The City Council this week defined affordable housing here as a $135,000 condominium as it wrapped up a four-year effort by developer Howard Adler and his partners to build town houses on Hawthorne Boulevard next to the Golden Cove shopping center.
The council approved a zone change and tract map for the 6.3-acre project. Adler, who said he was glad a decision about his controversial and often-modified development finally had been made, said he hopes to have construction under way in six months.
The 49-unit development, which will have a top price of $335,000 for a three-bedroom unit, includes 10 one-bedroom units labeled affordable and priced at $135,000. They will be under city resale controls for 30 years. The council has not decided on a qualifying annual family income, but Adler has suggested $45,000.
City officials wanted to include affordable housing in the development to protect the city against potential lawsuits for failing to provide housing for all income groups. But they debated for weeks about what constitutes affordable housing in the city, where the current median income is $63,588. The Planning Commission recommended 12 units at $150,000, with a $50,000 qualifying income. But the council said that could not be called affordable and opted for the lower amount, and two fewer units, suggested by Adler.
Councilwoman Jacki Bacharach said the housing "makes a stab at what our residents can afford and provides housing we don't have now." But Councilman John McTaggart, who voted against the project, called it a "socialistic approach to housing."