The Country Club Villas project

The Country Club Villas project on Pomona Rincon Road between Wallace Avenue and Los Serranos Road is one of the few housing developments in Chino Hills that includes affordable housing units. Construction of the third phase of the 70-unit condominium project is expected by the end of this year.

The State of California decreed Oct. 15 that a six-county region, including San Bernardino County, must build 1,341,827 affordable housing units over an eight-year period beginning in 2021 and ending 2029.

The number was issued to the Southern California Association of Governments, which is the regional planning organization for six of the 10 counties in Southern California, known as SCAG.

SCAG’s Regional Council will vote on a draft allocation methodology Nov. 7, after which the state will undergo a 60-day review of the methodology, which is based on jobs and transit accessibility, growth, and socio-economic factors.

Once approved by SCAG, sometime in February or March 2020, each jurisdiction will receive its official allocation from SCAG.

Cities will have an opportunity to appeal their draft allocation numbers to SCAG but their basis for appeal may be limited, said spokesman Jeff Liu.

In the summer of 2020, SCAG will look at the numbers and adopt the final allocation in October 2020, Mr. Liu said.

Cities concerned

Based on the 1.3 million housing unit allocation and the current proposed methodology, the city of Chino Hills would have to build 4,039 affordable housing units as follows: very low income 1,516, low income 890, moderate income 850, and above moderate income 783, according to Chino Hills community development director Joann Lombardo.

Based on the same criteria, the city of Chino would have to build 8,361 affordable housing units as follows: very low income 2,560, low income 1,545, moderate income 1,438, and above moderate income 2,819.

“The city of Chino considers the delivery of the required housing units within the planning period to be unrealistic and unachievable,” said director of development services Nick Liguori. “Chino continues to follow the process closely and will provide input to SCAG along the way.”

Ms. Lombardo told the Chino Hills City Council Tuesday that the number represents a 370 percent increase from the last allocation given to Chino Hills for the eight-year cycle that went from 2013 to 2021.

“For a city like Chino Hills that is largely built out, this is very hard,” she said. “Of the 4,039 affordable housing units allocated to Chino Hills, 80 percent of that is required to be multi-family.”

Ms. Lombardo said the city will relate its concerns to SCAG about the process.

State control

Councilman Ray Marquez, who serves on SCAG’s regional council, said cities in the SCAG region are not happy with the numbers.

“You will probably see groups of cities going to the state trying to get the numbers reduced,” Councilman Marquez said. 

“In the last four or five years, the state has been trying to take away cities’ rights on development.”

On Oct. 9, Gov. Newsom signed 18 bills to boost housing production, including requiring cities to allow for garages and carports to be converted or demolished to make way for accessory dwelling units, nullifying caps on residential density, limiting the amount of parking spaces the city can require when approving residential developments, and awarding developers of affordable housing extra units called “bonus units.”

In January, the governor signed an executive order to create an inventory of surplus state lands where affordable housing might be built. 

One of those sites was a 71-acre property north of the former Heman G. Stark Youth Correctional Facility on Euclid Avenue that abuts the College Park residential development.

According to a report from SCAG’s executive director Kome Ajise, cities and counties in compliance with state housing law are eligible to receive between $65,000 and $1.5 million, based on population, directly from the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development and on a non-competitive basis. 

These funds can be used to prepare and adopt planning documents and process improvements to accelerate housing production to be in compliance with the new numbers.

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