Don Chapin wants to build 171 affordable housing units.
Thursday, March 16, 2006
County Supervisors are expected to approve a new development that will include 123 homes and 48 apartments at their March 28 meeting. It’s an unusual housing proposal—all of these units will be affordable to low-income and workforce residents.
If approved, the cottage-style tract will be the first 100-percent affordable project built by a for-profit construction company in Monterey County.
In exchange for building it, Salinas businessman Don Chapin wants something. County code requires that at least 20 percent of new homes and apartments be sold or rented below market rate. Chapin is asking supervisors to give him a credit of sorts by reducing the number of affordable homes he would otherwise be required to build in future developments.
Chapin says affordable homes may not fit into his future projects.
“Affordable housing needs to be put where it best fits,” he says, “where it makes sense, close to where people work.”
Chapin proposed the project nearly three years ago for 12.5 acres he owns at Rogge and San Juan Grade roads just north of Salinas. He says the development is designed so that his employees can afford a home.
“I lose 15 to 20 employees every year because they can’t afford to make a home here,” says Chapin, who owns the Don Chapin Compan, a Salinas-based construction and engineering firm. “These are people making $20 to $30 an hour— people who are literally building the community. They spend their earnings here, but they can’t afford to live here. That has to change.”
The three- and four-bedroom single-family homes, ranging from 1,100 to 1,500 square feet, will run $272,000 to $450,000. The apartments range from 655 to 1,105 square feet and start at around $700 a month with utilities.
In the first phase of the development, only Chapin employees will be able to buy the 40 homes. In the second phase, 20 families who work within one mile of the development will have the chance to buy. After that, 63 homes will open up to people who work within five miles of the project.
Chapin will be able to cash in on other incentives for affordable housing. Instead of the usual five homes per acre, he will be allowed to put 10 homes on an acre. He’ll also be granted various fee waivers.
The request to reduce affordability requirements for future developments will be considered next week.