Affordable appartment project moves forward

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Affordable appartment project moves forwardThe Ridgecrest City Council voted at its Jan. 15 meeting to allow Pacific West Communities to move forward with the Mojave View Housing Project — an affordable housing development planned for a lot on North Norma Street between Felspar and Las Flores Avenues.

On the agenda were two separate action items — one approving the sale of a 4.56-acre parcel to PWC, and one in partnership with the developer to apply for grants that would offset costs and add amenities to surrounding community infrastructure.

City Analyst Heather Spurlock presented to the council the renderings of a two-story apartment complex (shown here) that would allow qualified income earners to rent two-, three- and four-bedroom units.

PWC offered $160,000 for the property, which is considered surplus to the city’s needs. Spurlock said that the offer was consistent with the appraisal and market value.

The development will include a total of 76 units, with tenant access to a pool, playground, community center, half basketball court, picnic area, laundry facility, exercise room and office space.

The grant includes up to $6 million in funding for bikeways and safe crossings to connect the complex to schools, churches and other community centers. Grant funds can also be used for landscaping projects and additions that link local transit stations to regional services.

Spurlock noted that, according to 2013-17 data from American FactFinder, more than 1,500 households in Ridgecrest and surrounding areas receive supplemental nutrition assistance program benefits. More than 1,684 families have an annual income of less than $35,000, and 40 percent of female heads of household earn income below the poverty level.

The developer’ independent market study showed that the total rental market for Ridgecrest and Trona is 2,857 units.

Of those renters, 750 are eligible for affordable housing.

The study also showed than an additional 231 units are needed to meet those needs.

Qualifying income levels begin at $13,140 for the smallest units and move up in ranges that top out at $48,240 for a large unit.

Spurlock said that typical jobs in those income ranges include clerks, service workers and receptionists.

Spurlock also noted that the state law requires local governments to meet housing needs for everyone, and that the Regional Housing Needs Allocation has identified the need for an additional 321 units in the next three years.

PWC has built two other developments in Ridgecrest — the Senior Apartments and Larkspur Apartments.

“I love the project, and I think it’s going to be a real benefit to Ridgecrest,” said Vice Mayor Mike Mower, who also made a motion to approve both action items.

The council voted 4-0 in favor, with Mayor Pro Tem Lindsey Stephens absent from the vote.

The land sale and development are contingent on award of grant funds.

The council will hold a protest hearing for the complex at its Feb. 5 meeting, and have the option to take final action to approve the project.

Pictured: Artistic renderings show the developer’s concept for what the new apartment complex, proposed for Norma Street, will look like. — Courtesy graphic

Story First Published: 2020-01-24