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Council mulls low-cost housing project

Posted: February 22, 2011 6:00 a.m.
Updated: February 22, 2011 6:00 a.m.

City officials hope to secure funding of a 35-home affordable housing project through budget maneuvering.

The Santa Clarita City Council is set to vote at its meeting tonight on a measure that would transfer $2.85 million in redevelopment agency dollars from one fund to the other.

That way, the city and not the redevelopment agency could seal the deal on an affordable housing development in downtown Newhall.

The move was prompted by Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to eliminate state-funded redevelopment agencies as part of a comprehensive package of budget cuts designed to ease California's $25.4 billion deficit, City Manager Ken Pulskamp said.

The funds are already earmarked for a different affordable housing development in Newhall.

But, since two developers are ready to pen an agreement on a second property, a Caltrans Park-and-Ride lot, the city wants to move forward with it.

By transferring the money, the city doesn't lose any ground, even if redevelopment money is stalled at the state level.
"It's a defensive strategy so the state cannot take our money," Pulskamp said.

In 2009, the redevelopment agency set aside the nearly $3 million for a different mixed-use, affordable housing project on a city-owned block between Main Street and Lyons Avenue in Newhall.

But in November 2010, the city bought an under-used Caltrans Park-and-Ride lot on Newhall Avenue that is slated for a 35-unit affordable housing project.

And city officials are set to sign an agreement to develop the 1.5-acre parking lot with The Related Companies of California and National Community Renaissance, based in Irvine and Rancho Cucamonga, respectively.

The transfer would allow the city to close the development deal while protecting its redevelopment dollars, said Armine Chaparyan, the city's redevelopment manager.

If the measure passes and the 35 affordable homes are built, city staff said they hope to collaborate with the two developers on a second, mixed-use commercial and housing development adjacent to the Newhall Avenue property.


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