On July 27, the Elk Grove City Council voted unanimously to deny an appeal for the 67-unit Oak Rose Apartments supportive housing project for the homeless to be built in Old Town Elk Grove.
That decision upheld the Elk Grove Planning Commission’s June 2 denial of the project on the grounds that it did not meet the city’s objective zoning standards for an affordable housing project and was therefore not eligible for review Ministerial Senate Bill (SB) 35.
This proposal was introduced under SB 35, a state law that allows for streamlined ministerial review and approval of qualified housing development projects. SB 35 applies to California cities and counties that have not met state-mandated regional housing allocation.
The development was proposed for a 1.2-acre lot on Elk Grove Boulevard, one lot west of Waterman Road. The site is adjacent to the future Elk Grove Library/former Rite Aid building and a single-family home at 9248 Elk Grove Blvd.
Oak Rose Apts LP, of Long Beach, is the applicant for the proposed project.
If the appeal were successful, the apartments would have offered supportive services at that site through HOPE Cooperative, a Sacramento-area nonprofit that provides behavioral health services and supportive housing for people with health issues mental
During the council meeting, Sarah Bontrager, the city’s manager of housing and public services, described the proposed project as long-term housing that should not be confused with a homeless shelter, transitional housing or residential treatment center.
Bontrager added that residents of these homes pay rent and have 12-month leases, which could lead to evictions if residents default on their leases.
In addition to the applicant’s denied request regarding its eligibility for ministerial review SB 35, the applicant requested an exemption from the development standard to allow ground-floor residential uses in the commercial area of the Old Town Special Planning Zone, as well as an allowance of 100% density. affordable housing with 66 studio units and a two-bedroom manager’s unit.
Prior to the council meeting, city staff recommended that the council deny all of these requests.
Elk Grove City Attorney Jonathan Hobbs spoke in support of city staff’s recommendations.
“Under SB 35, as our staff has already heard, the standard is whether or not the project meets the city’s objective standards, and it doesn’t seem to argue that it doesn’t, because the project proposes to put residential uses on it. on the ground floor, which conflicts with the SPA of the Old Town”, he said.
Kyra Killingsworth, senior city planner, described the problem with the applicant’s density bonus request for this site.
“They want 67 total units; it is 37 units more than the density allows,” he said. “However, 19 of those units will be at ground level and therefore staff believe this is moot.”
As a controversial proposal, this project has drawn criticism from many residents of the Old Town and businessmen who expressed their concern about how such a project would affect this area.
During the council meeting on July 27, 14 spokesmen spoke against the proposed project, and four spokesmen spoke in favor of it.
Penelope Leonard, who co-owns a preschool near the proposed site for the apartments, shared her opposition to the proposal.
“This is not appropriate to be across the street from my preschool,” she said.
Elk Grove resident Jean Sadler shared her concern that the Oak Rose Apartments may not be serving many people in Elk Grove’s current homeless population.
“Elk Grove has a homeless population of approximately 120 to 150 people, many of whom are families, who would not be suitable for a studio in Oak Rose.
“We also have homeless people without disabilities, who do not meet the requirements for supportive housing. So it looks like that would leave us with a lot of homeless people (from other parts) of Sacramento County moving into Elk Grove to fill those 66 apartments.”
Among the public speakers who spoke in favor of the proposed apartment location was Elk Grove resident Mary Popish.
“We think this location is the right location, because it’s within walking distance of excellent transportation,” he said. “Right there on the boulevard is the main bus route. There is a supermarket across the street, there is a pharmacy and the food bank is not that far away.”
Lynn Wheat, a community activist from Elk Grove, also spoke in favor of the project.
“I agree that this (Oak) Rose is probably not consistent with the Old Town plan; however, I do not agree that there is no possibility of having it where it should be,” he said. “I suggest that you, as a Council, delay the appeal and practice amending this parcel to meet the requirements for this project.”
Elk Grove Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen spoke about her support for the city staff’s recommendation to deny this project.
“I believe in supporting our staff’s report,” he said. “I think they’ve provided solid reasoning as to why we should deny this appeal. So, I support that denial, but I support working collaboratively with the community.
“I think every city needs to do more and can do more. But tonight, there’s only one question before us, and that’s whether or not the objective standards have been met, and I don’t think they have.”
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