A rendering from CKA Architects shows the proposed townhome development at 3212 Mission Drive.
(Patrick Riley / Lookout Santa Cruz)
Places

Santa Cruz County greenlights 21-unit townhome project with some units for lower-income buyers

The development at 3212 Mission Drive (near the corner of Mission and Soquel Drive) will set aside two units for sale to moderate-income residents and one to a “very low-income” household. The remaining 18 units will be available for sale at market rate.

Santa Cruz County supervisors this week gave a green light to a proposed 21-unit townhome development near Dominican Hospital that would include some homes for lower-income residents.

The development at 3212 Mission Drive (near the corner of Mission and Soquel Drive) will set aside two units for sale to moderate-income residents and one to a “very low-income” household. The remaining 18 units will be available for sale at market rate.

The county’s planning commission unanimously backed the project — which will be comprised of 11 two-story buildings on the .88-acre parcel — in February. Each townhome will have three bedrooms.

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“I think this project is exceptionally well designed,” Supervisor Manu Koenig said before the unanimous vote approving the project Tuesday. Among other things, Koenig highlighted its goal of powering the development with electricity via roof-mounted solar panels and a deed restriction to ensure that occupants use the garage for their cars instead of storage.

Income limits for the affordable units depend on the size of the household and are updated every spring by the state, at which point the county also updates its guidelines.

Currently, the income limits to qualify for the very low-income unit range from $66,200 for a four-person household to $82,100 for a household with seven people.

For the moderate-income units, those limits range from $132,000 for a four-person household to $163,700 for a household with seven people.

While those numbers might seem high, “the income limits for this area and for much of California are actually adjusted upward by (the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) to reflect how high the prevailing housing costs are,” Suzanne Ise, a principal planner with the county’s planning department in the housing division, explained to supervisors.

The county generally does a random drawing to select buyers for affordable units in new developments, Ise said in an email to Lookout. With respect to 3212 Mission Drive, county officials plan to issue a news release when that occurs, which will be about six months before construction is complete. Because that most likely will be about two years from now, there will be new income limits by then, Ise wrote.

Though no residents provided public comment regarding the project Tuesday, previous comments from some neighbors centered around worries that parking woes in the area would be exacerbated by the development.

The project will provide one garage space and one uncovered parking space for each townhome. Additionally, there will be a covered bike parking space for each townhome, and the development will provide five shared bike parking spaces on top of that.

“When meeting with the neighbors, it became quite apparent that parking was the major concern in the area,” Chris Kummerer, an architect for the project applicant, told supervisors. “So the project team added six additional parking spaces near the Thurber Lane side to try to address that concern.”