A new apartment complex for low-income residents could break ground in San Luis Obispo by the end of the year and be completed by late 2019 — if all goes to plan.
The Housing Authority of San Luis Obispo (HASLO) has received city planning approvals for its Courtyard at the Meadows project at 3175 Violet St. located off Prado Road near the South Hills Open Space — giving a boost to the city’s ongoing efforts to meet a major goal of providing affordable housing for the area’s workforce.
The 36-unit complex will serve those who qualify as low-income and very-low-income under state affordable housing guidelines who already live or work in San Luis Obispo but can’t afford decent workforce housing in the city. Disabled applicants also will be eligible.
“We’re trying to correct the imbalance between people who work here, but who commute in everyday from outside of town,” said Scott Smith, HASLO’s executive director. “Or they’re people who already live here, but they’re overburdened with housing costs or living in substandard housing.”
Thirty-one of the homes will be designated for low-income residents, meaning those who earn up to 60 percent of the area median income (AMI). In San Luis Obispo County, that means a single person earning an annual salary of up to $34,320 per year and a household of four earning up to $49,020.
Four units will be designated for very-low-income residents, those who earn up to 50 percent of the AMI. In San Luis Obispo County, that means a single person earning up to $28,600 and a family of four earning up to $40,850.
One unit in the complex will be reserved for an on-site manager.
The plan calls for nine one-bedroom, 557-square-foot units; 18 two-bedroom, 826-square-foot units; and nine three-bedroom, 1,023-square-foot units. RRM Design Group completed architecture work for the planned project.
“We look forward to being able to add 36 more units of affordable housing to this community,” said Elaine Archer, HASLO’s director of housing management at a Feb. 6 City Council meeting.
Applications for the complex are not yet being accepted, but HASLO will be posting an announcement on its website with more information and to advertise the application process.
AHF loans typically have a 20- to 30-year term with a rate of 3 to 4 percent simple interest, according to the city’s staff report on the project.
To raise the rest of the needed financing, HASLO will request additional funding from the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program (allowing federal tax benefits specific to the project that can be sold to private investors) as well as from the County Board of Supervisors.
The city has a major city goal to facilitate housing for the community’s workforce, including low- and very-low-income residents “through increased density and proximity to transportation corridors in alignment with the Climate Action Plan,” according to the city.
The city’s AHF fund, established in 1999, collects in-lieu fees from developers through the city’s Inclusionary Housing Ordinance. Developers also have the choice to build affordable housing as part of their projects’ Inclusionary Housing requirements (required numbers of units differ depending on the size of the project).
The city’s AHF fund has $1,123,088 remaining after the Courtyard at the Meadows award.
Construction on another HASLO affordable housing project, Iron Works Apartments, a 46-unit rental project, is underway near the corner of Broad Street and Industrial Way in San Luis Obispo. The project should be ready for occupancy sometime in the fall.