The affordable housing saga plays on as million dollar companies compete for community dollars. This episode started innocently enough, but quickly turned into Days of our Lives. The starring roles are competing development companies, both after surplus land, and the potential tax credits it comes with. Meet the episode leads: Phil Angelides, long time friend of Sacramento, and Anton Corp Rep. Brandon Dinon.
But the real breakout role was caller, Dustin P, on public comment.
A little background to understand the storyline here: Anton Fong Ranch Owner, LLC, an affiliate of Anton DevCo Inc. (“Anton”) is buying a 22.81 acre piece of surplus land located at 3625 Fong Ranch Road. This land is located in Councilmember Harris’s district, and it is selling for $6.4 million, which includes $4,945,000 in cash and a Seller (the city) Carryback Loan in the amount of $1,455,000 and a Regulatory Agreement (this is important for later) for the Affordable Housing Units.
Anton plans on building a total of 555 rental housing units, of which 406 would be market rate units and 149 (27%) would be affordable units. The affordable units would be intermixed with the market rate units in an apartment complex.
A portion of the affordable units (90 or 107) would be located on a separate land parcel and be built for tax credit financing purposes. The remaining units (42 or 59) would be rented at below market rates to lower income households within the market rate apartment buildings.
Relevant supporting info:
1. Surplus Land Act: In order to increase the availability of real property in California for affordable housing development this act requires the prioritization of affordable housing when selling or leasing public lands no longer necessary for agency use. 2. Affordable Housing: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has defined affordable housing as no more than 30 percent of a household’s income.
3. CWTA: COMMUNITY WORKFORCE & TRAINING AGREEMENT Councilmember Harris starts off by thanking Phil Angelides for putting his 2 cents in - and preemptively assures everyone that everything is fine and good to go.
Unfortunately for Harris, the losing developer (Angelides) was well connected enough to get his perspective to the TOP - Mayor Steinberg. Steinberg uplifts the concerns of Angelides.
The concerns in question? Well - according to Angelides, and the attorneys that looked at the contract, Anton could make off with the regular housing, and leave the City with a partial piece of land and still in need of affordable housing. Councilmember Harris responds with his heartfelt belief that Anton would never do a thing like that, but seems to offer no assurance that they can’t do that. He states that nothing is a guarantee, and as I understand it, that the affordable housing build is based on Anton getting funding from the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program.
Harris also called in City Attorney Sheryl Patterson for back up. She uses a lot of lawyer speak to explain that this is the best deal possible for the City, and that the City is in first position on the loan of the parcel, which serves as incentive for Anton to complete the affordable housing.
What else happened?
Angelides made a special appearance at the meeting, alongside Anton Rep Dinon. Angelides said he wasn’t going to say anything, but since City Attorney Patterson said something, he felt he had to as well.
Dinon also spoke briefly, communicating that he the thought this was a great agreement, and that any changes to it would make it impossible for any builder to complete the project (paraphrasing of course). Councilmembers Guerra and Valenzuela voiced some concerns.
Valenzuela even went as far as to request another week to look over the agreement since there seemed to be some discrepancies.
Harris quickly shut that option down, I mean….he’s already had to wait 2 weeks...He pushed the motion right along.
So what’s the true story? I couldn’t tell ya - but here’s the regulatory agreement in question, for you to decide:
BUT that’s not even the part that caught my social justice eye. During public comment a local construction worker, Dustin P, called in to ask if the people that are building the development would be paid enough to be able to afford to live there, without being on public assistance.
He asked why the city is ignoring a fair community workforce and training agreement.
Harris briefly mentioned that he wouldn’t want a CWTA (i.e. fair pay for workers) to hold up the building of this development. Anton Rep Dinon briefly mentioned that they have experience with paying people well, and working with communities…so yeah….there’s that.
In the future, when the city is using community funds to build community housing, being sure that the community members building said housing are being paid a living wage should CLEARLY take a top priority. Otherwise…who is the housing for?
In the end the sale moves forward 8-1.
The hold out? Openly against affordable housing, Councilmember Sean Loloee.