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City's Low-Income Housing Target Cut

August 26, 2000|JENIFER RAGLAND

A regional committee has approved Oxnard's request to reduce the number of affordable housing units it must plan for by 2005, a move that one city official said "gives some equity to the process."

The Southern California Assn. of Governments heard Oxnard's appeal of the low-income housing goals this week and authorized a reduction from 1,211 housing units to 922 units, out of a total of 3,074 units the city is expected to see built during the next five years.

The regional agency establishes the affordable housing guidelines for each county in Southern California about every five years.

"The city of Oxnard cannot continue to be the supplier of affordable housing for the entire county," said Sal Gonzalez, Oxnard housing director. "We are very pleased with the outcome. Other cities need to step up to the plate."

Santa Paula and Fillmore officials also appealed their allocations, which were announced in April. Santa Paula's request for a reduction was rejected and Fillmore officials decided to drop their appeal, said City Manager Roy Payne. Oxnard, Santa Paula and Fillmore are Ventura County's three poorest cities. "We just decided we would live with the numbers we were given," Payne said. "We didn't feel like we wanted to take the issue on by ourselves."

Santa Paula City Manager Peter Cosentini said he was disappointed with the rejection, because he believed his municipality made a strong argument. However, he said Oxnard's victory gives him some hope.

"It appeared that Oxnard was, from an equity standpoint, one of the most disenfranchised by the process," Cosentini said, adding that the problems are far from fixed. "The intent of the law is to spread the responsibility evenly, but the current methodology . . . just perpetuates the inequity."

A representative of the regional government association could not be reached Friday for comment.

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