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SANTA PAULA : Council Considers Affordable Housing

Three builders in Santa Paula have submitted separate development plans that would add a total of 205 units to the city’s stock of affordable housing, but zoning problems have kept developers from building.

The City Council began hearings Monday on amendments that must be made to the city’s General Plan before any of the projects would be permitted.

But Santa Paula Planning Director Joan Kus said some of the zone changes and code concessions requested by the developers may not be feasible.

One of the properties, where a developer plans to build 28 apartments, has limited emergency access, Kus said. Another is in an area zoned for industrial use. And the third property is near the city sewer plant and may not be suitable for housing, she said.

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“Properties have to be inexpensive to be truly affordable, so obviously there will be problems,” Kus said.

Two of the proposals were filed in November, but the proposal to build about 100 homes near the sewer plant has been under consideration since 1987, Kus said.

The executive director of Cabrillo Economic Development, Rodney Fernandez, said his project of single-family homes should be allowed in an industrial area. He said there is a “huge unmet need” for low- and moderate-income homes in Santa Paula.

“There has not been this kind of development in Santa Paula for years,” Fernandez said. “We feel this is a good place to put the housing.”

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If the project is approved, Fernandez’s company will build 20 homes with a selling price of $110,000 and 57 homes to be sold for $150,000. The median price for a home in the county is $238,792, according to the California Assn. of Realtors.

City officials said their goal for affordable housing to be built over the next five years is being met by a 150-apartment project now under construction.

The apartments, also being built by Cabrillo, will house low-income senior citizens.

But Fernandez said that construction will do little for young families.

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“This project is geared for families who have not been able to buy,” Fernandez said. “That’s a whole different issue.”


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