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Holtville Council Supports Grant for Senior Housing

HOLTVILLE — Affordable housing got a boost from the Holtville City Council on Jan. 13 when the panel unanimously authorized a developer to apply for federal funding on the city’s behalf for a senior housing complex in the southeast area of the city.

A 5.29-acre parcel would be developed for 32 units, all for seniors except one to be occupied by a resident manager. The city may now proceed with a grant application through the developer, AMG & Associates, for Sunset Rose Senior apartments at 704 E. Third St.

There is $6.1 million funding available from the Home Investment Partnership Program with U.S. Housing and Urban Development as the oversight agency, explained Cameron Johnson, an AMG representative who attended the meeting.

“I grew up in Imperial Valley and I’ve been trying to get senior housing built for over 10 years,” he said. “We couldn’t get the financing before but we finally got a funding mechanism to help finance this project.”

The apartments are earmarked for seniors 55 and older who earn 30 to 60 percent of the county’s median income. Rents are expected to be between $550 and $800 per month. The project would see the first 32 units on two acres while leaving the rest of the parcel initially vacant. An additional 32 units of senior housing is planned to be built over the next five years.

Also, a retention/detention basin would be built on about a tenth of an acre, perhaps slightly larger depending on the developer-funded hydrology study for storm water runoff, noted Johnson.

The developer must also improve failed sections of the Third Street stormwater system and construct a stormwater conveyance system recommended by an earlier hydrology study.

Johnson expressed excitement about the senior housing development and noted most potential occupants are single, with an average age of 70 and about 65 percent are female.

“They’re more concerned about security and a sense of community and that’s why seniors are such good tenants,” said Johnson.

Adding seniors make good neighbors, tend to shop locally and volunteer for civic organizations, he added, “Seniors don’t have a major impact on community services, traffic, parks or law enforcement.”

Jeorge Galvan, city planner, explained the project could stimulate low-income housing. He pointed out Holtville scored high for meeting HUD’s affordable housing standard based on overcrowding, income levels and vacancy rate, which is near zero.

“This is a good project to provide for housing requirements, especially to comply with the state’s Regional Housing Needs Allocations,” he said.

That 1969 state mandate requires California municipalities to plan for the housing needs of residents regardless of income.

The HOME awards will be announced in June and the project could break ground in 2021 and be completed by 2022, Johnson added.

Census Discussed

In other business, council voted 5-0 to cooperate with the federal 2020 Census. The city will assist with various outreach actions to maximize the count, Nick Wells, city manager, explained in an email.

“Much of the ongoing funding the city receives (sales tax allocation, transportation funding and grant consideration) has some factor dependent on population,” Wells stated. “We’ve already dedicated (nominal) staff time and a small amount of expense in setting up (Census) outreach. This funding will help offset future similar expenses.”

Wells did not immediately detail what funding he was referring to.

Request on Business Project

Wells also noted the developer of the proposed Cuchi’s Raspados has requested to reduce the space of their building in order to be set back from the adjacent building (500 block, Holt Avenue), which would make its construction easier.

“No structural exceptions are being requested. However, the city’s setback requirements in the Downtown A zone may not automatically accommodate the proposed change,” he said. “We will discuss further, then expect that they will submit revised plans that will reflect a minor change.”

This story is featured in the Jan 16, 2020 e-Edition.