Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Monday, March 25 @ 4:41 p.m.

Despite Concerns From Nearby Property Owners, City Council Allows Housing Development to Move Forward

Sam Schauerman's 56-unit housing development Roosevelt Estates is offering housing for moderate income households as well as Housing Authority applicants. | Jessica C. Andrews


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


Crescent City councilors allowed a 56-unit housing development to move forward last week despite concerns from neighboring property owners about how it will impact their businesses.

Sam Schauerman’s Roosevelt Estates will offer 36 two-bedroom units and 20 three-bedroom units on land that once housed California Auto Image. The apartments at 1405 California Street are for moderate-income families, however property manager Kevin Hawkins told councilors they’re also accepting vouchers from Crescent City Housing Authority clients.

However, Mike Lovaas, who owns an auto shop at the corner of Oregon Street and W. Washington Boulevard, and Gerry Hemmingsen, owner of the MorJon auto parts store, say they’re worried residents will have a problem living near an industrial area.

“We’ve had these businesses there for over 50 years and what we’d like to see is to have something from Sam that states [residents] know they’re going into an industrial zone so that we can be protected,” Lovaas told councilors, adding that the city hadn’t notified him about the proposed housing development. “I want to enjoy my property for the rest of my life and I’d like Sam to be able to enjoy his property.”

Crescent City councilors at their March 18 meeting unanimously approved amending the city’s zoning map and general plan map to allow Schauerman to build more housing units following a public hearing.

Schaurman’s property currently straddles a moderate density residential district and a general commercial district, according to Ethan Lawton, an SHN planner contracted with the city. Once the zoning map and general plan map amendments take effect on April 17, Roosevelt Estates will be within a high-density residential district, which allows for up to 70 housing units.

The part of the parcel that’s zoned for general commercial currently houses California Auto Image, a 7,050 square-foot body shop that closed its doors last year.

Hemmingsen, who has owned MorJon since 1965, said that while his business doesn’t do any heavy manufacturing “like we used to,” it does repair motorhomes, trucks and other larger pieces of equipment. He said he’s worried about potential traffic conflicts, though it likely won’t be a game changer.

“We’re working on almost 60 years and before that it was a machine shop and before that it was a mill site, so it’s always been heavy industrial,” Hemmingsen said of the area. “We do use that road, California Street. Not to any extent, but we’ll unload trucks there. It takes a lot to move those big rigs in there sometimes.”

According to Lawton, while the city does have industrial zones, the area Roosevelt Estates is being developed in is not industrial. He also pointed out that high density residential areas often act as a buffer between commercially zones and single-family residential zones.

“Having people close to your business can actually help the business, especially with it being within walking distance,” Lawton said.

The Crescent City Planning Commission recommended approving the general plan map and zoning map amendments after a public hearing on Feb. 8 after it was publicized in the Triplicate, Lawton said.

Property owners within 300 feet of Roosevelt Estates were also notified of the proposed development, Lawton said. According to the planner, the property Lovaas owns is designated as being owned by Family Trust and “that’s where the mail was sent to.”
An appeals period ended Feb. 19 with none filed, Lawton told councilors.

Lovaas said since he lives in Ontario, Oregon, he doesn’t receive the Triplicate. Nothing was sent to him via certified mail. Lovaas said he found out about the housing development via the Wild Rivers Outpost.

“Had I gotten notifications, I think Sam and I could have worked this out at that time,” he said. “I probably wouldn’t be standing here right now had I got notification and been able to go to the Planning [Commission] meeting.”

At the City Council’s Feb. 20 meeting, Lawton said Roosevelt Estates would help Crescent City meet its moderate-income and above moderate-income housing unit allocation outlined in its 6th Cycle Housing Element.

The SHN planner also brought up California’s density bonus law, which allows developers the right to build additional housing units beyond local limits in exchange for offering them at below market rate rent.

“If this were to all be shot down, the applicant would have an option to file for state density bonus and it would supersede any general plan amendment or zoning requirements,” Lawton said. “So this is part of the due process and this is the route the applicant has picked instead of superseding local requirements.”

During last week’s public hearing, Ernest Perry, former Del Norte County planning director, said that while Lovaas and Hemmingsen have concerns, they’re not opposed to the proposed housing development. There are ways of addressing those concerns, Perry said.

“The proponent may not like this, but you can build sound walls, you can put extra insulation in to deaden the sounds on both sides of the apartment complex that faces their businesses, you can put in … better glass windows that face that area,” he said. “You can also have in the rental agreement that the renter acknowledges they are occupying a residence adjacent to an industrial area where certain activities take place and they acknowledge that those activities are part and parcel of living there.”

Perry said the Crescent City Council can also include a note in the general plan amendment requiring the applicant to try to mitigate the concerns Hemmingsen and Lovaas raised.

During the public hearing regarding the zoning plan amendment, Hemmingsen reiterated his concerns, but said he supports Schauerman’s project.

“I think we need more people like Mr. Schauerman who uses local contractor,” Hemmingsen said. “I think he’s doing a wonderful job. Alls I want to do is coexist.”

Mayor Blake Inscore, who was a planning commissioner before being elected to the City Council in 2014, said he could appreciate Lovaas’s frustration.

“I don’t know if the property address being associated with the [family] trust is why the communication didn’t get through. There was nothing purposeful about that — we take this process very seriously,” he said. “But the Planning Commission was the place where all of those things should have been addressed and my hope would be that the property owners themselves now have an opportunity to listen and talk to one another and find a way to work together.”


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