At their meeting on Monday, February 5, 2024, the Mill Valley City Council took a significant step in addressing the need for affordable housing by approving the 1 Hamilton Affordable Housing project, marking the first 100% affordable housing development in three decades. This important action underscores the City's commitment to fostering a vibrant, welcoming community that supports diversity across housing, income levels, and lifestyles, while addressing the issue of insufficient affordable housing options, particularly for the workforce, elderly, and low-income residents.
Partnering with EAH Housing, a San Rafael-based nonprofit developer, the approved project aims to address the pressing housing needs within the community. The proposed apartment complex, named Bayfront Terrace, features a four-story podium-style residential building, with sustainability features such as 100% electric systems, solar panels, and energy-efficient compliances. The new development will feature three floors dedicated to housing, offering a total of 45 dwelling units, and a ground floor parking garage providing 63 residential parking spaces.
A key highlight of the project is its commitment to affordability, with 44 of the 1, 2 and 3-bedroom units being deed-restricted rentals catering to very low- and low-income households. Monthly rents are slated to range from approximately $978 to $2,908, providing accessible housing for individuals and families across varying income brackets. One unit will be reserved for an on-site property manager. Applications to live in these units will be announced to the community once construction has commenced.
Beyond addressing housing needs, the project also encompasses broader infrastructural enhancements, including the relocation of existing public parking spaces and public restrooms to the adjacent Public Safety parking lot, added pedestrian safety upgrades, and landscaping plans aimed at compliance with fire and water district requirements.
Reflecting on the significance of this milestone, Mayor Urban Carmel emphasized the project's culmination as the result of years of concerted efforts and advocacy. He traced the City's journey in addressing affordable housing back to the '70s, '80s, and '90s when affordable housing initiatives were more prevalent but gradually waned due to constraints in land availability and finances. However, proactive measures taken in recent years, including the establishment of a housing advisory committee and concerted community engagement, have revitalized efforts towards addressing housing affordability.
In Mayor Carmel's words, "It’s an understatement to say that this is truly a historic moment. Nothing can change a life trajectory more than the place you grew up in." This sentiment underscores the impact of accessible, affordable housing on individual lives and underscores the City's commitment to fostering an inclusive, diverse, and equitable community for all its residents.
As construction gears up to commence between 2026 and 2027, with the complex expected to be fully operational by 2028, Mill Valley stands poised to set a precedent for other communities facing similar housing challenges. The approved project not only represents a tangible step towards addressing housing affordability but also embodies the City's dedication supporting a diverse and inclusive community.
Learn more: The 1 Hamilton Project Website is here