City Approves Zone Change for Multifamily Housing

The 40-unit complex will go in as an extension of an existing complex on the corner of Jefferson Avenue, across from City Hall.

A zone change required for the construction of a 40-unit low-income assisted housing project got the go-ahead from Murrieta city leaders recently.

It will be an extension of the Monte Vista Complex, completed in 2005 and currently the only low-income assisted housing in Murrieta. The complex is located on Jefferson Avenue across from City Hall and the Police Department. The plan is to add 40 units to the 64 already there.

Monte Vista II will be on City-owned land, purchased in 2008. In 2010, the City's Redevelopment Agency agreed to hire San Diego-based Affirmed Housing Group to develop this second phase.

Previously, the 2.16-acre parcel was zoned Multiple Use 3, which only allows 40 percent of a parcel to be residential. The City Council, going off a recommendation from the Planning Commission, approved a zone change to Multi-Family 2 Residential, which allows up to 18 housing units per acre.

The Council approved a 10 percent density bonus, allowing four more units to complete the planned 40. The project will be composed of three two-story buildings, and will aesthetically match the existing complex. Residents will use the same driveway, accessed from the traffic light at Jefferson and Town Square, according to Dennis Watts, Senior City Planner.

According to Watts, it will provide housing for those with low, very low and extremely low income. Applicants will need to meet county-identified income levels to qualify for the discounted rental rates.

The change will be incorporated in the General Plan--being updated now--and will count toward the City's quota of affordable housing needed under the Regional Housing Needs Assessment.

City Planner Cynthia Kinser said it is a highly desirable location to fill that need for affordable housing.

"This is a site that is going to be surrounded by commercial development," Kinser said. "We do have multifamily on the south side and it is by the police station."

A retail development is slated for the Olivewood building on the corner of Kalmia and Jefferson. To the rear of the complex is Lowe's.

Police Chief Mark Wright said the existing complex is peaceful and that the Police Department has received relatively few calls from it, compared to other multifamily housing in the City.

"We have had a very good experience. There have been no safety issues at all at Monte Vista. It has been a model project," Wright said.

During a public hearing held March 1, some area residents and business owners expressed concern about the project, however.

Barbara Marietta, a homeowner at Madison Park Place, was concerned about her property value.

"My concern is having low-income next to me," the homeowner said. "I am finding out that as we are getting a lot more renters, we are having more problems in our own Madison Park.

"I'm concerned about the quality of people (renters) and how concerned they are about their living area and their cleanliness."

Annie Borel, a member of the Historic Downtown Murrieta Association and a business owner, was concerned that adding more housing to the area before updating the downtown specific plan was creating unbalance.

"These are the things we didn’t want to happen. Before we have more businesses, we should stop building more housing. We just keep creating more bedroom communities, and we are just putting more traffic on the 215 and 91," Borel said.

Councilman Rick Gibbs said it was something the Council had discussed at length and that with a little tweaking, it was good for Murrieta.

"We really are doing something that is right for our citizens," Gibbs said, adding that in touring the existing Monte Vista complex, he'd seen familiar faces--family members of longtime community members.

"In our general plan what we say is that we will provide housing for all residents in this economy," Gibbs said. "As the police have testified, we have had no problems there. If you are a bad guy, the last place you want to live is across the street from a police station.

"This is not really a surprise, it has been in the works for five years."

There was no start date given for the project, which passed an environmental study. A staff report stated the current infrastructure was sufficient for the added traffic more housing would bring to the area. A bus stop will also be added in front of the complex.

Bruce Frederick March 11, 2011 at 04:22 PM
Were going to wonder why the city is going to go bankrupt. Do not need low income housing in Murrieta. Let these individuals move in with family to help provide for them where does it say the citizens of the city should have to pay or any federal program for that matter. These people now how to use they system to get something for free.
Rob March 11, 2011 at 05:55 PM
we have enough low income housing with the current recession and home pricing crash, but these public officials are just like D.C. short-sighted and self serving. A quick hit tax revnue stream for them and a long-term headache for WE, THE PEOPLE! At least the low-lifes will be close to where they will visit most. City hall and the police dept.
Amy Bentley March 11, 2011 at 06:23 PM
Wow, Bruce and Rob, quite a tirade against those less fortunate. Calling them low-lifes is just mean, and resorting to name-calling is childish and unnecessary. Read Maggie's story, the police say they have NO problems with these residents. Grow up and look around at the world with a tad more compassion. The type of folks who might live in this housing might just surprise you. I know a mom who is a full-time college student with two young children. The family lost their very nice home in the TV a couple of years ago basically because of the recession (NO fault of their own) and the parents are separated, both struggling to provide a decent life for their kids here. They work and go to school. The are NOT low-lifes. Each of them and their kids would be someone that might live in one of these homes. The mom is a hard-working, honest, totally decent person fallen on hard times and will eventually make good $$ when she graduates and gets a nursing job. So don't be so quick to judge these people. You are WAY off-base about who they are.
Lisa March 25, 2011 at 08:01 PM
You can't deny that it will also bring some families that might have a thug family member that has nothing better to do with their time than do some crime. If they are certainly not going to do their crime across from a police station, they will go out and do crime in the city, in neighboring communities and the nearby stores. Graffiti will be a problem and car and home breakins. I have lived in a brand new upscale community in southern california in the past where this same thing happened. A neighborhood nearby ended up being sectioned 8 and the crime rose in only 1-2 years. We had Gangster looking men and teens walking through our neighborhoods to get to their own. When a police chase went through my neighborhood with helicopters and the whole news scene, we finally had enough and got out. NO not all people that are low income are like this, but it is more likely that those that are lower income will havesome kind of family member follow them or living with them.


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