Farr Sticks To Plan
Housing requirement is not negotiable.
Thursday, July 11, 2002
On Friday afternoon, the executive board of the Fort Ord Reuse Authority (FORA) will hold its first meeting since the news last month that Rep. Sam Farr would hold up land transfers until more affordable housing is provided on the old base.
It is not clear yet whether the board will craft a response to the Congressman''s move, which put legislative language in a defense spending bill which halts further land conveyances.
Marina Mayor Jim Perrine, chairman of the FORA board, says that while he wishes the Congressman offered a warning prior to announcing the conveyance halt, he takes some blame for not keeping Farr abreast of what FORA was actually accomplishing.
"He''s given us a challenge and we need to try to address that," Perrine says.
The FORA body that oversees negotiation of land transfers met with Farr last week and plans to meet again Friday prior to the FORA board meeting later in the afternoon.
Parties involved in developing the old base complain that creating affordable housing is not economically feasible. But Farr is holding them to four main points: that "affordable" housing be defined as $300,000 or less; that 37 percent of all development be affordable (down from his previous demand of 50 percent); that the $34,000 in fees FORA charges for each new residential construction be lowered; and that a housing trust be established for locals that caps rents and resale values.
As it is today, the only land left at the base which can be used for residences and is affected by Farr''s move is East Garrison and the parcels that make up the University Villages in Seaside and Marina. There are an estimated 2,500 potential housing units in those areas.
The county had been planning to develop the East Garrison area in the New Urban style which replicates pedestrian-friendly neighborhood designs used before World War II. Although 40 percent of the East Garrison development would be made available as "affordable housing," a recent economic report illustrated that such a project would require heavy subsidies.