Eastvale – The talk of the town has been surrounding the Eastvale Housing Element Updates. Community members have expressed their concerns at recent City Council meetings and with disapproval signs across the city. However, City staff has responded with several resources of information including a Frequently Asked Questions page, an online simulation tool, and videos outlining the purpose of the Housing Element.
The most recent video describes that the proposed plan is a state mandated housing element due to the 90% housing shortage in California. The video states that “every city in California is required by state housing law to update the Housing Element of their general plan to meet the regional need.” The state evaluates the current housing in the city, the projected population growth, and determines how many more units should be planned to meet the housing needs of our state.
The state determines housing needs through the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) and they require Eastvale to plan housing for everyone at all income levels, according to the video. This means “zoning for housing from 1 unit to 30 or more units per acre.” The video also stated that if “Eastvale doesn’t identify areas for these units, the City could face lawsuits, loss of state and federal funding, and lose the ability to issue building permits and say where new housing should go in the future,” stated the video.
Therefore, the City needs to “identify the areas where the zoning could be changed to plan for 3,028 potential housing units in our community.” But the City said that identifying these areas does not mean these areas will be selected or approved for construction. Identifying will just “satisfy the zoning requirements for the plan.”
Many community members have still expressed their disapproval for the Housing Element Update, stating we should build more schools first, have our own Police Station, or fight the mandate like other cities have done. But the majority of these residents have expressed that their main problem with the plan is the location of the current proposed housing. Stratham Homes recently proposed to build 216 High-Density apartments and townhomes at the corner of Sumner and Schleisman Road. The structures are proposed to be 2 and 3 stories tall and include a 5,000 sq. ft. complex on the property.
Community members are against this location due to the increased traffic the apartments will bring to this area. Traffic before and after school hours are already a consistent issue on that busy street and residents suspect the new housing will cause more congestion. Increased traffic could lead to increased collisions and pose a risk to children walking or riding bikes to school as well.
When discussing the Housing Element on social media, city officials have responded that the plan does not mean construction. “Please know the housing element is only a plan,” stated City officials in a Facebook response to a resident. “It does not mean the pieces of land that fall within the zoning code will be built upon. But, per state law, the city is required to plan for it.”
When a resident expressed his concern that another set of apartments were re-zoned off Citrus and Scholar, City officials responded with the following comment on social media: “Citrus and Scholar has an overlay zone to allow senior housing with a density range of 8.1 to 14 dwelling units per acre. General uses allowed at this density range include single-family attached and detached residences, including townhouses, stacked flats, courtyard homes, patio homes, and zero lot line homes. Apartments would not be allowed.”
The City is encouraging residents to voice their concerns at one of the Special City Council meeting/Community Roundtable discussion, which will only discuss the state-mandated Housing Element Update. The first meeting was held on Sept. 20 but the next two meetings will be on September 27 and October 18 from 6 pm to 8 pm at New Day Christian Church, located at 7155 Hamner Ave.
For more information, visit the Housing Element page on the Engage Eastvale website at https://engage.eastvaleca.gov/housing-element for more information.