While Salinas residents continue to ask for affordable housing, a lawsuit between the Alisal Union School District and Stone Bridge Homes has put an end to possible housing development.
The Central Zone Specific Plan (CASP) approved, but not yet certified, aims to address the housing shortage by creating about 3,911 residences, including townhouses and apartments, along with commercial lots, parks, a fire station and two potential schools on a 750-acre space in the large Salinas del Norte area.
The developments will be located along the north side of Boronda Road, Constitution Boulevard and Nativity Road.
Stone Bridge Homes vice president Hugh Walker says the goal is to improve the quality of life for residents and the local economy. Stone Bridge Homes has already produced hundreds of homes and apartments in North Salinas areas.
“There are a lot of people competing to get that house or rent that unit and you can’t just demand what you want for a price,” Walker says. “When there is a shortage, the numbers keep increasing.”
There is a problem.
The Alisal Union school district projects that the new housing project would bring approximately 1,500 new students to the district.
The district filed a lawsuit against the city’s Environmental Impact Report, saying the report did not adequately address how school construction would be funded for more than 1,500 children of primary age.
“We don’t know how much these schools are going to cost when we build them,” Alisal Union superintendent Jim Koenig said. “The construction cost they gave us for a single school is $ 30 million, not including land acquisition costs. So we’re going to have to look somewhere about $ 60 million.”
Koenig says that although the district has a $ 30 million surplus, those funds are earmarked to meet the needs of current students and they simply do not have enough funds to build the two new schools.
The district intends to secure funding with its proposal to establish a Community Facilities District. Through the district, Alisal Union could issue bonuses and build a school that would be ready for potential homeowners with school-age children. The district has already purchased, and is providing, 12 acres of land that can be used for the construction of the first of the two necessary schools in the Central Zone.
The district has also pledged to contribute $ 2 million to pay for the initial planning costs of the project and will apply for state funding for a portion of the project across the state.
Meanwhile, Walker argues that local schools have experienced a decline in enrollment over the past decade. He worries that landlords and residents who move to CASP areas will ultimately be responsible for paying more money to build schools in addition to developer fees.
“We’re not going to produce enough students to fill the schools they have now,” Walker says. “The children we produce can go into their existing schools and fill their existing seats so that they get average daily attendance and state money to keep all of their existing schools healthy.”
Koenig says it would not be practical for children from CASP areas to attend existing schools because of the long distance they would have to walk and the potential dangers they could face when crossing the four-lane Boronda road.
“Housing is needed in this community; there is no doubt about it, “Koenig said.” But housing development has to be done in a way that addresses environmental concerns and building housing without providing adequate resources for building schools is not environmentally friendly, as forcing parents taking their children to distant schools is a source of pollution. “
The district has acknowledged the decline but says enrollment is constantly changing. Administrators believe tuition will increase as housing growth in the CASP area brings in more residents.
The decision on the final plan will rest with the municipal authorities.
“It’s not a robbery right now because we’re not ready to put a shovel on the ground and get going,” Walker says. “But it could be a robbery here maybe in the next six months or so. If they are not resolved, these projects will not go ahead.”
Councilman Steve McShane says he hopes a resolution will be reached soon.
“We are working hard to address those demands, and I am optimistic that we will start paving the way by the end of the year,” he said. “We still have to do more, and we will.”
The Californian also contacted the Salinas City Attorney several times, but received no response.
Environmental impact lawsuit puts hold on Salinas housing development Source link Environmental impact lawsuit puts hold on Salinas housing development