By Melissa Pamer, Staff Writer, Daily Breeze
Posted: 03/18/2009 11:19:21 PM PDT
An affordable housing project opposed by its Rancho Palos Verdes neighbors has received the final approval needed from the city to seek federal financial assistance.
The City Council voted 3-0 Tuesday to approve specifics of a deal that would allow developer AMCAL Multi-Housing to build 34 apartments for seniors on a city-owned site at Crenshaw Boulevard and Crestridge Road.
The approval signaled another step toward the realization of the first large limited-income project on the affluent Palos Verdes Peninsula.
At a meeting earlier this month where plans for the project were approved, dozens of residents came out in opposition to the complex, which they said would hurt their property values. In February, the city Planning Commission denied the project saying it did not fit the site’s institutional zoning.
Officials said the complex, which would be restricted to residents 62 and older, is needed to comply with state housing mandates and will provide an opportunity for elderly residents to stay on The Hill if they get priced out of their homes.
“When it’s done, it will be not a duck but a swan, and it will be something we can have pride in as a community,” Mayor Larry Clark said. “There is a tremendous need in our community for this kind of project. We have an aging demographic.”
The city should provide 26 units of housing for lower-income residents by 2014, according to the Southern California Association of Governments, a regional agency that assesses housing needs.
There is no penalty for failing to comply with assessments from SCAG, but city officials have said they expect penalization in the future. The Crestridge complex, called the Mirandela Senior Housing Project, would satisfy the city’s assessed housing needs for lower income brackets.
The project would cost about $13 million. Nearly $6.8 million of that money will come from a loan from Rancho Palos Verdes’ redevelopment funds and developer fees, both of which must be used for affordable housing.
To move forward, AMCAL must win a $5 million federal tax credit, for which the developer will compete with other affordable housing proposals in Los Angeles County. Some of those competing projects may be in higher-need areas and have greater financial backing from other municipalities.
AMCAL Vice President David Yarden told the council the project “has a very good chance” because an application with local public funding is “relatively cost-efficient.”
AMCAL would seek a bank loan for the remaining funds, city Deputy Planning Director Greg Pfost said.
Councilman Steve Wolowicz, who earlier this month voted against the project, backed the development agreement Tuesday, saying his support was a bow to will of the council majority. Councilmen Doug Stern and Peter Gardiner were absent from Tuesday’s meeting.
If the Mirandela complex is built, it will bring to an end a decade-long saga of a nearly 20-acre steeply sloped empty lot on which the city has sought to encourage an affordable development. The housing complex will occupy about 3 acres of the lot, with the remainder designated as open space.
AMCAL will find out this summer if it has won the federal tax credits. It can reapply for the assistance in future funding cycles, but under state law the city must have a plan for its property or sell it by March 2010.