Mission Viejo’s affordable housing update

On the March 1st Agenda of the Mission Viejo city council is a Closed Session Item relating to an affordable housing project. This will be followed in Open Session by an Old Business discussion of that project in which the public can support or oppose the applicant.

With the impact on residential and commercial developers by the ongoing recession you have to wonder if or when their investment will be rewarded.

Case in point is the Aliso Ridge Mixed-Use Development for which the draft EIR was presented to the city of Mission Viejo way back in September of 2005. This project is located at the intersection of Jeronimo Road and Los Alisos Parkway where Mission Viejo and Lake Forest meet. At that time we received a letter from the Steadfast Properties Project Manager describing the plan that was to “include up to 144 high-quality, for sale townhomes built by the Fieldstone Group of companies as well as a new Target store.” These townhomes were be three stories high and include tuck-under parking.

Fast forward to today. Yes, their is a new Target store at this project site but the adjacent housing never materialized. Note: The Steadfast Companies began interfacing with the city on this mixed use project site way back in 2003.

On Monday evening the city council and residents will be able to provide their comments on this affordable housing project which will still contain up to 144 units of which 5 are designated as low income and 17 as very low income.

In accordance with redevelopment law 20% of redevelopment agency funds must be allocated for affordable housing. The city’s redevelopment agency is providing $3,556,000 of which $2 million is to be given back to the city as an “agency park fee loan” for lack of on-site recreation. It is worth pointing out that we anticipated that same $2 million a few years ago and spent it as part of the Murray Center expansion. The remaining $1,556,000 is to be issued by the city at $70,738 each as the affordable units are purchased.

According to the document package affordable buyers may qualify with only 3% down. Their  monthy HOA dues will be(gin) at $300.

No unit can be rented or leased during the 45 year affordability period. Every resale shall be to an eligible low income or very low income homebuyer.

Gilbert note: This is the same Lennar who was to build thousands of homes around Irvine’s “Great Park.” Responding to their city’s recent negotiations with Lennar “Councilwoman Christina Shea, expressed concern that they would lead to higher density and more development in and around the park and that they granted too many concessions to the struggling housing giant.”

Notice council member Shea’s concerns about the “struggling housing giant.”

It will be interesting to see what transpires on Monday. Stay tuned.

About Larry Gilbert