The City Council has approved a zone change that will allow a developer to convert the Midway City School site into a planned community of single-family homes despite the protest of nearby residents who are worried about traffic congestion.
The unanimous vote last week changed the zoning designation from public facilities to medium-density residential for the 8.3-acre property the school district sold for $3.5 million last year to Kaufman & Broad-South Coast Inc., a Newport Beach developer.
“This is the type of project that the city needs,” said Leonard Crane, a resident known in the community for his opposition to most council decisions. “We could use the money to fix up other schools.”
But those who oppose the project said the developer’s plan to build 73 homes on the site will bring “excessive traffic” to the neighborhood.
In addition, they said that a medium-density designation, which is allowed for apartments and condominiums, is not appropriate because the surrounding area is zoned for single-family homes. Leonard Cowles, also a resident, said schoolchildren may have also gotten the “short end of the stick” because the property, which was closed as a school in June last year, may be needed in the next 10 years.
But school district officials said the school site is no longer needed and money from the land sale will be used to repair district schools and facilities.
Kevin Pohlson, a director at Kaufman & Broad-South Coast Inc., said a study reviewed by the city indicated only a minimal increase in traffic. He said parking problems will be handled by the homeowners association, although the city can enforce its parking ordinances even though the streets within the project are private.
Pohlson said the three- and four-bedroom houses, selling from $190,000 to $220,000, will be marketed to young families and professionals.
Construction is likely to begin in April, he said, and be completed later this year.