Housing plan opposed by Disney isn’t dead yet

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Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

So much for peace and calm returning to Anaheim.

Less than two weeks after seemingly ending a volatile debate over the city’s Resort District, a developer has renewed its push for building affordable housing near Disneyland -- an area the entertainment giant believes should be reserved for tourists.

SunCal Cos., which envisions 1,500 homes wedged into an area dominated by amusement parks, hotels and the city’s convention center, on Friday asked the city -- which so far has approved and then rescinded the housing deal -- to change course and reconsider its project.

Attorneys for SunCal asked for a rehearing based on the developer’s assertion that Anaheim broke state and federal laws by “denying affordable housing to low, very-low and moderate-income families and individuals.”


“The City Council has effectively discriminated against such persons by limiting their housing options in the city,” Robert H. Freilich, SunCal’s attorney, wrote to City Atty. Jack White. “Moreover, the discriminatory impact of the City Council’s decision will affect racial minorities within the city disproportionately.”

SunCal’s request for reconsideration is the latest twist in a running debate over Anaheim’s Resort District and whether it should be reserved almost exclusively for money-spending tourists.

Although the developer, joined by some religious and labor leaders, has argued that there is room for homes, Disney and many other business leaders have pushed hard to preserve the area exclusively for tourism.

“It looks to me like the developer is trying to manipulate the process,” said Annette McCluskey, a spokeswoman for Save Our Anaheim, a Disney-funded group opposing the development.

“When are they going to get the message? Tens of thousands of people have signed petitions saying they don’t want housing in the resort,” she said.

Last month, SunCal informed the city that it would no longer pursue the zoning amendment needed for its housing project and would stop fighting a Disney lawsuit aimed at blocking it.


Friday’s letter, however, said the earlier correspondence had been misinterpreted and that the company only wanted to stop paying legal fees.

“Many people thought this was over,” Councilwoman Lorri Galloway said. “But, apparently, to SunCal it isn’t.”