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Irvine Delays Decision on Plan Aimed at Low-Income Housing

Times Staff Writer

The Irvine City Council postponed action early Wednesday morning until Aug. 22 on a controversial plan that would require developers to price 10% of all future housing for very low-income families.

The council asked city staff to provide additional information about the establishment of a nonprofit corporation to develop low-cost housing and to study a top figure on a fee that might be imposed on businesses to finance housing for employees.

The plan before the council would require 10% of future housing to be priced for families earning less than $24,000 a year, or half the county’s median income.

The largest opponent is the Irvine Co., which contended Tuesday night that such quotas have not been successful in producing significant amounts of low-cost housing in other cities.

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Company officials asked the city to establish a blue-ribbon committee that would find new ways to generate money and entice nonprofit developers.

If the city does not provide any incentives to private developers in the form of bond financing, the Irvine Co. suggests changing the plan to require only 3% housing for very low-income and 7% for the next higher category, families earning up to 80% of the median.

Irvine Co. Vice Chairman Ray Watson called those figures “a shame” but said the city and company must work together to improve them.

Several City Council members said the 10% figure is not unreasonable, pointing out that one recent development project priced 20% of its units for low-income residents.

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