Like It or Not, Apartments Coming to Mission Viejo

"Young, drinking, fun-loving adults" coming to Mission Viejo's new apartments? After five hours of debate, the City Council approved plans Monday night to bring a new apartment complex to Los Alisos Boulevard on the former Kmart site.

The City Council on Monday night approved a construction project that will bring to Mission Viejo another 320 apartments, including 48 affordable-housing units.

The complex will sit between the 241 toll road and Los Alisos Boulevard. It was the topic of a five-hour debate in which several residents spoke against the proposed apartments.

Resident Frank Gilliland said he prefers homeowners to renters.

"Owners are better than renters," he said during public comment. "I don't think you have to be a genius to figure that out. People who have a monetary interest in their homes are going to be a lot better representatives of this city."

Resident Carl Hungerford said he was worried that "young, drinking, fun-loving adults" living in the apartments "would soon be zipping up and down Los Alisos Boulevard."

Mayor Dave Leckness said he did not agree with those descriptions of renters.

"They talk about slums, and these renters are going to turn it into a terrible place," he said. "I don't believe in that. I don't think it's correct. Everyone up here, when you left home, you probably went to an apartment."

Council members and proposed to stop the apartments despite approval from the Planning Commission July 11. They were the only two who voted against the project Monday night.

Councilman said fighting the apartments would put the city in danger of lawsuits and further state control.

"If we fight this, I have very little doubt the state of California will come down and say, 'We are done with Mission Viejo,' " he said. "We may win a little battle today and lose the whole thing going forward."

Councilwoman called the state of California "Big Brother" and said the state has come down hard on Mission Viejo in the past for being noncompliant with required affordable-housing offerings.

At that time the state took two pieces of land designated as open space and redesignated them for high-density residential development, Kelley said.

"The state gives us numbers ... and we are expected to comply with them, and if we don't there are consequences," she said.

