I have a friend whose mother is an unexpected widow in her 70’s. She wants to sell the Southern California house she and her late husband shared and downsize. There are many reasons for this, as you can imagine. In that big house she has daily reminders of all she’s lost. In that big house she’s isolated and alone. In that big house she’s tired from the required maintenance of the house and property. She is stuck, though. She wasn’t left with much income after her husband died and quality, affordable senior housing in Southern California is scarce.

In Orange, we’re helping seniors just like this widow. Through our long-standing, local partnership with Orange Senior Housing, the City Council unanimously approved the construction of Katella Terrace, a 74-unit senior affordable apartment community.

If you drive down Katella today, you’ll see that the old Universal Bank building at the corner of Katella and California is no longer there. In its place, Katella Terrace will be constructed over the next year and become home to limited income seniors from Orange and around Orange County. Lest you think limited income is a drain on our local economy, many of these seniors, while not wealthy, have personal funds to spend on dining, entertainment, and retail. Located directly adjacent to Tusketella, this will create a walkable community for these residents, who only have to head next door to shop, eat and get some exercise.

I’m proud that the City of Orange values its seniors. Many years ago, we knew that the world of retail was changing from brick and mortar to online service models. We also knew we had to find more room for housing. That was why we changed the City Zoning Code to allow senior housing to be built on commercially zoned properties with just a Conditional Use Permit, streamlining and simplifying the government approval process.

That change has encouraged senior housing construction in our City and that’s a good thing. Orange is a tight-knit community. We take care of each other. We want Orange residents to be able to age in place because we value the lifetime of contributions these seniors have made to our community and believe they still have much more to give. Now, more than ever, we know how important it is to keep family close. Katella Terrace allows our Orange families to do just that.

Mark A. Murphy, Mayor, City of Orange

Mayor Murphy is proud to be a lifelong resident of the City of Orange.  Mark has been actively involved with causes, organizations and/or government in the City of Orange since he graduated from college. His tenure on the City Council, combined with his business career, provides him with the unique opportunity to apply private industry knowledge and experience to the responsibilities of public office.  Mark currently serves as the Mayor of the City of Orange.

Opinions expressed in community opinion pieces belong to the authors and not Voice of OC.

Voice of OC is interested in hearing different perspectives and voices. If you want to weigh in on this issue or others please email opinions@voiceofoc.org.

For a different view on this issue, consider: 

Gladson: Neighborhood Partnerships Guide Growth, Insure Trust

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