Coachella is expected to plan to add 7,886 new housing units over the next eight years as part of a state requirement to examine housing needs in California cities and develop strategies to meet these needs.
Known as a housing component and used since 1969, analysis is a key component of a city’s overall plan. The housing element describes a strategy for meeting the regional allocation of a city’s housing needs, a state-mandated process that determines the number of housing units cities must plan for over a given period.
In the next Coachella cycle, which ends in 2029, housing targets include 1,033 very low income units, 999 low income units, 1,367 middle income units and 4,487 top income units. Although cities are not required to build housing units themselves, they are required to plan for this number through the housing component process.
An American community survey from 2014 to 2018 shows that Coachella more recently had 15,405 housing units. But the proposed plan notes that the city expects the population to reach 117,500 by 2030, almost triple its current population of 47,186 according to the California Department of Finance.
Coachella has already submitted a housing element project for public review this year, available at coachellahousingelement.com, but its planning commission and city council held a study session last week to continue to assess conditions and housing needs of residents as well as to discuss how the city will meet housing demand at all income levels.
Coachella’s situation differs from other neighboring cities in several ways. Housing costs are relatively low: The median selling price of a home in Coachella in 2018, $ 245,000, was significantly lower than most parts of Southern California, as well as Riverside County. (2018 was the last year for which data was provided for evaluation.)
However, the median household income in Coachella is also much lower than that of other neighboring areas: $ 34,000, compared to the county’s median of $ 67,000.according to the 2020 US census.
âEven though these housing costs are relatively low in absolute dollar terms, really, Coachella households are under a lot of stress with household affordability,â said David Bergman, director of Lisa Wise Consulting, the company hired by the. city ââto help write the housing component.
Homeownership is relatively high, at 70%, an “unusual finding” in Southern California, according to Bergman.
Bergman said that among households that currently rent in Coachella, 40% spend about half of their income on rent.
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A Coachella Housing Survey is also available, in English and Spanish, to the public on coachellahousingelement.com until December 1. Early responses showed that residents reported the lack of affordable housing as their biggest concern.
âOn a related note, most participants felt that it is very, very difficult to find affordable housing to rent or buy in Coachella town. Young adults, the homeless and first time buyers have been identified as the community group most in need of housing assistance in the city, âsaid Lisa Wise of the same consultancy.
Since the housing element is part of the overall city plan, it must align with other parts of it as well as the city’s zoning code. For this reason, the study session also considered where the new 7,886 units could be located.
When Coachella adopted its general plan in 2015, the city opened up much of the community to housing development and allowed denser development in key locations, such as downtown. According to Wise, âThere is actually excess capacity for residential development over the next eight years. … We are in fact in surplus.
Mayor Steven Hernandez said that while Coachella’s low median income was bad, it also made the city competitive for grants and partnerships with private and non-profit developers. âIn terms of trying to meet the need for affordable housing, that might give us a few more points,â he said.
Wise commented on the city’s success with affordable housing over the past eight years, having developed projects through a variety of partnerships with nonprofit and housing organizations.
This summer, a non-profit affordable housing developer, Community Housing Opportunities Corporation, received $ 22.6 million in state funding to begin construction of new affordable housing in Coachella on 2.97 acres at 84- 900 Baghdad Ave. The project is expected to start in December.
But concern about Coachella’s recent affordable housing projects came from board member Megan Beaman Jacinto, when she said that while these helped meet a need, they often ended up pulling people apart. income function.
âWe need to consider, as a planning commission and also a council, to implement an inclusive zoning policy that will ensure that future developmentsâ¦ do not continue to replicate this pattern of one group of people here and another. group there, which is really unhealthy for any community, âshe said.
Coachella resident Maribel NuÃ±ez expressed a similar sentiment during the public comments, saying that after reviewing the plans for the housing element, she noticed that housing for low-income people should all be built on Harrison and 52nd Avenue.
Affordable housing project Villa Verde
Another housing project in the works for Coachella was discussed at a meeting of the Riverside County Supervisory Board on Tuesday. Supervisors put forward a plan to create an affordable 152-unit apartment complex known as Villa Verde Apartments, asking about $ 23 million in federal housing funds for the project.
The project is slated for construction on 9.2 acres just west of Calle Techa, between Calle Verde and Calle Zamora. The apartments will include a variety of options for low-income families and those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
The apartment complex will include 16 one-bedroom units, 72 two-bedroom units and 64 three-bedroom units, according to planning documents.
Hernandez noted that this was just one of many affordable housing projects, also including a 108-unit complex on Cesar Chavez Street, which are currently underway across the city.
âWe are on track to build approximately 400 affordable housing units in the city of Coachella by next year,â Hernandez said.
Hernandez said he expects the county’s request for $ 23.5 million from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development – which will allow developers to set below-market rental rates for apartments. – will be approved, construction due to start in a year.
“We want to make sure that as our community grows, the people who live within the communities have the right to live there and not to be displaced because they cannot move or their children cannot. join, âHernandez said. .
Eliana Perez covers the east of the Coachella Valley. Contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter @elianapress.
Tom Coulter covers politics. He can be contacted at [email protected] or on Twitter @tomcoulter_.