Council approves housing element



Stressing the need for affordable housing, Angels Camp's housing element is being sent to state officials today for review.

The Angels Camp City Council last night unanimously approved the first draft of the plan, which addresses the city's residential needs for the next five years.

"It is essential that the council adopt the draft element in its entirety," West Kulm of the Calaveras County Affordable Housing Coalition said.

The council, so far, has done just that.

State officials will have 60 days to review the document before it comes back to the council with feedback and suggestions. Both the council and the state Department of Housing and Community Development must adopt the element by the end of the year.

"It's a bit of a negotiative process," Angels Camp City Planner Amy Augustine said.

In the housing element, which city planning commissioners have already approved, the city has proposed an inclusionary ordinance. That controversial section of the element requires developers to include low-income housing in their residential projects, to help ensure affordable housing is available to Angels Camp residents.

Augustine said many developers disapprove of this requirement because, in order to make a profit, they must pass on costs of the affordable housing to people buying other homes in their developments.

The Calaveras County Association of Realtors opposes the ordinance.

Establishing a redevelopment district to help fund affordable housing and infrastructure improvements is also a critical issue in the plan.

"In the context of the housing element, what it would do is help to repair the infrastructure that the city has sidewalks, sewer, water, those types of things," Augustine said.

Angels Camp Mayor Debbie Ponte said although "Redevelopment is perceived as a real ugly word," it is an avenue the city should explore.

Ponte said she's neutral on redevelopment and would be interested in learning more about the program once the council hears back from the state.

The Union Democrat
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