Placer ponders $4M property purchase | SierraSun.com

Placer ponders $4M property purchase

Julie Brown
Sierra Sun

A concept sketch of Domus Development's workforce housing.

The Placer County Redevelopment Agency may purchase five Kings Beach parcels for nearly $4 million to support affordable housing in the community.

The county’s Board of Supervisors, wearing the hat of the Placer County Redevelopment Agency board, will consider the resolution at their meeting Tuesday in Auburn.

“In my mind, this appears to be a very modest approach to solving the [housing] problem,” said Supervisor Bruce Kranz. “We’ve got to start somewhere. We need a whole lot more than that. But if you don’t start somewhere, you’ll never get anywhere.”

Kranz said he felt the rest of the board shared his sentiment about the need for affordable housing for the entire county. But supervisors also recognize that the Tahoe area is much more problematic because of land costs.

If approved, the redevelopment agency would purchase the parcels on behalf of Domus Development, an affordable housing developer proposing to build in Kings Beach. Such partnerships between redevelopment agencies and affordable housing developers are very common, said Deputy Director Jim Lobue.

“Because affordable housing is really a nonprofit activity, these companies tend to operate on a very tight margin and depend on grants and government support to be able to carry out the work,” Lobue said.

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The county and Domus Development first formed a partnership when they signed an exclusive negotiating rights agreement last summer.

President Meea Kang of Domus Development said the county’s purchase would dramatically improve the feasibility of her project.

“This shows their commitment” to affordable housing, Kang said.

The five parcels, located on Deer Street, Fox Street and Chipmunk Street in Kings Beach, currently house 36 units.

According to Lobue, the existing units are small and cramped. Some are motel units that have been converted into full-time apartments. Others are “sheds that were meant for summer use,” he said.

“It’s a big deal for us, spending $4 million,” Lobue said. “But we’re wanting to keep the momentum going … because Kings Beach definitely needs [affordable housing].”

Initial inspections on all five parcels are complete. If the land is bought, the county will also consider an operating and management agreement with Domus, which require the affordable housing developer to keep up-to-date leases, collect rent and maintain the property in good condition. Rents will be restricted to an affordable level.

When the property is ready for development, existing tenants would be given the option to move into new affordable units built by Domus and will be given relocation assistance. The old units will then be vacated and demolished to make way for Domus’ redevelopment.