Santa Ana Affordable Housing Funds in Jeopardy

The following is a press release from an organization unaffiliated with Voice of OC. The views expressed here are not those of Voice of OC


July 27, 2016                                                                     Contact: Luis Sarmiento
PRESS RELEASE                                                      (714)425-5562
Heritage Village Project Developers Won’t Honor Their Agreement
SANTA ANA, CA — The Santa Ana Planning Commission recently considered an amendment to the city’s Housing Opportunity Ordinance that seriously threatens the ability to build affordable housing in the City.  If passed, this amendment would allow developers who do not wish to include affordable units within their project to delay payment of their “in-lieu” fees, which are used by the City to build affordable housing elsewhere. “There is a serious lack of affordable housing throughout the City, and in-lieu fees are an important way to address local housing needs,” Cesar Covarrubias, Executive Director of The Kennedy Commission explained.  Covarrubias and over 40 local organizations and residents turned out to the meeting to voice opposition.  Two commissioners, Bauer and Mclaughlin, voted against the proposed change, and two in favor; therefore the amendment failed to acquire the recommendation of the Planning Commission.  It will now be considered by the City Council, who will vote to accept or reject the proposed amendment. The Heritage Village Project – whose developers sought this amendment – is a large, 1,221-unit, mixed-use development on an 18.84-acre site, located at 2001 East Dyer Road, approved by the City in February 2016.  At that time, rather than choosing to build affordable housing units at the Heritage Village project, developer Heritage Village OC LLC, agreed to comply with the City’s Housing Opportunity Ordinance, committing to pay a nearly $10 million in-lieu fee to the City prior to obtaining their first building permit. Now, Heritage Village OC LLC wants to amend the Ordinance to delay payment of the fees, which jeopardizes the future construction of affordable housing and creates uncertainty for a growing number of residents who need access to housing now.