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The Stanton City Council voted unanimously last week to direct staff to review development standards, policies, and processes to move future housing projects forward and bring back information for any adjustments or improvements.
Editors’ Note: This dispatch is part of the Voice of OC Youth Media program, working with student journalists to cover public policy issues across Orange County. If you would like to submit your own student media project related to Orange County civics or if you have any response to this work, contact Digital Editor Sonya Quick at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The council clarified that it was not looking to stop building more housing through a moratorium. And, City Manager Jarad Hildenbrand said in an email that “the city is reviewing the types of future housing projects that are being proposed and evaluating compatibility with the goals and vision of the community.”
Mayor David Shawver addressed the city’s need to scrutinize the potential impact of new housing projects in the city and take into consideration traffic, parking, safety, liveability, open space, and environmental impact.
Councilwoman Carol Warren wanted to implement an overarching sense of uniformity in the city’s housing. “We need an overall style guide because we don’t need something that doesn’t fit in with the rest of the city,” she said.
Stanton must meet a state requirement by the end of this decade to zone for 1,227 homes with over 300 units for people with very low or low income levels; however, Shawver previously told the Voice of OC, the city has already met those requirements. He added the city needs to do what is best for the community and its 40,000 residents.
At the Feb. 9 council meeting, Shawver discussed the importance of factoring in population density when considering new project developments.
“I want to take a look at the types of housing projects and their potential impacts on livability issues… what kind of density the city can handle and where that density makes the most sense,” he said.
“I think we need to slow down a bit … our community input is being slowed and I think we should give them the opportunity to take a look at what they want to do with the future of their city,” Shawver added.
Councilwoman Hong Alyce Van talked about enhancing communication between the City Council and staff regarding developments in Stanton.
“There seems to be a communication problem. I was just looking through the last time we received a general information report,” she said. “It (the report) would give us an update on what developments are going on, what’s in the works, what’s in the pipeline, what’s going on with each department … and we haven’t gotten one. I looked at my notes and the last time we got one was actually over a year ago and that stopped being given to us.”
Several Orange County cities are among those that have appealed for lower housing goals with the Southern California Association of Governments, a regional board of elected officials assigned by the state to zone for 1.3 million homes in six Southern California counties by October 2029.
Cities’ officials have complained the mandate is an unachievable task and questioned where to put the new housing in an already largely developed county.
The Southern California Association of Governments conducted a Regional Housing Needs Assessment, which allows communities to help plan land use, prioritize local resource allocation, and decide how to address identified existing and future housing needs resulting from growth, according to the association’s website.
The association has set the housing goals for cities in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, and Imperial counties.
In a state budget briefing in January, Gov. Gavin Newsom addressed his plans to create a new office to help monitor council meetings to hold cities accountable for their state-required goals.