Three Parcels in Town May Allow 30 Units an Acre

The San Juan Capistrano Planning Commission tackles how to accommodate more affordable housing.

The city of San Juan Capistrano owns this land across from JSerra, which it now wants to sell to an affordable housing developer. Patch photo credit: Mynor Arevalo.
The city of San Juan Capistrano owns this land across from JSerra, which it now wants to sell to an affordable housing developer. Patch photo credit: Mynor Arevalo.

The Planning Commission began the process Tuesday to change three large parcels in San Juan Capistrano to very high density to meet the state’s requirement the city accommodate affordable housing.

The three parcels that will see as many as 30 units an acre are:

The city is updating its plans for housing – of all types, market priced and affordable. Officials have until mid-February to make the tweaks or face the state withholding transportation funds, said Nelson Miller, interim director of community development.

“Each jurisdiction, cities and county, must accommodate their fair share of the affordable housing needs based on the state’s population growth,” Miller said.

For San Juan Capistrano, the numbers actually went down compared to the housing plans of 2008-14, Miller said. The city’s target number now is 638, about half what it used to be.

That breaks down by 74 units designated for those of extremely low income, 73 units for very low income, 104 units for low income, 120 in moderate-income housing units and 267 units for above-moderate-income housing, he said.

Just because the zoning densities will change, doesn’t mean that any affordable housing will be built, Miller added.

“The key in housing elements is that you provide opportunities, not that you have to do certain things, just that you provide the opportunity,” he said.

And, even with permission to build 30 units an acre, most projects will come in around 24 because of physical site constraints, Miller said. To picture it properly, most two-story garden apartment complexes are 24 units an acre.

San Juan Capistrano does not have a good track record of attracting affordable housing, said Dave Solt, a member of the now-defunct Housing Advisory Committee.

“Our city has continually procrastinated, and we have built ourselves in a corner,” he said. “The City Council isn’t going to do this work. They really don’t care about it. They’ll play lip service to it. Be proactive. … It needs to be done because there will be consequences. It needs to be done because it’s the right thing to do.

“We want housing for the well to do, the median and the low income,” Solt said.

Next up, the City Council is expected to consider the Planning Commission’s recommendation at its Jan. 21 meeting. 

Click here for today’s top stories from San Juan Capistrano Patch.

Stay Patched in! Like San Juan Capistrano Patch on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter and Sign up for the daily email with links to the latest local news.

Donna Fleming December 11, 2013 at 12:47 PM
And where is our "Open Space" commission organized for the purpose of Conservation and Open Space, and Parks. The Chairmain, •Robert Ferguson and members, •Ilse Byrnes, •Al King•Tom Ostensen •Elliot Levenson are tasked with the job of keeping our Open Space free of this type of development.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) December 11, 2013 at 12:55 PM
We can't be free of this type of development. It's a state mandate that the city plans accommodate for it, should anyone want to build it.
Donna Fleming December 11, 2013 at 02:26 PM
Then why do we have an open space commission to protect us from over development of our open space?
Penny Arévalo (Editor) December 11, 2013 at 02:43 PM
Open space doesn't mean any space that's not yet developed. Land has to be designated as open space. The Ventanas project has always been targeted for development (currently for commercial and manufacturing). The one on Via California is meant for a school. The landowner wants to give it to the school district to meet the requirements developers have in providing schools for their new residents. The school district doesn't plan a school there, so it would likely, if it gets ownership, sell it. A high density zoning would bring higher dollars to put into existing and other new schools. The Groves IS on open space the city owns. It, however, was always considered for affordable housing (that the city might have built itself had the redevelopment agencies not been dissolved by Gov. Brown).
rob h December 12, 2013 at 09:19 AM
YAY! Let's add even more to the congestion in this town. I hope they fix the Ghost Train (which I have had the pleasure AGAIN to sit while traffic backs up and tempers flair). So, this breaks down to 638 units all together with 1-2 cars per. So that would be an additional 1,276 cars on the road in San Juan, or 638 if 1 car per unit. Great thinking!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something