More than 200 attended the planning commission workshop and more than 40 commented on the state ordered affordable housing rezoning in Sanger
The State of California has told the City of Sanger that it must be able to accommodate 956 affordable housing units.
"They’re saying that our obligation is to ensure that those units can get built," Sanger's senior planner David Breletic told approximately 200 people in the community center for a March 14 planning commission workshop.
To accommodate that many housing units Sanger is being required by the state to rezone almost 63 acres inside the city limits for high density housing.
That obviously created the image of Section 8 apartments in the minds of the majority of the more than 40 people who pleaded with the commission not to carry out the state's zoning mandate.
A few of the speakers agreed with the concept that more affordable housing is needed. However, most emphasized they didn't want it in their neighborhood.
"It will bring down housing values," was the overarching theme of those who spoke to the commission.
Cathy Montoya seemed to sum up the mood of the majority when she said, "I grew up in a low income area. I went to college and got a career so I could move up, live in a better area. This [rezoning] would take that away from me by reducing my home's value and changing the nature of my neighborhood."
"There will be no action by the planning commission this evening," city attorney Hilda Cantu Montoy told the crowd.
"Tonight is a workshop. Later there will be a public hearing – at that time there be another public notice. Once the planning commission makes a decision - after the public hearing - they will make a recommendation to the city council and it is the council who will make a final decision," said Montoy.
She emphasized that the zoning is required by state law and all cities in California are dealing with the same issues.
" The consequences unfortunately are pretty severe if the city does not meet the requirements," said Montoy.
"Many cities, as well as Sanger, are behind because there was no enforcement [under Gov. Brown] and they just put it off into the future. But now there is enforcement and that brings a seriousness to this matter ... the governor's office sent a message to the city of Clovis that gas tax [payments to the city] would be halted if they did not comply with these requirements … and housing development could be stopped … " said Montoy.
" To prevent these things [from happening in Sanger] we hope that with your help the planning commission and the city council will be able to make some positive decisions."
Breletic and development director Tom Navarro tried to make it clear there are currently no developers standing by waiting to build high density complexes. They emphasized that the city is dealing only with a demand by the state to get the rezoning done.
The next regular meeting of the planning commission is scheduled for 6 p.m. on March 28 at city hall, 1700 7th St.