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November 26, 2020

City Council weighing multiple housing items Tuesday

WATSONVILLE—The Watsonville City Council at its Tuesday meeting is expected to loan Eden Housing $1 million to help the nonprofit developer build a 53-unit affordable apartment complex on Freedom Boulevard.

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The loan would come from the City’s Successor Agency Housing Fund, which has a balance of roughly $2.9 million and an “excess surplus,” as defined by Assembly Bill 1084, that would otherwise be returned to the state if not used. The loan will be paid back over 30 years.

The item is on the consent agenda, a portion of a public meeting containing items expected to pass without discussion by the agency in question. Board members and members of the public may pull any of the items on the  consent agenda for discussion during meetings.

Eden Housing announced plans to build the complex at 1482 Freedom Blvd. in June after it received a $2 million loan from the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership and Housing Trust Silicon Valley.

According to the original announcement, Dignity Health and TECH Fund, the Housing Trust’s investment arm that enables greater Bay Area entities to invest in affordable housing, also contributed funds. TECH Fund investors include Cisco, the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, Google, The Grove Foundation, LinkedIn, NetApp, Pure Storage and the Sobrato Family Foundation.

The homes will be a mix of one- to three-bedroom units with monthly rents ranging from $423-1,936, Eden Housing officials have said. The development will also come equipped with a community center, computer room, offices, laundry, playground and recreational areas.

Plan to spend federal funding set for approval

The council will also discuss “significant amendments” to its 2019-20 action plan for its Community Development Block Grant funding, federal dollars awarded to the City to help fight blight, poverty and homelessness.

The amendments are needed because the City received an additional $506,260 of CDBG funding thanks to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. That cash, however, can only be used to address the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Staff is recommending $320,947 be used for emergency housing assistance, and $160,000 for food distributions—$75,000 would go to the Second Harvest Food Bank and Meals on Wheels would receive $85,000. The rest ($25,313) would be used for administrative fees and planning.

It is the second time the City has received CDBG funds from the CARES Act. The first round of funding, a $443,984 disbursement, came in April.

Staff is also recommending $859,732 CDBG funds itemized for the 2020-21 fiscal year and not related to the CARES Act to be spent as follows:

  • Section 108 Loan Repayment – Civic Plaza Parking Structure: $153,683
  • Youth Center Staffing (15% cap; proposed amount is 15%): $133,859
  • Code Enforcement: $100,000
  • Program Administration (20% cap; proposed amount is 10%): $84,190
  • Micro/Small Business Assistance Program (El Pajaro CDC): $75,000
  • Fiber Optic (Callahan Park): $45,000
  • Parklets (DPW Pilot Program): $65,000
  • Senior Center Kitchen ADA & Other Improvements Phase I: $150,000
  • Davis Ave. Park Basketball Court Resurface: $35,000
  • City Plaza New Waste Receptacle: $18,000

The council will also discuss the City’s 2020-2024 CDBG Consolidated Plan, a broad blueprint of issues the City plans to address with its CDBG funding over the next five years. The plan identifies affordable housing, economic development, public services and public facilities as its priorities.

221 Airport Boulevard

A developer of a proposed 49-townhome complex at 221 Airport Blvd. is seeking a “major revision” to the project to accommodate accessible parking spaces.

Shawki Deyn Properties LLC, owned by Raeid Farhat, is requesting a special use permit to reduce the total parking spaces on the 2.65-acre property from 133 to 132.

The reduction in parking was deemed a “major revision” because of the Watsonville City Code.

Approved by the City Council in 2019, the project would create 48 new townhomes and relocate and rebuild the existing historic Roache School building as an additional unit.

Farhat is responsible for several housing developments across Watsonville, including the recently-completed Marin Street Townhomes off Freedom Boulevard and the upcoming Jenna Townhomes on 655 Rodriguez St. 

For the complete council agenda, click here.

Tony Nuñez
Tony Nuñez
Managing Editor Tony Nuñez is a longtime member of the Watsonville community who served as Sports Editor for five years before entering his current role in 2019. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College and San Jose State University alumnus, he covers the city, business, housing, entertainment and more.


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