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By Shawn Raymundo
A city council vote allowing the developer of a proposed affordable housing facility for seniors to begin securing funding for its construction brought the project another step closer to breaking ground.
Following a few months of negotiations, councilmembers voted unanimously Tuesday, July 16, to approve a resolution setting the terms for C&C Development to acquire city-owned property called the Groves and build a 75-unit apartment complex for low-income seniors.
The property where the project would sit is located on the northwest corner of Camino Capistrano and Junipero Serra Road, across from JSerra Catholic High School and Silverado San Juan Capistrano Memory Care Community.
The project’s price tag is just shy of $40 million—up from the $23.2 million initially estimated in April—which C&C is expected to pay for, in large part, with tax-exempt bonds from the state and partnership equities, according to the city.
Nearly $9 million will come from the city through loans, $4.1 million of which is what C&C will eventually pay for the transfer of the Groves.
Under the terms of the newly approved Affordable Housing Disposition and Development Agreement (DDA) with C&C, and its partner Sean Rawson, the city will provide a $4.8 million loan from the Housing In-Lieu Fee—the city’s program to collect money from residential developers to pay for affordable housing.
San Juan’s municipal code requires new residential developments to dedicate at least 10% of its units as affordable. Developers can opt-out by either helping the city construct affordable housing in another location or pay the Housing In-Lieu fee that is calculated using housing market variables.
“Those fees are restricted to only be used on housing developments, so the use of the site for the development of affordable senior housing really works hand-in-hand,” said Laura Stokes, the city’s housing supervisor and associate planner.
Stokes also noted that one aspect the city required of C&C is to give preference to San Juan Capistrano residents and those who work within the city limits.
C&C will be responsible for repaying the city the $8.9 million through receipts from its housing development operation, according to the city.
The developer’s current plan for the project is to build a three-story complex to house 75 units to accommodate seniors aged 62 and older who qualify for either low-, very low- or extremely low-income housing.
One of the housing units will be reserved for an on-site manager, while 10 are intended as permanent supportive housing for extremely low-income seniors. Another two units will go to very-low-income seniors, and the remaining 62 will be used for low-income seniors.
The building is set to incorporate Mediterranean architecture and the rest of the site will include space for 75 parking stalls, a walking path around the complex for residents and a small dog-park area.
Addressing the council during the public hearing portion of the topic, San Juan resident Ann Ronan spoke highly of C&C, noting that she recently toured another one of the developer’s facilities in Sana Ana.
“They know what they’re doing,” she said of the developer.
She also said the project’s inclusion of 10 permanent supportive housing units was the right direction for the city.
Todd Coddle, a principal with C&C, told the council the development team is excited about the site and its layout. He also assured the council that C&C wouldn’t just build the facility and later sell it, stating that they’re “long-term owners.”
“We joke with the cities that you get us for life. We’ve never sold an affordable community that we developed,” he said.
The next city council meeting is scheduled for Aug. 6.
Shawn Raymundo is the city editor for The Capistrano Dispatch. He graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in Global Studies. Before joining Picket Fence Media, he worked as the government accountability reporter for the Pacific Daily News in the U.S. territory of Guam. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnzyTsunami and follow The Dispatch @CapoDispatch.