The Next Chapter of Affordable Housing in Watsonville

What if I told you that Watsonville could develop a brand new, 150 unit mixed income housing project with 20 percent affordable housing in place of an automobile junkyard that has been polluting the local waterway for 60 years? Now what if I said that project would have essentially zero impact on traffic in the area, and might even make it better by providing for an extended right hand turn lane on already crowded Main Street? Lastly, what if this project voluntarily cleaned up all of the junk yard pollution and then committed to rehabilitating the site to its natural form?

That sounds like a slam dunk right? Well maybe… But as with all housing projects, nothing is ever a slam dunk.

That’s why we need your help to get the word out about Sunshine Vista, which is exactly what it sounds like: a much-needed, extremely well designed, mixed income housing project that is going above and beyond their affordability and development requirements to create an ideal project in the area of our County that needs it the most.

Located off Ohlone Parkway near similarly mixed income projects, on the bank of Elkhorn Slough, Sunshine Vista would provide for 150 units in the form of single family homes, duplexes, and row houses. It would also create publicly accessible open space, a nature walking trail, and would contribute toward building out the public right-of-way near the project.

The problem is that the surrounding neighbors who live across the street, in a very similar mixed income development, have begun to petition against the project, despite having missed the Planning Commission meeting in which it was approved unanimously. They claim that the project would impede access to a lawn they have been using as public open space. However, the “lawn” in question is actually just part of the public right-of-way that the City has always been planning to use for a road, when a development was proposed. Still they insist that the project would cause irreparable harm to their quality of life, despite assurances from the developer that they would have access to a newly created open space about a 5 minute walk away.

Put bluntly, this seems like one of the most archetypical cases of NIMBYism that we have seen in Santa Cruz County, in the face of what is an unprecedented need for housing. Given the context, and the Business Council’s focus on housing generally, we would like to encourage anyone who is willing to send in letters in support of the project, and attend the City Council meeting on August 28th.


  1. Unknown on January 3, 2020 at 12:07 am

    What will the prices of the homes be? Will field workers have priority? I am asking this question because everywhere we go it seems like if we are not field workers we do not stand a chance, actually it is the first questions they ask “are you field workers”? Also many women in this area prefer to say they are single mothers even though they aren’t because in Watsonville word in the streets is “put yourself as single mother, you’ll have more chance than if you put that you live with your partner”. And actually this is so true, the new Pippin project in Watsonville was all a lie. There are people who got number 200+ and 1000+ on the raffle who actually live in Pippin Orchards, why?

  2. Watsonville resident on January 10, 2020 at 4:40 pm

    Do current Watsonville residents get priority? I would hope that more of my neighbors are able to buy local. Rather than people from other counties to buy in our home town. Will there be a waiting list to purchase or a raffle? I think it should be first come basis and locals take priority over out of town people.

    • Robert Singleton on January 10, 2020 at 5:03 pm

      The Developer has indicated they are prioritizing Watsonville residents yes. All of the affordable units will only go to current residents. However, it’s technically illegal to have a local preference for selling the market rate units, though we can get around this by only marketing the new units in places where locals might be and by working directly with local realtors disproportionately reach locals first. You should reach out to the developer and ask to be contacted the second the units become available if you are interested.