A deal six years in the making, Mission Viejo made way for 320 new apartments on Los Alisos Boulevard where a former K-Mart has sat vacant for years.
The deal reached between apartment developer UDR and the city involved a compromise on affordable housing.
Under the new deal 24 affordable housing units will be provided—half the original number. And now instead of keeping them affordable for 55 years, UDR has promised the city to keep them affordable for only 10 years.
, and with them the incentives cities use to encourage developers to provide low-income housing.
Without the $4.1 million it was expecting from the city to offset the cost of affordable housing, that its low-income housing requirement be removed from the city's agreement.
, effectively killing the city's agreement with UDR. But last month the three council members who voted against the request voted again to reconsider.
UDR will reinstate the 48 affordable housing units originally agreed to if the state legislature reinstates redevelopment agencies, developer rep Donald MacKenzie said.
Councilwoman was the lone "no" vote on the housing compromise. She said she was less concerned about the affordable housing, and more about the project's density.
Schlicht described UDR’s proposal as a "bait-and-switch" from 14 units per acre up to 30.
"High density is not our community character,” she said.
Other council members praised the compromise. Mayor Frank Ury thanked Councilwoman Trish Kelley and Councilwoman Rhonda Reardon for working behind the scenes on the compromise.
Councilman Dave Leckness said the apartments would clear the blighted former K-Mart building:
"There are holes in the wall from people busting right through concrete going inside. There’s signs of drug use, feces, urine, nasty words on the wall. It is a terrible place and it’s been this way since 1993 or something. I’m glad someone’s coming up to this site and saying, 'I want to turn this terrible cesspool of an area into apartments. It’s going to be fantastic."
Reardon said there was little the city could do to protect affordable housing or control the project's density.
“Once entitlements are granted, you can’t pull them back," she said. "We have very little leverage. We’re doing the very best we can with a developer who has property rights.”
As part of the compromise, UDR agreed to pay $400,000 in park fees in advance of the building permit.