In Ascent

A long-stalled affordable housing project in Seaside appears ready to move forward: On Jan. 5, Seaside City Council approved an agreement with Cal Am to use the city’s stored water credits to serve the project, which will finally clear the hurdle that kept the project in limbo for years.

The project, known as Ascent, will be located on 2.85 acres on Broadway Avenue between Terrace and San Lucas streets. It will have 106 units – a mix of one-, two – and three bedrooms – 16 of which will be affordable.

City Council approved Ascent in November 2019, and the site was demolished. The plan was to serve it with water using credits from the developer and the city – the project would use about 13 acre-feet annually – but Cal Am wouldn’t set a water meter to serve it due to the state’s cease-and-desist order regarding overpumping of the Carmel River.

So Seaside got creative. Last June, the city reached an agreement with the developer to provide water to the project from Seaside’s municipal water utility by running a pipeline from its system – which supplies a small area around upper Broadway – down Broadway to the Ascent site. The city also paid a $7.5 million capacity fee to Marina Coast Water District to irrigate the Bayonet and Black Horse golf courses with recycled water, which allows the city to accrue stored water credits in the Seaside Basin.

The agreement City Council approved Jan. 5 will allow Cal Am to use those water credits to serve the project, which will negate the need for the city to build the pipeline, which was expected to cost $1.5 million.

“For me this is all about making Ascent,” says City Attorney Sheri Damon, who helped negotiate the agreement. “We have to have a path to move [it] forward.”

The city will need about 10 months to accrue enough credits for the meter to be set, but construction can begin now.

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