Story Corps
Rural site across 101 from Cloverdale of proposed "Transit-Oriented-Development'
photo credit: Googlemaps
Cloverdale leaders Wednesday rejected an appeal, bringing 75 affordable apartments there a little closer to reality.
There's still plenty that could delay or scupper the plan entirely, but barring a lawsuit, financing remains the only major obstacle.
While the project would bring desperately-needed living space within reach of farm workers and others with modest incomes, locals asked the city council to overturn approvals. Their attorney argued bonuses allowing more units and fewer parking spaces shouldn't have been granted.
Recent state housing laws reduced local oversight, especially of affordable housing proposals, something attorney Ron Dering bemoaned.  "This density bonus law, it's really an alien piece of legislation and it basically co-opts the ability of the city council to make what used to be a discretionary decision, it basically turns you in to a ceremonial role."
 The affordability means more units can be built. As a 'transit oriented development,' fewer parking spaces are needed.
The transit part is a misnomer. There's scant bus service and train service is years away. Council Member Gus Wolter. "I'm not against housing, low income housing, any type of housing, but I don't like the problems that this development is causing the city. I just think it's absolutely despicable that the state would make us give this type of concessions to a development."
City Attorney Jose Sanchez agreed new state laws hamper most local intervention.
"The state law has really handcuffed the city as to the narrow circumstance under which that can be considered."
Addressing the council, local resident Angela says the site, on a road with a 45 mile per hour speed limit is a real danger. "The lighting? It's pitch black. There's no lights at all. I mean, like somebody said earlier, 'going out to your car in the evening, you're just out there playing Frogger, waiting to get killed."
City officials say they will start applying for state and federal grants to pay for lighting, sidewalks and other improvements.
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