Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Thursday, Feb. 22 @ 11:57 a.m.

56-Unit Housing Development Planned For California Street Near Washington Boulevard; Property Housed Former California Auto Image Body Shop

Crescent City councilors approved a zoning amendment Tuesday that paves the way for a 56-unit housing development near Washington Boulevard. | Image courtesy of Crescent City

Crescent City councilors on Tuesday agreed to changing the zoning designation for a 2.34-acre parcel that once housed California Auto Image, potentially paving the way for a 56-unit housing development.

Sam Schauerman’s property at 1405 California Street straddles a moderate density residential district and a general commercial district, according to Ethan Lawton, an SHN planner contracted with Crescent City.

The developer is already building 16 housing units on the southern portion of his property. But he's now asking the county to change that portion to a high-density residential district, which will enable him to build more units, Lawton told councilors.

“The density would change to about 70 units,” he said. “And the applicant has submitted a site plan, which was approved by the Planning Commission for 56 units. That’s 14 units under what the [zone] would allow, but exceeds the current density, which is why there’s a zoning change [requested].”

The part of the parcel zoned for general commercial currently houses the 7,050 square-foot commercial building that had been the now-closed body shop, according to the city’s staff report.

Along with the zoning amendment, the City Council approved amending the zoning map and general plan map. The proposed ordinance authorizing those changes will come back before the Council on March 18 for a public hearing. If adopted, the changes would take effect on April 17.

The Crescent City Planning Commission gave their blessing to Schauerman’s proposed Roosevelt Estates development at its Feb. 8 meeting.

According to Tuesday’s staff report, Schauerman plans to build 36 two-bedroom units and 20 three-bedroom units.

On Tuesday, Lawton referred to Crescent City’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA). Mentioned in its 6th Cycle Housing Element, Crescent City will need to plan for at least 189 units between 2022 and 2030.

Crescent City has allowed developments for very low- and low-income housing to move forward, enabling it to meet its RHNA in those two categories, Lawton said. But the city has yet to meet its housing allocation for moderate-income and above-moderate-income housing units, he said.

The city’s draft housing element update for 2022-2030 states that it needs to allow for 27 moderate-income housing units and 101 above-moderate-income housing units.

Roosevelt Estates allows Crescent City to meet its moderate income housing target, Lawton told the City Council.

Schauerman’s development also meets the criteria for amending the city’s general plan, Lawton said.

“As we’ve heard multiple times already, there’s a housing need not only in California, but here in Crescent City,” he said. “Amending the general plan map to allow more housing seems to fit the need of the community.”

A proposed 56-unit housing development is being planned for California Street near Washington Boulevard. | Image courtesy of Parcel Quest

Kevin Hawkins, broker for Alder Point Real Estate, told councilors on Tuesday that while the Roosevelt Estates project will allow Crescent City to meet its moderate-income allocation, it would also provide affordable housing. He said he assumed Schauerman could do what many developers are doing — build single family homes and sell them for $500,000. But that doesn’t meet the need for affordable housing, Hawkins said.

Stating that it’s a “supply and demand issue,” Hawkins said the more vacant units in Del Norte County, the more affordable housing will be for the whole community. Del Norte is still recovering from an increase in rental prices during the COVID-19 pandemic, he said. A three-bedroom home for years rented for $1,200 to $1,400 a month in Del Norte County. During the pandemic, rents increased to nearly $2,000 per month, Hawkins said.

The more housing projects Crescent City and Del Norte County can encourage, the more those prices will drop, Hawkins said.

“When we have a rental that comes on the market, for every one rental we have at least 10 applicants and probably six to seven of those are Housing Authority applicants,” he said, referring to the Crescent City Housing Authority’s voucher program. “I do think this will be a wonderful project that will fall within the [affordable housing] guidelines.”

Calling Roosevelt Estates “good stuff,” Crescent City Mayor Blake Inscore pointed to the difficulty Del Norte Unified School District has had to keep teachers due to the lack of housing. Sutter Coast Hospital struggles with the same issue, Inscore said.

“They want to come and live here in this community, they want to work here, and yet we don’t have places for people to live,” he said. “We need all levels; our Housing Element clearly tells us that.”


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