By JEFF CLEMETSON | Mission Times Courier
At its Sept. 9 meeting, the Navajo Community Planners, Inc. (NCPI) board heard a presentation by Community HousingWorks (CHW) about a plan to build an affordable housing project on the property currently occupied by Nicolosi’s Italian Restaurant.
Mary Jane Jagdozinski, CHW senior vice president of housing and real estate development, opened the presentation by describing the kinds of housing projects CHW does throughout the state, providing affordable residences for working families, seniors and disabled adults. The Navajo Road project, she said, would be limited to families earning 50 to 70% of the median income in San Diego.
“At 70% area median, which is a term or our affordable housing world, a family of four would have an income of about $80,000. At the lower end, a family of four would have an income of maybe a little over $55,000. A single person of that income, maybe a senior, $40,000,” she said. “So this gives you a sense of who lives in affordable apartments – it may be a grocer who is at the adjacent retail; could be employees of Kaiser; again, perhaps a senior relative of someone living in the neighborhood, etc.”
The project proposed for the Nicolosi’s site at 7005 Navajo Road, would be a four-story elevator building and include the following:
- 45 units with private balconies – 21 one-bedroom units; 12 two-bedroom units; and 12 three-bedroom units
- 59 parking spaces
- Multipurpose community room with kitchen
- Computer lab
- Management leasing office
- Outdoor amenity space including community garden and tot-lot
- Security lighting camera system throughout property.
The CHW project is not asking for any changes to the zoning, but is taking advantage of some building incentives offered to affordable housing projects, including an increase of 6 feet in the allowed height for a total of 51 feet high; and reduction in parking, although not a full reduction.
CHW representatives said keeping some extra parking was to serve the residents better because the public transportation nearby is only the 115 bus line that runs every 30 minutes in peak hours.
If approved by the city at its fastest timeline, the project could break ground by fall of 2021 and be finished in approximately 18 months, Jagdozinski said.
NCPI board member Shain Haug asked if any social services would be provided
“Yes, CHW does provide what we call resident services and that program typically will depend on what the general population needs but it often has some after school [program]. We always do financial fitness training,” Jagdozinski said, adding that programs are funded by operating expense and money from CHW because it is a nonprofit.
Board members Justine Neilsen and Matt Adams both commented that they would like to see the project add more units if possible, citing the city’s need for affordable housing.
Board member Doug Livingston requested CHW to bring a plan for landscaping when it next presents the project.
Residents near the project site who attended the online meeting voiced some concerns over the project.
A resident named Beth said she liked the look of the proposed housing project, but worried that the height of the project would be much higher than nearby housing and that the density is more than what is typical in the area as well.
A man named Rick voiced concern that the project will bring crime, drugs and “undesirable things” to the neighborhood and wanted to know what kind of vetting CHW will do before accepting applicants.
A CHW representative said all residents will need to prove income qualification and pass a criminal background check. CHW is also involved in a county crime-free multi-housing program in collaboration with police and sheriff departments, she said.
Jagdozinski also pointed out a study that was conducted in the City of Poway that showed affordable housing projects actually improved school performance, had no effect on crime, and no effect on property values.
A woman named Karen expressed a lot of concerns about the project.
“I’ve been in this neighborhood for 45 years and it is very disappointing to think that the whole neighborhood will change,” she said. “A four-story building right there just doesn’t fit in with the neighborhood and I think there are lots of concerns from the people who live here and have lived here for many years.”
Karen also asked if there would be onsite management.
A CHW representative affirmed there would be because by law all multi-family housing with 16 or more units must have an onsite manager.
The Navajo Road housing project will be back before the NCPI board for a vote on whether or not to recommend the project on Oct. 14 at 6:30 p.m. Details on how to join the Zoom meeting can be found at www.navajoplanners.org.
— Reach editor Jeff Clemetson at firstname.lastname@example.org.