For anyone interested, this is what it looks and sounds like when bar patrons are cleared from Downtown Fullerton at closing time…

Community Plan

A June 2 decision to approve plans for an affordable housing development near the Southeast corner of Raymond and Orangethorpe demonstrated how low income people are treated in Fullerton. The approval for the 36 unit building necessitated a zoning change from industrial to residential for the 1220 E. Orangethorpe location.  It is pushed literally to the edge of the city’s border with Anaheim, into an area with virtually no other residences nearby. In addition to 36 apartments, the development will include 2,000 square feet of commercial space.

The city’s goal for the years 2013 – 2021, according the staff report, is to build 411 housing units for residents designated to be Very Low Income, and 299 units for those falling into the category of Low Income. The Community of Friends project includes 35 Very Low Income* units, a welcome addition of affordable housing in a city sorely lacking it (one unit is reserved for the property manger). The Community of Friends project received $ 1.4 million $ 3 million** in affordable housing subsidies from Fullerton.

The project itself merits some attention for its commitment to green building standards, including LEED Platinum certification, energy efficient appliances, grey water systems, and, judging from the illustrations, plenty of solar panels, secure bike storage, etc. The inclusion of an on-site ground floor healthy eatery is a good start toward making decent food available to residents (Monkey Business Cafe was mentioned in the presentation, but, honestly, I can’t find their name in the report anywhere), but the nearest supermarkets are a mile away.

According the project description, the development would serve “individuals with a diagnosed mental illness who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and supportive housing for low income families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness”. Is there a particular reason to mix poor families who aren’t mentally ill be with those in need of mental health services?

Community BW

Most troubling is the location itself, right in the middle of an industrial zone. The original location proposed for a stretch of Commonwealth Ave. west of Euclid met with neighborhood opposition, leading to its relocation to a veritable housing desert near a gas station and other businesses. The nearest elementary school is nearly a mile and a half away, by surface streets. Is this really where we have to put poor families?

Community Map

The red dot marks the location of the approved affordable housing development.

* An earlier proposed development that would have been sited at the old Hawaiian Punch factory on Walnut would have also have included 36 Very Low Income units, but was torpedoed by a combination of the (temporary) shifting of funds to another projected fronted by an ex-politician and intense, and most would say unfounded, criticism by a current member of the council.

 

**Thanks to reader “John Doe” for pointing out the error in the amount of funding given by the city listed in the original post.

Budget doc 0 Tonight the Fullerton City Council will consider the 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 budgets for the city. The item was scheduled to be heard on June 2, but was continued to a special meeting on June 9 because some council members were tired and didn’t want to stay up too late. Readers can find the 106 page document here:

http://docs.cityoffullerton.com/weblink8/1/doc/569315/Page1.aspx

but it isn’t exactly a user friendly experience. Despite being composed of digitally created documents, the budget document itself is a series of scanned pages, so readers cannot search it for specific terms, and must instead scan though the whole thing as if they were looking at microfiche at their local library in 1972.

Budget doc 1

And, speaking of libraries, how about this morsel from the introduction about the Hunt Branch Library?*

Budget doc Hunt

Not much of an answer, if you ask the Rag, who has covered this story since before the City of Fullerton decided it was a good idea to close one of its two library branches and lease it out to a church, all the while insisting that the plan was to revitalize it and reopen it someday. The most telling clue about the fate of the Hunt Branch is not the non-answer from the staff, but in the question itself, which now includes the term “replacing” in addition to “reopening.” Raise your curser if you saw that one coming.

Scanning though the budget, one finds several pages of entries listing the planned increases to fees for renting Parks and Recreation facilities. These supplemental documents are even more unhelpfully scanned and reproduced sideways, making them difficult to read unless printed…

Budget doc 2

 

*Say, how is that promised historical designation of the building coming along?

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