Shripathi Kamath August 16, 2011 at 10:54 PM
I am not quite done watching the video of the city council meeting yet, so thanks for the spoiler, Peter. http://missionviejo.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=12&clip_id=640 Couple of things to note: 1. Lot more people opposed the development altogether than those who were in favor of the construction going ahead. Lots more! 2. The sentiment that 'we are OK with the apartments, do not even object to the low-income renters, but not that many, not 320' was rarer than one would have been led to believe. The unmistakable message from most of those who spoke (not to be confused for the majority of residents) was that these apartments are trouble, because of crime, traffic, transients.....etc. No, the clear emphasis was on the 'low income' nature of the apartment projects. 3. What was lost is what you have mentioned in your last couple of comments by council-members Ury and Kelley. The real issue is that the low income units need to be built because the state requires compliance, and non-compliance causes issues like it did before. And oh, Dan Avery's appearance was an abomination. There ought be a dress code with random elements of modesty made compulsory. I know that the Constitution prohibits a bill of attainder, but puh-leeze! He did make a passionate argument for renters and the changing times, though. As did a couple of others. They were in the very, very small minority at the meeting.
Rod Barajas August 16, 2011 at 11:06 PM
Sometimes I think MV residents over think stuff...Isn't this RIGHT NEXT DOOR to the Madrid Apartments? They've been there forever...And they look nice...That shopping center is going to love the new neighbors...Relax old people of Mission Viejo!!!
KC August 16, 2011 at 11:07 PM
My question, to those that feel it's "Big Government coming down hard", since compliance is tied to things like funding in the event of emergency or disaster, do they not want outside help and feel the city is capable of staying afloat if something happens?
Peter Schelden (Editor) August 16, 2011 at 11:29 PM
Hi Rod, Mayor Leckness made a similar point about the Madrid Apartments at last night's meeting.
Panglonymous August 16, 2011 at 11:40 PM
I live about 35 mi away in MV's sister city, LB, but.. I watched the comments live online last night. A couple of questions: Are elderly homeowners distributed relatively evenly throughout the city? Or are they somewhat concentrated near or around the new development? What generally happens when the children of elderly homeowners inherit their MV homes? Are they more often sold, or inhabited long-term by the adult children?
Shripathi Kamath August 16, 2011 at 11:50 PM
That was also one of the objections. That adding these apartments would make it "lots more apartments in a square mile area, more density". And, what Peter said.
KC August 17, 2011 at 12:00 AM
I've seen a lot of older people getting reverse mortgages or just keep refinancing regular ones so when the owners die either the heirs will lose the house to the bank (I think that's how a reverse one works) or be saddled with the debt and either sell the house, pay off the debt, or lose it in a foreclosure. The notion of ownership isn't as appealing as it once was. Sure you have collateral but at the same time you could always borrow that nicer car or house and just pay someone each month to use it and then get a new one every so often.
Shripathi Kamath August 17, 2011 at 12:07 AM
At the 4:40 mark on the video, Mr. Ury speaks on the state-related issues. I recommend that people listen to it. And the relevance of the 320 vs 250.
Panglonymous August 17, 2011 at 12:24 AM
Interesting, KC. It's too bad there aren't a bunch of twenty-somethings on this site to weigh-in on the points you make in your second graph. Another variable could be grandchildren inheriting their grandparents' unencumbered home (w/ Mom & Dad already adequately sheltered.) An avenue for home ownership in a CA planned community for younger folk otherwise unable to afford it?
Shripathi Kamath August 17, 2011 at 12:39 AM
And at 5:10 mark, Ms. Kelley does something rare in politics. She actually admits that she was wr.. wrr. wro.. wrong, and that she voted incorrectly the last time, and was part of the problem that cost the city money because of the foolish bravado of "standing up against Sacremento (or Washington)". That is how adults should behave. When they make a mistake, and recognize it, they admit it, and *then* work to rectify it. That last part is also rare. Many politicians claim that they have "learnt their lesson", but all they really do is "double down". What a concept! Beats "staying the course".
KC August 17, 2011 at 12:48 AM
I'm not even 100% sure cost is as relevant a factor as being able to change locations freely. The downside is that you don't really own anything but on the up side you don't pay property tax and aren't responsible for things like repairs. Another growing area of interest has been resident hotels, a friend of mine lives at the Montage and loves it.
john printy August 17, 2011 at 04:09 AM
IM all for these new apartments going in on the old K,mart, site, and the reason why I say that is because, that building just sitting there is just a complete eye sore it makes the area look like a getto, so yes again IM all for these new apartments going, in, I think it will make the area a much nicer place to live, and bring more affordble housing to people in mission viejo, because Id rather have a much nicer neighborhood to live in than an area where you have a building that sits empty, and Fenced off, where it can arractt the wrong, people coming in. so again in saying that, IM all for these new apartments going in,............
Peter Schelden (Editor) August 17, 2011 at 04:53 AM
Hi John, thanks for stopping by and letting us know what you think.
Sharon Cody August 17, 2011 at 01:31 PM
I watched the meeting and the apartment project looks beautiful. Wouldn't it be swell if the teacher in your child's classroom could afford to live in the community where he/she teaches? My son taught middle school for 6 years. Most teachers fresh out of college live in rented apartments and many would qualify to rent "low income" apartments because their salary for doing the most important job on the planet, isn't that great!
Dan Avery August 19, 2011 at 04:24 AM
What I found interesting was Mr. Ury's question to both Schlicht and Reardon about what their specific reason was for filing an appeal. Neither could answer. Also of interest was the city attorney's summary of the law and how the state would not take "a bunch of people got mad" as a convincing argument against the development.
John Lusk October 06, 2011 at 01:53 PM
The comments that people made on Monday night that indicated they would rather have homeowners than renters is rather an antiquated way of thinking. If the Irvine Company (Don Bren) is any indication of where the future of housing is going they are building or planning to build more apartments than houses. As far as "low income" qualifiers are concerned some people didn't do their homework before speaking on Monday. For a family of six, two adults and four children the amount is $86,200 in Orange County. Most of the speakers that spoke on Monday night would probably qualify for low income housing. Folks, this isn't going to be the mega "projects" as in Chicago. Which by the way the City of Chicago bulldozed them down.


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