Alhambra approves inclusionary housing ordinance 

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By Jose Ivan Cazares

Contributing Writer

ALHAMBRA — The City Council unanimously gave final approval to a long-debated inclusionary housing ordinance during itsSept. 28 meeting, designating a 15% affordable housing set-aside for developments of seven or more units and requiring 9% to be set aside for low-income households and 6% for moderate-income households.

If developers opt not to set aside units, they must pay an in-lieu fee to the city; construct or rehabilitate units off-site or donate land for the city to build affordable housing. The City Council also adopted a recommendation from the Planning Commission requiring housing developments with five or six units to also pay the in-lieu fee.

The ordinance went into effect immediately.

Despite pressure from community activists, residential developments that obtained Planning or Design Review Board approval before the ordinance took effect are exempt from its requirements. The ordinance will therefore not apply to the Villages at Alhambra development, which includes 1,000 townhome and apartment units for sale or rent at market rate, and which obtained Design Review Board approval last January.

The developer for the Villages, however, recently announced his willingness to negotiate a set-aside below 15%. The Ratkovich Company would possibly set aside an undetermined number of units to help the city meet a state-mandated goal of zoning for 6,808 new housing units by 2029. The mandate requires more than 1,000 of those units to be set aside for moderate-income, low-income and very low-income households, respectively. 

The city of Alhambra has been discussing an inclusionary housing ordinance since last year.

“It’s been a long time coming to get something like this in place,” Councilman Jeff Maloney said.

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