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by Steven Felschundneff | [email protected]

On Tuesday, Claremont City Council voted to authorize a $1.5 million payment to the Jamboree Housing Corporation to partially fund the construction of a 33-unit “permanent supportive housing project” on the Harrison Ave.

The council voted 4 to 1 to approve the resolution, with council member Corey Calaycay casting the only negative vote. Calaycay expressed a number of reservations about the deal, including the apparent coupling of financial commitment to architectural design. He also felt that the proposed four-story structure was too tall.

Council member Sal Medina and Pro Tem Mayor Ed Reece expressed reservations about the process, being specifically asked to approve funding for a project before the council had seen the plans. Mayor Pro Tem Reece also asked city staff why this particular project was moving so quickly through the process when other land use decisions were taking much longer.

The rushed process was driven by the developer’s schedule, including applying for tax credits through Los Angels County with a deadline of a few weeks. Jamboree requested monetary commitment from Claremont to strengthen its request for future funding.

“Typically, an Affordable Housing Agreement would be negotiated and presented to City Council for approval, but Jamboree first requested a funding commitment to demonstrate public financial assistance. Jamboree is in the process of applying for capital funding through the Los Angeles County Development Authority and the application is due in early February. The proposed commitment of $1.5 million from the Successor Housing Fund will make the project more competitive for LACDA’s next funding cycle,” according to the staff report.

This development is quite unique to Claremont as it will feature 100% public housing, which qualifies the project for a density bonus under current state law. By ordinance, the Jamboree receives an 80% density bonus which increases the number of units from 17 to 31. The promoter has requested two additional units to “operate a facility of this type efficiently”, including the manager and on-site services. The development also qualifies under state law for a reduction in the number of parking spaces required.

The proposed supportive housing project will provide on-site resident services “for people who are previously or currently homeless,” according to the staff report. Housing would be limited to people whose income is at or below 30% of the region’s median income, also categorized as extremely low income.

The property at 731 Harrison Avenue between Larkin Park and the Friends of Quaker’s Claremont meeting place is currently owned by Pilgrim Place, which is selling the property specifically for use as a very low-income development.

The project will consist of a four-storey building that will be designed to “integrate and enhance the character of the surrounding neighborhood”. The unit configuration will include nine studios approximately 373 square feet each, twenty-three one-bedroom units ranging from 455 to 485 square feet, and a two-bedroom management unit. Additional facilities will include a 781 square foot community hall with a kitchen, 547 square foot rental space, laundry room, dog park, outdoor barbecue and 18 parking spaces.

If built, the apartment building would be managed by Housing with Heart which “provides the high quality support services needed to help residents successfully stay in stable housing, as well as overseeing the multiple agencies, partners and volunteers who will also be engaged with residents,” according to the report.

Claremont’s $1.5 million contribution will take the form of a loan from its Successor Housing Fund, which will be secured by a deed of trust and will have a term of 55 years. The loan will be funded when construction begins and will be disbursed in “scheduled payments”. The money will not need to be repaid if the developer honors the agreement to build the affordable housing and maintain low-income status for the 55-year term.

The city will now provide the Jamboree with a funding commitment letter, however, no money will be released until the developer and the city reach a successfully negotiated project agreement which requires further approval from the city council.

The approximately half-acre lot is zoned institutional and has been identified by the city’s housing component in the general plan as an ideal location for low-income housing.

On Wednesday, the Claremont Architectural Commission reviewed the project, including a number of concessions demanded by the Jamboree, such as reducing Harrison’s setback from 25 feet to 19 feet; increased batch coverage from 60% to 75%; increased floor area ratio from 2.0 to 1.12 and increased number of units allowed from 31 to 33.

“Affordable housing is a high priority for the City Council and the State of California. Providing affordable housing to low-income households is a particularly urgent need throughout the region and this project represents an effort by the city to meet its fair share of this type of housing which is identified by the regional housing needs assessment. and mandated by state housing law. said community development manager Brad Johnson.

Jamboree Housing Corporation is a 31-year-old non-profit community development organization that builds, acquires, renovates and manages permanent affordable housing for the rental and sale markets. Jamboree currently has $320 million in affordable housing projects and an asset portfolio of $1.1 billion, including development projects and an interest in 7,500 homes across California.

Jamboree partnered with the city to build the affordable housing complex, Courier Place, located in the former Claremont COURIER office at 111. S. College Ave. This project was completed in 2011 and was partially funded by the city’s former redevelopment agency.

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