Inclusionary Ordinance update – June 2024

Friend of CHOA,

We are at the end of 2 years of advocating for more housing options in Arcadia. 

Thank you for your support, prayers, and encouragement.  Many of you have stepped up, especially these last 12 months, gathering and acting when it was inconvenient, raining hard, and not at the preferred time.  Amazing!  Thank you!!  Thank God for all the progress, like the Rezoning for more housing units in Arcadia.  

We have some updates for this month, especially on the Inclusionary Ordinance.

Here is what is in this newsletter:

  1. Inclusionary Ordinance details are more clear.  CHOA joined the City Council study session on June 4th.  We share what we learned below, and what comes next.
  2. We met with City Councilmember Paul Cheng in mid-May (see the picture above).  We so appreciate our City Councilmembers and meeting with them.  Read about the summary of that time with Councilmember Cheng.
  3. Housing new around Arcadia:
    • Second Avenue redevelopment: There is an interesting situation occurring on Second Avenue.  The new owner wants to demolish existing 16 units, and develop 16 new luxury units.  But this also displaces the 16 current residents.  This is a situation we need to pay attention to and learn from.
    • The Alexan Azalea development has started, at 150 N. Santa Anita Avenue.  This development is a mixed-use development with 7 stories, and 319 residential units (26 of them affordable housing units); please read more below.

Lastly, we urge you to take some time…yes, in the summer…to write an email/letter to Supervisor Barger, to keep the Lucile parcel in Arcadia for affordable housing; please review our newsletter from last month, see the link below.

CHOA May newsletter

Later this month, the CHOA team will take some time to celebrate and reflect on these last 12 months, take a break in July, and start again in August, with continued focus and energy.  Have a good summer!

–Mike Veerman
CHOA Team Lead

Inclusionary Ordinance update

5 CHOA team members joined the City Council study session on June 4th.  Here’s what we learned.

To be clear, Affordable Housing is for people who are working…and working hard…and have income.  These are teachers, social workers, police officers, firefighters on the low income level; on the very low income level, they are waiters, cooks, car mechanics, janitors, house cleaners.  They have income…just not enough for market-rate housing.   See the chart below, by size of household for actual annual income.

To recap, the city reviewed why the Inclusionary Ordinance is needed.  Below are their key points:

  1. Funding limitations: There are no funds coming from the State to build affordable housing.  The City and County also do not have funds for this.
  2. Integrate affordable housing in coordinated, cohesive projects.  Affordable Housing in the past has been moved to all one location.  The worst examples are looked at the “housing projects”.  A concentration of lower income in one area is not a good approach.  Integrating lower income with other income levels is better for everyone.
  3. Lack of city owned land & public housing: Arcadia built 6 units on Alta Drive.  We need to build 1,000+ Affordable Housing.  The City of Arcadia just does not own large parcels of land to build affordable housing.
  4. Effective – “bang for the buck” – approach: Use density bonus and other incentives to have developers build affordable housing.

The key components of the Inclusionary Ordinance are:

  1. Projects with more than 10 units
  2. Includes both ownership and rented units
  3. Possibly establishing an affordable housing trust fund, where the funds come from in lieu fees.

In lieu fees are used for when the developer elects to not build affordable housing units in their project.  In that case, they just pay a fee.  The in lieu fees have to be high enough for the developer to decide to actually build the affordable units.  We need those units built.

These affordable housing units percentages only pertain to rental units.  It is too difficult/complicated to keep owner units (condos) as affordable, when they change ownership.  Below are the percentages proposed in the study session.

  1. 9% – Very Low Income
  2. 11% – Combo approach of both below
    • 5% Very-low income
    • 6% Low income
  3. 14% – Low income

The city is considering moderate income as well, as that is an important income level as well.  This is a good first step.  Prioritizing Very Low Income, with a lower percentage (9%) is a good approach.  Developers may build those more than the others, as they need to build less of them in their project.

