Affordable housing is being built next to Temecula Duck Pond – and some residents are concerned.
The town’s Duck Pond and Veterans Memorial Park is a common site for monthly community events, demonstrations and gatherings. It is also next to the site of a future apartment complex of 270 units, on the north side of Ynez Road. The complex will include 55 units dedicated to affordable housing, as required by a state housing program.
The Ynez Road will be widened as part of the project, officials said. In addition, a Longhorn Steakhouse restaurant will be built across from the pond, replacing the Marie Callender restaurant and bakery, which closed in 2019.
Some residents are worried about increasing traffic and congestion nearby at the busy intersection of Ynez and Rancho California highways, while others welcome more affordable housing options in the city.
“They ruined the Temecula period! They continue to build, which attracts more people there, ”Kelli Romine wrote on social media. The Duck Pond area is “not what it used to be – now it’s just overcrowded; everyone on top of each other.
Resident Brittany Zamora wrote online that she “couldn’t be happier to see something really affordable” in her town, as a “mother of two who works weekends and attends college. full-time medicine during the week “.
Temecula officials said the project is the first to be “administratively” approved in October 2020 by the California Department of Housing and Community Development, as part of its 2018 Affordable Housing Overlay Zone prescription for Temecula. The program prompts cities and developers to build affordable housing in certain areas and neighborhoods and is designed to help address the housing crisis in the state.
The number of affordable housing units in Temecula is determined by the state’s housing department, Deputy City Manager Luke Watson said. As defined by the state, affordable housing is for individuals or households earning 80% or less of the region’s median income.
The 12.3-acre complex, called Arrival at Rancho Highlands, will include affordable and market-priced apartments and amenities such as a community clubhouse, swimming pool, dog park and recreation areas. It is developed by Jamboree Housing and Red Tail Acquisitions.
The project will cost around $ 29 million, with federal, state and private funds, programs and tax credits for housing low-income people, said Mary Jo Goezler, spokesperson for Jamboree Housing. The developers hope to complete and start the leases in 2023.
Construction on the apartments began on November 10, Watson said. An environmental review was not necessary and, due to Under the state’s housing mandate, the city was not allowed to gather comments, publish notices or hold public hearings, city officials said.
At the Town Hall of Temecula October 26 meeting, some executives expressed concerns about the site – which was vacant, according to state requirements – and the lack of public participation before construction began.
The state asked Temecula to find a specific amount of vacant land for the project, which made it difficult to find a site because there is a “limited number of vacant sites in the city,” Watson said.
“Unfortunately, the state continues to deny us local control,” Pro Tem Mayor Matt Rahn said at the October meeting. “There is not much we can do to oppose the project. It puts us in a very difficult position.
Michael Scalise, who lives about a mile from the future complex, said he was not opposed to the project or to affordable housing in Temecula, but to “the way it is run.” He is disappointed that “residents don’t know what’s going on in their own neighborhood. They don’t even have a chance to say anything.
“You have people in the state making decisions that are far from our city, and people here in the city who know exactly how it’s going to be, saying their hands are tied,” Scalise said, 60 years. “That’s the sad part and the big question mark.”
The construction of new apartments near a major intersection – close to Highway 15, a popular park and busy shopping malls – will have a huge impact on traffic, he said.
“There will be a lot more people no matter how you slice it up. “