it’s too big; that there would be people bussed in from Oakland and it would take up too much city resources.
With 800 to 1000 expected residents, developer US Residential will have 1.7 parking spaces per unit. For the majority of people at the meeting, this number felt woefully inadequate. Alexander Street, which is also shared with International Paper, will close parking on one side to accommodate semi-truck traffic. US Residential has not yet formulated a specific plan as to how it will assign parking.
“I think they underestimated the number of students going into Gilroy schools,” Lois Pratt added.
Gilroy Unified School District Superintendent Deborah Flores was present and said that the school district expects at least 70 new students living in the Alexander Station Apartments. The grade school students will be bussed to Las Animas Elementary School.
“It seems to me that there’s not going to be enough parking for the residents and the traffic is going to be a nightmare on that corner and that’s just the truth,” said Bruce Morasca.
“I’m a landlord and actual tenants have come and told me that they’ve applied and management told them that they don’t qualify but they should apply to another location they have in Pleasanton,” Anna Montes said. “I was born and raised in Gilroy and looking at the qualifications they are either below the minimum income or above the income. Looking at that, I think that I qualify. I have a son in college, both my husband and I work and we’re self-employed.”
Amanda Sanders, a District Manager for US Residential who will be managing the property, said  that the company would not give preference to out-of-town residents.  Applicants, she reported, would be processed in order by when they applied. US Residential will use a third party screening company to check the credit scores and criminal records of applicants. Those with records that include violent crimes, such as assault or weapons charges, will not be accepted. Applicants with drug charges and DUIs will also not be accepted.
“The parking is not right; you can’t have that many people and expect them to have one car,” resident Lois Kleinkauf said. “I don’t like the idea that, there’s a lot of tax money going in. We’re paying a lot. People are going in who aren’t paying anything. Who pays for that? HUD pays for that and who pays for HUD? The taxpayers. As a taxpayer, I don’t have a pool or a billiard room. It’s over luxury, just like the jails. It just doesn’t seem fair to the taxpayers.”
Police Chief Scot Smithee said he is working with city officials to hire more officers along with a newly hired traffic officer.  Some in attendance were not satisfied from what they heard from the chief.
“I think the planning isn’t very good,” Georgine Scott-Codiga said, complaining that neither the city nor the developer has put enough thought into the security needs of a thousand new residents.