City Council will review this further, to give them more time to absorb all this information.  They will circle back on this topic, probably by July or August.  The hope is to have this come before City Council this year.  If this crosses into 2025, this is all up in the air, due the new formation of City Council, with the elections in November.  Also, waiting too long can cause missed opportunities to build affordable housing, as developers in the meantime, can build projects, without being required to build affordable housing.

CHOA will keep you posted, if there are any changes, and when this comes to a vote before City Council, and if it looks good, when we can write letters to urge them to vote for the Inclusionary Ordinance.

CHOA met with City Councilmember Paul Cheng in May

7 CHOA and supporters met with City Councilmember Paul Cheng in mid-May (see the picture at the top of this newsletter).   We are thankful for Councilmember Cheng for spending time, and listening to us. 

This means that CHOA has met with all 5 of our City Councilmembers, since September.

This time with Paul was like the others, in allowing us time to express why we want to see affordable housing.  With the Housing Element, 3,214 new housing elements are coming to Arcadia.  This is going to bring in 17,000 more residents to Arcadia.  Most of this will be market-rate housing, like the rest of what Arcadia already has…just more…in high density, large multi-floor structures.

With each discussion with the City Councilmembers, of course, those times are different as well.  CHOA recognizes that City Council needs to weigh on the multiple viewpoints of those living in our city.

With these new developments, there are questions about what all the newer residents will bring.  More noise perhaps.  Definitely more large buildings will be coming to Arcadia.  This will definitely bring more changes.  CHOA understands many folks in Arcadia want the city to remain as it is.  But from the faith community, we also recognize the real need for housing.  More housing supply will make prices not rise as quickly, as there is more housing available to meet the demand.  This also makes housing affordable.

CHOA is also keen to see more affordable housing to be included in these new developments.  And that is our main focus and point is.  Some folks are at jobs that just cannot afford the market-rate housing.  People need to have safe and secure housing.

Housing News Around Arcadia

There are key housing developments happening around Arcadia.  We pick 2 of them to highlight, to keep you informed.

To start, on Second Avenue (between Diamond and California streets), a new owner is going to redevelop a property with 16 units, and replace those with 16 luxury units.

Got a few question to start:

  1. Should we allow existing affordable housing to be torn down, to build luxury housing?
  2. What happens to people that are displaced in this new development? What protections are there?
  3. Is this good for our community? Should the markets always determine what happens to property, the land, and people?

There are some projections, like the California Tenant Projection Act of 2019 (that recent, right?).  These are to project against no fault evictions.  Residents displaced will receive relocation payments either, 1) waive of the final month’s rent, or 2) relocation payment equal to one month’s rent.  It’s the landlord’s choice. (California Civil Code Section 1946.2(d))

You can read more on these California Tenant Protections in the link below.’s%20Tenant%20Protection%20Act%20of,not%20provide%20such%20rights%20already.

Thankfully, the owner has thoughtfully proposed to give the residents 3 months rent free.  City Council is also asking the owner, once the development is approved, to give the residents 12 months of assurance that they can stay in their units, in addition to the 3 months of free rent….15 months in total.

Secondly, there is a mixed-use development ready for construction.  This is on 150 N. Santa Anita Avenue (see the picture below), across the street from the Rusnak car dealership.  This development will be 7 stories, include 319 resident units (one and 2 bedroom units), and includes 26 affordable housing units; that’s 8% if you are tracking.  (This is good, but you can see why we have to have a higher standard for affordable housing in Arcadia, via the Inclusionary Ordinance).  It’s ideally located near the Metro station, our large County park, and nearby restaurants.  This makes for a vibrant and active life-style, and provides more options for many to live in Arcadia.  This development is projected to finish in 2026.  Read more in the article below.

Lastly, to track the new development around Arcadia, we can all get updates and details from the city’s website, see the 2 links below (scroll down to the bottom of both web pages).

This Alexan project mixed use project at 150 N. Santa Anita Avenue will have 319 units, 26 of them affordable units.