County’s first permanent housing for veterans near ready for Oxnard groundbreaking

This editorial originally appeared in VC Star, on Nov 29, 2017,
“County’s first permanent housing for veterans near ready for Oxnard groundbreaking”

Action from the Oxnard City Council on Tuesday paved the way for a couple of affordable-housing projects.

With the approval of state bond allocations, nonprofit Many Mansions has secured enough funding to build Ventura County’s first permanent housing for veterans.

The project on Saviers Road near Hueneme Road was approved last year. But a downturn in the tax credit market forced the Thousand Oaks-based housing organization to look for more funding.

With the timeline on bond issuance expired, the City Council was asked to authorize the bonds issuance once again. The bonds are issued by the state and place no financial obligation on the city.

Read more: Funding secured for county’s first permanent housing project for veterans

Alexander Russell, Many Mansions executive vice president, said the 40-unit project will break ground in February or March with a grand opening planned about a year later.

The $18 million project will include one-, two- and three-bedroom units geared toward low-income veterans and their families as well as homeless and disabled veterans.

Council members had some concerns about parking availability for the project. Parking is a perplexing problem in the neighborhood of Southwinds and was the reason another nearby affordable-housing project up for council approval was tabled earlier this month.

Russell said each unit will have a garage and there will be 15 guest spaces for a total of 79 parking spots. The number of allotted parking spaces is fewer than city standard because state law relaxes the standard for affordable housing.

In a separate action, the council removed an obscure requirement that an affordable-housing complex on West Stroube Street be turned into for-sale condominiums. According to an agreement between the city and Vineyard Gardens Apartments, the 62-unit rental complex was supposed to be converted to condominiums last year.

The city staff does not know how this requirement from 1999 came about.

The council agreed to remove the requirement, allowing residents to continue to live in the apartments without changes to the affordable-housing requirements.

“We certainly need to be grateful that people can continue their tenancy,” said Councilwoman Carmen Ramirez. “As we know, people need their affordable housing.”

In other business, the council approved $4.2 million for a street-paving project during a special meeting on Monday. The improvements will benefit portions of Victoria Avenue, Third Street, West Fifth Street, Sturgis Avenue, Eastman Avenue, Lombard Street and Harbor Boulevard. The project is part of a multi-phase $31 million plan to repave the bumpiest city streets.

Future phases of the paving project will benefit Camino Del Sol, Channel Islands Boulevard, Rice Avenue, Vineyard Avenue, East Bard Road, East Fifth Street, Emerson Avenue, H Street, North C Street and Teal Club Road.

The next council meeting will be on Dec. 5. Planned for Dec. 12 is the first of four public hearings on moving to electing council members by district instead of at-large. The hearing will take place in the City Council chambers.