SunCal displacing hundreds of poor families in Santa Ana

Matt Cunningham, a PR flack for SunCal Companies, a developer, has been shilling for them for weeks on his blog, Red County/OC Blog. They are trying to build a housing project nearby Disneyland that includes an affordable housing element.

In his latest post he rips Anaheim Council Member Harry Sidhu for not backing the SunCal project in Anaheim. I appreciate what SunCal is trying to do in Anaheim – but why are they trying to screw the poor in Santa Ana?

SunCal purchased a couple of dilapidated apartments on Bristol, just south of the 5 Freeway. They are calling their proposed development the “Village Green.” This project will see 240 apartments, that house the poorest of the poor, replaced by 380 relatively high-priced housing units.

SunCal has offered a month of free rent to the current occupants and moving assistance. But make no mistake about it – they are ALL being displaced. Every last one of them. And NONE of them will qualify to buy the homes that SunCal will be building.

The project is currently under review by the City of Santa Ana. SunCal has requested a zoning change so they can build their very high density project, which will cram the 380 units onto 18 acres. Currently the city’s highest density projects feature no more than 15 units per acre. This development will exceed that by far.

The neighbors of the project do not want ANY affordable housing in the Village Green area, largely because they don’t understand that this would make the housing affordable to teachers, amongst others. And they don’t like the high density aspect of the project, as it will have a grievous impact on traffic.

SunCal is NOT including an affordable housing element in this project. The city might be able to coerce them into doing so, but then you run into the problem neighbors. The city might be able to convince the neighbors that affordable housing is a good thing, if the density goes down.

The bottom line is that SunCal is doing one thing in Anaheim while doing the exact opposite in Santa Ana. The Village Green project will hurt hundreds of Santa Ana’s poorest families. And up until now no one has written about this – you certainly won’t read about it over at Red County/OC Blog.

Shame on the City of Santa Ana for not having a regulation in place that forces developers to include affordable housing in their new developments. But SunCal ought to be slammed for trying to pretend they care about the poor, by trying to help a few of them in Anaheim, while crushing hundreds of needy families in Santa Ana.


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"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.