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May 25, 2024

Hollister, San Juan put on notice about housing plans

Hollister officials reacted to the governor’s placement of Hollister and San Juan Bautista on a list of cities either under review or out of compliance when it comes to their affordable housing plans.

Gov. Gavin Newsom this week announced he may pursue legal action against cities that don’t comply with a state law requiring them to adequately plan affordable housing into their development, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Hollister was on a list of cities that are on the edge toward non-compliance, and San Juan Bautista made the list of those out of compliance when it comes to providing a proper structure for enough affordable housing.

The Bee cites Newsom’s campaign for governor in which he pledged to add 3.5 million new housing units by 2025.

Hollister City Councilman Rolan Resendiz, elected to District 2 in November, suggested the state sent back the city’s submitted growth management plan.

“There are some things we have to do to be compliant,” said Resendiz, noting how the planning department is working on it.

He said a lack of affordable housing is a “huge problem” and that his issue is with the fast pace of single-family home growth in Hollister.

“For me, personally, it’s just been single-family homes, which is not affordable,” Resendiz said.

He went on: “The other thing is, nobody wants the state to come down here and tell us how to build. Local control should be with local governing agencies. They don’t know our unique needs.”

Hollister Mayor Ignacio Velazquez, meanwhile, was direct in his criticism of Newsom’s move.

“I think the governor should be focused on releasing a list of the roads that need to e fixed that he should be fixing and schools that should be built in communities before asking communities to make their situation worse,” said Velazquez, who has been largely anti-housing growth in recent years.

Velazquez acknowledged Hollister needs to have a better plan for affordable housing and said he has been pushing for that. But he also emphasized his message that the area needs improved road infrastructure to accommodate growth, and mentioned his discontent in how the state was unwilling to fund expansion of Highway 25.

Hollister residents in November approved a 1 percent sales tax that will take effect in April and will go toward expansion of Highway 25, but it will take several years to get anything built.

“It’s not fair for our community to have to spend $400 million to fix a state highway so the governor can meet his personal goals,” Velazquez said.

Another councilman, Marty Richman, said the city needs to address its rules to require a certain amount of affordable and moderately priced homes in developments.

“What we need is a good inclusionary housing ordinance,” he said.

To read the state’s letter sent to Hollister warning the city about its policies, go here: