Developer May Have Misused County’s New By-Right Ordinance.
By Ari Gutierrez Arambula
The Affirmed Housing Group has applied to the County of Los Angeles, Department of Regional Planning to build a five-story, 96-unit, studio and one bedroom apartment building at 2439-2445 Lincoln Avenue in Altadena, California for a fast-track approval. However, residents are concerned over the height and density of the project, the location in a residential area, the environmental safety of the site, and the long-range operation of the low-income housing facility.
The County of Los Angeles’ By-Right Ordinance, effective April 8, 2021, is part of a new streamlining strategy addressing affordable housing needs in unincorporated areas of the County. It allows developers to secure approval on plans that comply with all zoning and land use regulation at the planning department counter. It also exempts the application from CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) and public hearings.
Too tall and out of character and scale
In their petition, residents point out that buildings at the location of the project are zoned at a maximum of 35 feet by the Altadena CSD (Community Standard District). At 64 feet, 5-stories tall, the building exceeds the allowable zoned height for a residential area. “The building is on 1/8 of an acre, too tall and out of character and scale for the residential neighborhood. Parking is ridiculous, 32 parking spaces for 120 residents, what a joke!” states Mr. Alonzo Edwards, President of the Windsor-Arroyo Neighborhood Association.
Short- and long-term effects
The site of the planned low-income housing project is a former gas station. Residents want an environmental study and a clean-up of contaminants that could jeopardize the health of neighbors exposed during construction as well as future residents.
Altadena residents are concerned about the short- and long-term effects of this very low-income housing project on the community. The project has slated 50% of the units to house senior homeless individuals. There has been no information provided to the public on health, mental health and financial supports programs that will presumably be administered for residents.
The project is near an elementary school and residents want to know how the safety of the children in the area will be assured. Additionally, no information has been provided to the community on how the project will be sustained after the initial 15-year contract with the Affirmed Housing Group expires.
The resident’s Change.org petition exceeds 450 signatures and asks Los Angeles County 5th District Supervisor, Kathryn Barger to suspend approval of the project and address the concerns of the residents. An approval deadline of October 21, 2021, is fast approaching and the residents are concerned that the fast-tracking of low-income housing is unfairly disregarding residential zoning criteria, quality-of-life concerns and even environmental safety.
Public comments regarding the Affirmed Housing Group Altadena Development should be submitted to the County of Los Angeles, Department of Regional Planning to Sussy Nemer at SNemer@bos.lacounty.gov and Savannah Moore at SMoore@bos.lacounty.gov.
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