Units at Avalon Calabasas should be preserved

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Dozens of hard-working Calabasas residents may soon face eviction and displacement.

Time is short.

Calabasas has very little affordable housing and one of the few developments where there is affordable housing, Avalon Calabasas, is losing the covenants that require that these homes remain affordable. That means that nearly 80 families may lose their homes. Many have been a part of this Calabasas community for years.

Across the county, many apartment buildings were built decades ago with a time-limited commitment from the developer to include affordable housing. As those contracts now expire, as is happening at the Avalon Calabasas, which was built more than 30 years ago, some of this community’s longtime residents are at risk of displacement.

In 2016, the affordable housing program at the Malibu Canyon

Apartments expired and hundreds of longtime Calabasas residents were displaced. Children had to transfer to new schools. Parents had to find new affordable apartments, often far from this area, and as a result, their commutes were longer. In other cases, they had to find new jobs closer to home.

Fast forward three years and history is repeating itself, but this time it involves our neighbors at Avalon Calabasas.

Avalon Calabasas is the last large-scale affordable housing in Calabasas. At a time when we need more apartments that working families can afford, Calabasas is at risk of losing the only significant amount of affordable housing in the community.

For the last year, my office has worked closely with the property owner, AvalonBay Communities, to find gap funding so that these residents would not be displaced from their homes. While this funding is helping right now, it is only available as a short-term, stop-gap measure.

We have also helped develop a proposal that would allow longtime residents to keep their homes and preserve affordable housing at AvalonBay Communities well into the future. Avalon would be allowed to develop a limited number of new housing units within the existing complex.

By increasing the number of homes on the site by 26%, or 160 new homes, they would achieve the density needed to support the affordable homes at no cost to tax payers.

This solution would provide AvalonBay Communities the revenue needed to extend the covenants for the affordable homes for 55 more years, thus preserving 80 affordable homes in Calabasas.

While it would be ideal for this project to go through the traditional land use process at the city level, the reality is that time is of the essence.

Nearly 80 families will be displaced if we don’t find a solution to these expired covenants quickly. Instead, I suggest that this proposal be presented as an initiative that could either be approved by the City Council or come directly before voters.

We have an opportunity to quickly protect the homes of these families who have been part of the Calabasas community for so long.

I am confident that given the opportunity to consider it, community leaders and residents will embrace this proposal which protects the homes of our longtime friends and neighbors.

By: Sheila Kuehl
Board of Supervisors

Sheila Kuehl represents the 3rd District on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

Source: The Acorn


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