City Council committee requests research on workforce housing

Santa Clarita City Hall, as pictured on February, 26, 2020, is located on the 23900 block of Valencia Blvd. Dan Watson/The Signal

The Santa Clarita City Council Development Committee asked city staff to examine workforce housing projects in other cities to determine if the housing option is a good fit for Santa Clarita. 

The committee continued Tuesday afternoon a discussion started the prior Tuesday. 

“I’d like to just know what other cities are doing and how they’re doing with this and how it’s all worked for them and have our staff take a look to see whether it’s something we should do or want to do,” said Councilwoman Marsha McLean. 

A proposal by Standard Cos. to convert 278 market-rate units to workforce housing, which would restrict the rent to tenants whose incomes are 80%, 100% and 120% of the area median income, triggered the committee’s discussion last week. The area median income for a family of four in Los Angeles County is $77,300. 

“One of the advantages of this project is that you don’t have to build a new affordable housing project to get some significant affordability for the middle class,” said Hunt Braly, a land use attorney with law firm Poole Shaffery & Koegle LLP, representing Standard Cos. 

Chris Cruz, a representative for Standard Cos., said they would hope to purchase apartment buildings in The Madison at Town Center in Valencia and The Retreat in Newhall for $110-$115 million. 

Under the developer’s proposal, the property would be purchased using bonds issued through a joint powers authority, or JPA. 

“It’s really no risk to the city to join, and there’s no cost to join,” Michael Villegas, the city’s preservation officer, said of joining a JPA with the developer and a public financing agency. 

Villegas said City Manager Ken Striplin will determine whether to bring the city’s research back to the council’s Development Committee or to the full City Council at a later date. 

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