The Truth About Danville’s Affordable Housing Plan

Now the downtown Danville’s redevelopment is officially underway, let’s revisit Danville’s controversial affordable housing plan. Rumors are spreading that affordable housing will open the floodgates to drugs, crime, and an unsafe downtown. However, if we look at what “affordable” actually means, you can see that these rumors are completely unfounded.

First, remember that the State of California requires that a portion of new development in all towns be “affordable,” and they will withhold critical funding if towns like Danville don’t comply. The Department of Housing and Community Development sets the necessary income targets based on the median income for the county.

For both Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, the median income (for a 4-person household) in 2012 was $93,500. Here is a link to their official PDF that explains their methodology and gives data for all counties.


The best way to understand the income requirements for affordable housing in Danville is to look at  what’s already happening in Dublin. They have the same median income, so Danville’s requirements will likely be very similar.

Affordable Housing In Dublin

The City of Dublin has a page on their website that explains their affordable housing program:

In general, the City of Dublin’s Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance requires that 12.5% of the units constructed in a residential development project of 20 residential units or more be restricted in occupancy and in sale price or rent charged. Such restricted units are referred to as Below Market Rate (BMR) units.

For units being sold, 60% must be affordable to moderate-income households and 40% to low-income households.

For rental units, 50% must be affordable to moderate-income households, 20% to low-income households, and 30% to very-low-income households. (Section 8.68.030.B)

That page also details affordable housing programs for seniors, including senior citizens on fixed incomes.

In Dublin, 12.5% of all new units must be affordable. Given Danville’s 9.6 acres in question, that might end up being around 30 actual affordable units downtown.

The income requirements for affordable housing in Dublin are higher than most people are assuming. One of the developments on the city website is Chateau at Fallon Crossings, described as:

Standard Pacific Homes is currently offering two 3-bedroom Below Market Rate (BMR) Units and two 4-bedroom BMR units for sale to qualified households of 3 – 8 persons.

Standard Pacific Homes is accepting applications for one Low-income and three Moderate-income* households.

Here are the actual income and credit requirements from the PDF:


Here, “Low-Income” means a family of four with an income not to exceed $65,350 and the affordable “Moderate” income would not exceed $112,200.

Got that? Most of the “affordable” housing will still go to families earning six figures.

Let’s look at affordable housing in Toll Brother’s high-end Terraces development:

Toll Brothers is currently offering 2-bedroom Below Market Rate (BMR) Units for sale to qualified households of 2-4 persons.

Toll Brothers is accepting applications for Moderate-income* households.


That’s right, a family of three could qualify with an income up to $101,000.

It’s also worth noting that the applications are tedious and thorough… most who apply won’t be accepted.

Affordable Housing Income Requirements For Danville

Using Dublin to approximate, the proposed affordable housing in Danville will generally be sold to families with incomes between $60,000 and $120,000 per year in today’s dollars. Some, no-doubt, will be sold to retirees (and, yes, I’ll be putting my mother on that list as soon as it happens).

These are not Section 8 renters. Or crack dealers. Or criminals. An additional 30 or so families in this income bracket isn’t going to destroy our schools or property values.

People around town are up-in-arms about the idea of low-income housing in Danville, but I doubt that many of them actually understand what that means. It still takes a huge salary to be able to afford “affordable” housing around here.

If you are opposed to Danville’s 2030 General Plan for other reasons, fine. Or if you are unhappy with the fact that ABAG and the State of California can influence Danville’s growth, this is a reasonable debate to have.

But, if you are one of the many who are freaking out about all of the poor people who may move here, then the numbers above should calm your nerves. Or, to think about it differently, lots of households in town already make below these limits. The poor people are already here.

If you know of anyone in Danville who is concerned about how affordable housing might impact our downtown, please share this post with them.


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