Possible site for affordable housing

This 71-acre field between the former Heman G. Stark Youth Correctional Facility (pictured) and College Park development, off Euclid Avenue in Chino, has been identified by the state as a possible site for affordable housing. The College Park development is directly north of the field.

Chino Mayor Eunice Ulloa advised city staff at the Sept. 3 council meeting to keep a close eye on the state when it comes to a 71-acre property just north of the now-closed Heman G. Stark Youth Correctional Facility in southeast Chino that has been identified by the state as a possible location for affordable housing.

Councilman Marc Lucio asked about the rectangular site, which is bordered by Euclid Avenue to the east, San Antonio Avenue to the west,  Cypress Avenue to the north, and Merrill Avenue to the south.

The southeastern portion of the College Park residential development is just north of the site.

Executive order

In January, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order to develop affordable housing on excess state lands. The order directed the Department of General Services to create an inventory by April 30 of all state-owned lands that may be available for potential development.

The economic feasibility of the sites was determined by 11 factors: parcel site, shape, grading, development adjacent to the property, potential for consolidation, lack of site constraint, proximity to job centers, proximity to education, proximity to high-frequency public transit networks, utilities and other services and amenities.

In mid-April, the state announced it had investigated nearly 45,000 state-owned properties, identifying 1,300 that could be good for housing. Among those was the property north of the former youth correctional facility.

Housing needs

In a map on the Department of General Services website, communities around the property are color coded regarding the need for affordable housing. 

Housing needs for nearby cities were determined through three factors: availability of affordable housing, the gap between supply and demand, and the rate of increase in rent.

 Areas were scored 0 to 3 by the number of factors they meet from moderate, high, higher and very high.

Chino is rated “higher” on the map, meaning it has a great need for affordable housing. The city of Ontario, just across Euclid Avenue from the site is rated as “very high.”

In a report released Aug. 22, the Department of Housing and Community Development determined that Chino would need to build between 5,045 to 13,104 to meet new state affordable housing mandates.

The state said this spring it will work with other state agencies and local governments to determine the viability of specific parcels for affordable housing development.

The Department of General Services plans to issue three requests for proposals (RFPs) to construct new housing, with the first RFP to be issued by Sept. 30. 

In this plan, the state will accept proposals from developers of affordable housing interested in entering into long-term leases for the land.

The state has not created a priority list for developing these properties, said Jennifer Iida, spokesperson for the Department of General Services. 

Ms. Iida said the state cannot comment on any interest that may have been expressed by developers on the surplus sites.

Council concerns

During the council meeting, Mayor Ulloa asked if the state could ignore the city’s wishes when it comes to developing the Chino site, which is not currently zoned in the city’s General Plan because it is state property.

City of Chino attorney Fred Galante said that is the question--whether the state has to work with local governments on zoning for these properties.

 He said the state could ignore potential zoning requirements because it is state land and will only be leased to developers.

Ms. Iida said, “while the state is not subject to local density requirements, we want to partner with local governments to make sure that any housing project is site appropriate.” 

She also said that it has not been determined yet if future affordable housing on these sites will be rentals or whether they will be apartments, single family homes, condos or a mix of housing types. 

Councilman Mark Hargrove said that when the state decided to sell property to developers for the College Park development, Chino residents were able to vote on it.

“I just know I trusted the state very little back then and I don’t trust them at all now,” said Mr. Hargrove, who retired from the California Instituion for Men in Chino.

“It is something we need to watch very carefully,” Mayor Ulloa said.

City spokesperson Vivian Castro said this week that the city council has not taken an official position on the governor’s executive order. 

She also said city staff hopes to work with state officials if the state decides to develop the Chino site for affordable housing. 

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