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Plot plan pockets praise – copy of plan included

County planners praised an overhauled plan for affordable housing in the Wildwood Ridge Phases 2-4 development at a workshop Thursday.

But members of the Nevada County Planning Commission also asked for more details about how the affordable units would be managed and who would get them.

Developer Brian Masterman, president of S&Y Capital Group LLC from Los Angeles, will return to the commission within 30 days with more information.



At 1:45 p.m. Tuesday, the county Board of Supervisors will consider the development agreement with Masterman, which includes the new affordable housing plan, and the zoning changes the plan requires.

In the new plan, Masterman proposed offering 24 “half-plex” units ” that is, half of a duplex ” with two or three bedrooms at estimated market-rate sales prices ranging from $215,000 to $300,000.




And he reduced the number of rented over-the-garage units from the 26 originally proposed to 12 studio and one-bedroom apartments.

Masterman, whose company owns the site north of Lake Wildwood, originally had offered no low-end purchase opportunities among the 36 affordable units the development is required to include.

The plan calls for 352 lots on 207 acres; the county’s General Plan requires that 10 percent more units be made available for moderate, low and very low income earners.

Questions remain about how long the rental units would remain in the affordable category.

The garage apartments would be built as part of the overall house construction on the Type B lots. The homeowners would theoretically become landlords to their lower-income tenants under the plan. That situation can become problematic, Masterman said.

However, there is no guarantee that the units would ever go on the rental market. Commissioners also wrestled with the possibility that homeowners could rent to an adult child or a parent, fulfilling the letter of the regulation but not the spirit.

In the case of the half-plexes, Commissioner Laura Duncan raised concerns about who would buy the units, saying they could go to people coming in from out of the area.

For both types of housing, commissioners discussed how long the units would be required to remain in the affordable category; Masterman had suggested 10 or 15 years. They also considered how the terms of property deeds could be worded to keep them affordable.

“I think 10 years is too short, but … 30 years is too long,” Commissioner Bob Jensen said.

Commission Chairman Douglas Donesky noted both the concern about providing for local people and the potential for constitutional conflicts concerning property rights.

Commissioners also agreed they neither want to get involved in the details of managing these units, nor become burdensome to homeowners through over-regulation.

“This is not a free ride for anyone,” Masterman said. In these kinds of debates, he said, “persons in the business of producing lots and building homes are put in the position of becoming a housing authority.”

Duncan asked Masterman to do more research on how other communities manage affordable housing and how deeds can be restricted to keep units affordable.

To staff writer contact Trina Kleist, e-mail trinak@theunion.com or call 477-4231.


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