Sentinel staff report–
Following a public hearing at a four-hour council meeting last week, the Citrus Heights City Council approved plans for — and imposed several new conditions on — a 47-unit supportive housing project on Sunrise Boulevard.
The city’s approval means construction could begin as early as the first part of 2020, according to spokeswoman Erin Johansen, who serves as executive director of TLCS, the organization that will provide supportive services for tenants. She said it will take approximately 14 months to complete, once construction has started.
The project, called Sunrise Pointe, will fill the old Abel’s Christmas Tree lot at 7424 Sunrise Blvd. and will provide permanent housing and on-site supportive services for those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, those with psychiatric disabilities, and those with low or very low-income levels. Tenants will be required to contribute 30 percent of their income to rent, which qualifies the development as an affordable housing project.
The development is projected to cost $23 million to complete and will include two buildings that will house 11 one-bedroom units, 24 tw0-bedroom units, and 12 three-bedroom units, each ranging from 622-square-feet to 1,050-square-feet in size. Eighteen of the units will be reserved for those with a psychiatric disability. Parking will largely be along the perimeter of the 2.35-acre lot.
Although winning approval from the City Council, the project still faces some potential hurdles to overcome before construction can begin. Primarily, the issue of a parking setback concession was not fully resolved by the council and the final parking layout still requires approval from the planning division. Additionally, a recently discovered 40-foot easement along the north side could present some further snags.
In a 4-1 vote to allow the developer a “concession” to have parking spaces closer to adjacent residences than the zoning code allows, the council agreed to reduce the total number of parking spaces for the project in order to have all parking be situated further away from adjacent residences, which has been a controversial aspect of the project. How far away the parking will be remains to be worked out, with a condition approved specifying that “The parking lot design shall be reconfigured to include a variety of methods (i.e. compact spaces, parallel spaces, etc.) to increase the setback area between the property line of the existing residential properties and the parking spaces to the fullest extent possible.”
Another condition imposed by the City Council requires the project’s developer, Jamboree Housing Corporation, to resolve the easement issue with neighbors on the north side before moving forward. Johansen said in an email to The Sentinel on Monday that she is “confident that the easement issue is solvable,” and said the development team “will work with the current owner and the neighbors to come to a resolution.”
Council members voted unanimously in support of most aspects of the project, although Councilman Bret Daniels voted against allowing the developer the parking concession. He said “tremendous weight” should be given to concerns raised by neighbors and said he was pleased to see the developer had addressed many of the concerns.
“I think the last thing Citrus Heights needs is another multi-family housing unit,” Daniels said during the meeting, noting the city has a higher concentration of apartments than the rest of Sacramento County. “That being said, one of the most important things we need is some ability for people to live where it’s affordable.”
Vice Mayor Jeff Slowey also echoed the need for affordable housing.
“I’ve said a number of times that I would never support a homeless shelter in Citrus Heights. [But] this isn’t a homeless shelter, this isn’t even really transitional. It’s permanent housing,” said Slowey. “I think the quality of construction I’ve seen from Jamboree is superior… it’s something that I could live in, seeing pictures of it.”
Based on input from residents, the City Council also approved changes including:
- Removal of a dog park from the plans.
- Reducing all three-story portions of buildings that face adjacent residences down to two stories.
- Relocating a trash enclosure further away from adjacent homes.
- Increasing the height of a masonry wall to 8-feet around the entire perimeter.
- Specifying that mature trees be included in the landscaping plan to enhance screening around the perimeter.
During a public hearing held prior to the vote, the council heard testimony in support and against the project from about a dozen speakers. Supporters said the project was needed to address homelessness and help those with low-income, while those against were largely nearby neighbors who cited their concerns about noise, impact on nearby home values, traffic, privacy, and safety.
Resident John Otter, who lives next to where the development will be, said he had “mixed feelings” about the project being approved, but said he appreciated the developer addressing some of the concerns of neighboring residents.
Kathilynn Carpenter, who spoke on behalf of the Citrus Heights Homeless Assistance Resource Team (HART) during the public hearing, said her organization has encountered frustration trying to find local housing to navigate homeless to. She said HART offers scholarships to help house those in need, but so far, the group has had to look outside of Citrus Heights to find housing options.
“We’re looking forward to having something in our own community,” said Carpenter.
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