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LA VERNE, CA – The County of Los Angeles has been considering an affordable housing development and associated funding for a proposed permanent supportive housing project located at 740 East Foothill Boulevard. This is an unincorporated area between the cities of La Verne and San Dimas.
The proposed project includes 54 units on a .64-acre parcel for the formerly homeless in unincorporated Los Angeles County, bordering both cities in an unincorporated pocket. The project has been under review by the LA County Department of Regional Planning for several months and the developer applied to the LA County Development Authority Multifamily Rental Housing Notice of Funding Availability in November 2022.
Cities were not notified or engaged to be able to respond to the project
The cities were not notified nor engaged on the project until very recently at which time both cities immediately requested meetings with County staff and additional information about the nature of the project that was being considered. Both cities were not made aware of a second element involving the pending award of loan funding for this project until the morning the item was to be heard and voted upon by the Board of Supervisors at their meeting of April 18, 2023.
Cities were successful in obtaining a delay in funding consideration for this project
Elected officials and City staff from both agencies immediately requested that Supervisor Barger postpone consideration of the funding request due to the lack of notice to the Cities and residents. Supervisor Barger made a motion, which was approved, to postpone the project to the May 16, 2023 Regular Board Meeting. While we understand that this a state regulated project in which the state has intentionally limited city and county local control over what the development will be, the delay allows both cities to work with the County and the developer to ensure the proper community outreach with objective information about the project.
Both cities are actively working together to ensure community engagement
The City Manager’s from both cities initiated meetings with the County and the proposed developer to learn more details about the project, the developer, and the proposed management of the site. City staff will continue to collect information to best assist the knowledge of the City Councils and residents during this postponement. However, the project is being submitted as a State regulated, by-right proposal through the County of Los Angeles. As such, state law intentionally limits the local control both cities and the county have over the project, and our options are limited in our ability to have an appropriate say on the project. Nevertheless, both City Managers are fully engaged and are meeting with the developer, National CORE, and County staff with a goal of ensure appropriate community outreach and engagement.
Both cities are severely dismayed at the lack of transparency and communication with residents about such a project and funding decisions. La Verne Mayor Tim Hepburn articulates how both cities feel about how a project should be presented.
“While I am appreciative of Supervisor Barger gaining our two cities more time to better understand this project, just as our trust has been tarnished in the past, our cities are disappointed by the lack of information and community outreach about a project that has been in the system for many months,” stated La Verne Mayor, Tim Hepburn. “This is not how a major development, which at first glance is completely out of character for the adjoining neighborhoods, should be introduced to the communities. The lack of transparency in this process undermines not just faith in the system from residents, but potentially a project that could serve to solve a regional crisis.”
San Dimas Mayor Emmett Badar speaks to how the County can still repair some of the damage caused by lack of consideration for the public and the two cities.
“We strongly support robust public input and consideration on elements that are within the control of the local jurisdictions,” says San Dimas Mayor, Emmett Badar. “While we understand that under state law, both cities and the county have very limited ability to shape such a project, we know the county has strong control over how it can use potential funding for such projects to ensure any project that is in or near a city has the proper public engagement and fits the character and priorities of those respective cities. We expect the county to leverage such control here.”
The project is being processed through the LA County Department of Regional Planning as a by-right development which will not require any discretionary action by the Board of Supervisors. Unlike the entitlements, the funding will be considered again by the Board on May 16, 2023. Concerned residents can contact Supervisor Barger’s office at (909) 394-2264 or Kathryn@bos.lacounty.gov. More information on the developer, National CORE, can be found at www.nationalcore.org.