Earlier this week, the Vanguard questioned the conclusions of the opposition to Measure L that the WDAAC was in violation of the city’s Affordable Housing Ordinance.
The key claim by Alan Pryor was as follows: “A proper analysis of the WDAAC affordable housing obligations shows that they should provide 66 affordable for-sale units – half 2-bedroom and half 3-bedroom homes. If you converted these into single bedroom units it would require a total of 166 one-bedroom apartments not merely the 55 one-bedroom and ‘studio’ units that David Thompson claims is required.”
However, City Manager Mike Webb pointed out that the code section cited there was not applicable and that under a “project individualized program” it met affordability requirements.
He explained, “If the project proposed inclusion of ownership housing to meet its affordable requirement, then the City would require the mix of two- and three- bedrooms. However, the developer proposed instead a separate land dedication with 150 senior rental units, which allows for a lower level of affordability (80% Area Median Income and below rather than the 120% that would be required for ownership housing).”
Alan Pryor in response cites basically two factors which illustrate his thinking on the proposal.
He argues that, even under this provision, “it seemed so totally obvious to me that the affordable program offered by WDAAC did not come even close to meeting the primary requirements of the Project Individualized Program that it simply did not seem remotely applicable.”
He continues: “I do not see how the developer can claim that providing 60 units of affordable one-bedroom and studio apartments, which is all that is required under the Development Agreement with the City, could even remotely be construed to be equivalent of what I considered to be the minimum number of units required by the provisions of the Affordable Housing Ordinance for the project – that being either 142 or 180 1-bedroom units (not studios) – as I clearly articulated and quantitatively calculated in my article.”
As pointed out by another commenter, there is a clear difference in interpretation between Mr. Pryor and the city. Mr. Pryor is interpreting the phrase “an amount of affordability equal to or greater than the percent specified above and meet the same income targets” differently than the city.
He acknowledges this in a comment, “Yes, we are interpreting the phrase ‘amount of affordability’ differently.”
There are two requirements here, neither of which refer to the need for the two/ three bedroom equivalency.
Here it becomes clear that Mr. Pryor has missed the key phrase, as “specified above.” As you can see in the chart, the phrase as “specified above” clearly refers to the first three categories.
In addition to that requirement, the project is required to meet the same income targets, and, in fact, they exceed those income requirements, requiring 80 percent of median income rather than 120 percent.
As Mr. Webb pointed out, there is no requirement under a project individualized plan that the city require the mix of two- and three-bedrooms. This is important because of the requirements for providing for senior affordable housing are different than providing for family affordable housing.
Alan Pryor also claims that the city did not follow the requisite steps “ because neither the Social Services or Planning Commission or City Council ‘scrutinized’ the Project Individualized Program as specifically required in the Affordable Housing Ordinance [AHO].”
That part is murky at best. The Social Services Commission did review the affordable housing plan at their April 2018 meeting. Does that suffice?
According to Alan Pryor: “Not in my opinion because they did not review a proposed Project Individualized Program. They apparently reviewed a plan presented to them as being in compliance with the AHO and so did not scrutinize the specific requirements of a Project Individualized Program. In particular, they did not scrutinize the ‘Project’s compliance with the standards…‘”
As the commenter points out, this seems to get heavily into a matter of interpretation and technicality. My own sense is that, if challenged in court, a litigant would not win on such a technical point if they are correct.
The bigger issue is whether the affordable housing program follows the law, and it appears to do so under the provisions laid out under a Project Individualized Program.
—David M. Greenwald reporting