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REPORT: PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING, MAY 17, 2022
100 units of affordable housing planned for east of City Hall
On May 17th, at 5:00pm the Twentynine Palms Planning Commission held a public “study session” on affordable housing. All members of the commission were in attendance except for Commissioner Greg Mendoza with an excused absence.
Community Development Director Travis Clark started off the discussion with a presentation about RHNA (Regional Housing Needs Assessment), a tool used by the state of California to assess an 8-year goal for housing development within counties and cities. After breaking down the funding allocation of RHNA to the City of Twentynine Palms, he addressed the City’s focus on low to extremely low-income households.
Currently, the Twentynine Palms RHNA plan has a target of 1,047 housing units, added at a rate of about 130 a year. However only 18 units were built in 2021 and so far in 2022, only 19 homes have been permitted. Clark blamed the lag in meeting these goals on the shortage of labor and supply chain issues. He also pointed out the lack of a sewer system able to support that many units.
Clark listed several federal and state subsidies that could help offset the cost of building affordable housing such as tax-exempt bonds and grants/loans. The City is currently looking at a 3-1/2 acre parcel of land located east of City Hall as a potential site. Utilizing funding from the affordable housing allocation from the Project Phoenix plan, and these potential subsidies, this housing plot would include approximately 100 total units, all 100% affordable based on market research. This plan includes senior and family housing, with potential for veterans housing. There are still several steps that need to take place first before the City can move forward with this plan such as cost estimate for building fees, market analysis as to assess what each unit will cost, a revised site plan, and a pre-application meeting with HCD.
Clark recapped the May 10 City Council decisions on STVHRs during the Community Development Director Updates portion of the meeting. Commissioner Jim Krushat asked about permit processes and Clark replied that the City was still operating under the old code of regulation for STVHRs and that it was possible for the City to reach the cap of 500 before the new code goes into effect. Shelley Green, Planning Commission Secretary announced that there are 399 pending and issued STVHR permits. That’s an increase of 13 since the May 10.