KB Home executive Ray Panek, left, missed the
Oct. 3 Hayward meeting that resulted in the 
council slamming its project due to a lack of
affordable housing.

A month ago, the Hayward City Council appeared to have stomped its collective feet in opposition to a housing development along Mission Boulevard in South Hayward that proposed 35 market-rate town homes and 39 apartment units, but without an affordable housing component. For this reason, the project was unanimously denied by the council on Oct. 3 [Watch video below]

The developers, DNS Capital, LCC and KB Homes, said last Tuesday that they heard the council’s message loud and clear and returned Tuesday night with a slightly revamped proposal that includes the same total number of units, but with a total of six affordable units. The development also includes 1,020 square feet of retail.

The council, despite some reservations, approved the revised plan on Tuesday night. Councilmember Al Mendall, though, voiced skepticism despite voting for the project. “I worry this is one of those votes when I look back and say, ‘Boy, I shouldn’t have done that,'” he said.

In addition, over the past six months or more, Hayward renters have become clearly restive as issues over displacement and rising rents begin to claw toward the city. The mood, in part, led a majority of the council last month to warn housing developers that projects without affordable housing included will not be approved.

An executive for KB Homes, however, appeared comically oblivious to the tenor at both the City Council chambers and the citizenry at-large.

Ray Panek, a senior vice president for KB Homes, addressed the council Tuesday night wearing what almost looked like a red cravat while apologizing for being absent from the Oct. 3 council meeting.

Speaking with a calm, if not, creepy cadence, Panek said, “Sorry I wasn’t here on the third. I was in Italy for a month… On vacation… It was fun.”

Minutes later, Councilmember Mark Salinas added, “I’m jealous that you were in Italy and didn’t have an opportunity to see what happened that evening.”