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Planning Commission denies proposal for supportive housing project in Old Town | News

On June 2, the Elk Grove Planning Commission unanimously rejected a proposal for the Oak Rose Apartments: a 67-unit supportive housing project for the homeless in the old town of Elk Grove.

This development was proposed for Elk Grove Boulevard, a lot west of Waterman Road.

This vacant 1.2-acre property, which is adjacent to the future Elk Grove Library / former Rite Aid Building, and a single-family home at 9248 Elk Grove Blvd., is owned by project applicant, Oak Rose Apts LP, of Long. Beach.

If the proposed project had been approved by the Town Planning Commission and the City Council, the apartments would have offered support services at that location through the HOPE Cooperative, a local non-profit organization that provides behavioral health services and supportive housing for people with mental health problems.

The Oak Rose Apartments project is designed to provide free support services such as substance abuse treatment, psychiatric services and therapy, crisis intervention services, employment and life skills training and transportation assistance.

Erin Johansen, CEO of HOPE Cooperative, spoke about the importance of projects such as Oak Rose Apartments.

“These properties are a way for people to get out of the homeless situation, foster resilience, and many of the 8,000 people we serve annually in Sacramento County were homeless when they began their journey with us, and many now live successfully. in his eternity. home, “he said.

The Oak Rose Apartments proposal was tabled under Senate Bill (SB) 35, a state law that allows for simplified ministerial review and approval of qualified housing development projects.

SB 35 applies to California cities and counties that have not met the state-mandated regional housing allocation.

The commission’s refusal was based on its support for the city staff’s conclusion that the proposal did not meet the city’s objective design standards for an affordable housing project in accordance with SB 35 and that the project was therefore not entitled to a simplified ministerial approval.

As part of Oak Rose Apartments ’three-story proposal, the applicant applied for approval to increase the density allowed for the development of affordable housing.

Although the applicant proposed 67 residential units for the site, the residential density of that property allowed 36 units.

The applicant also sought office space for residents in front of the building and on the ground floor, and residential units on all three levels of the building.

However, the development rules of the Old Town Special Planning Zone (OTSPA) only allow residential use on the second and third floors of a building, and require pedestrian-oriented commercial uses on the ground floor.

The commission agreed with city staff opinion that the request to allow residential units on the ground floor conflicted with OTSPA’s objective standards and that the relief of the ground floor commercial use requirement was justified.

Commissioner Suman Singha shared his reasoning for denying the project.

“I think the guidelines for the Old City are pretty specific and I think we have to make sure we do the right thing by the objective standards,” he said.

Commissioner Sergio Robles spoke out against the site selected for the project and his wish that the community could find a different place for that project.

“I think it’s a great project,” he said. “I think it’s a great idea. I also agree on the merits that it’s not the right place. However, within that, you know, I’d like the same support from the community to try to figure out a location.”

As a controversial proposal, this project also provoked criticism from many residents of the Old Town and businessmen who expressed concern about how such a project would affect this area.

During the committee meeting on June 2, 25 speakers spoke out against the proposed project.

Joe Madruga, who bought a property next to the proposed project site in 1998, talked about why he opposed the project.

“We rented the house (on that property) to our daughter who works there designing floral arrangements for weddings,” he said. “We are concerned about our daughter ‘s personal safety, the preschool across the street, and the children walking to school.

“We do not want anyone to be at risk due to homeless housing consisting mainly of men with mental and / or behavioral problems. We are also concerned that this proposal is aimed at taking advantage of the Senate Bill 35.

Tal Crump, whose family has lived in Elk Grove for about 124 years, spoke of the importance of the Special Management Area of ​​the Old Town, with regard to the denial of the project.

“This project is not eligible under SB 35 due to this SPA in the Old Town,” he said. “If the applicant decides to appeal and submit (the proposal to the City Council), my hope would be that the city also seizes this document.”

Mike Guttridge, known for developing much of Elk Grove, criticized the size of the proposed 375-foot studs and the lack of amenities nearby.

“Do you know how much is 375 (feet)?” he asked. “It’s the size of a small garage. So you have a room. And then you tell me that the person who’s going to live there is going to have to stay in that room 365 days a year. You have to stay in the room, because there’s nowhere to go. park, you have nothing to do ”.

Elk Grove resident Mary Popish was the only public speaker to speak in favor of the Oak Rose Apartments proposal.

“To think that we could finally, in Elk Grove, have a way to support our people who are so vulnerable and go out in a way that allows them some dignity is beyond; we are far behind, “he said.

Although some of the speakers expressed a similar feeling of helping the homeless through supportive housing, they stressed that the proposed site on Elk Grove Boulevard was the wrong place for such a project.

Elk Grove resident Randy Bekker was among those who criticized the location of the proposed project.

“Frankly, when I first heard this (proposal), I annoyed many of my friends and acquaintances who were behind me (at the meeting) because I supported it until I read (about the proposal),” he said. “Once I read it, there’s nothing to support in this place, nothing.”

Planning Commission denies proposal for supportive housing project in Old Town | News Source link Planning Commission denies proposal for supportive housing project in Old Town | News

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