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Townhomes take two steps toward completion

Townhomes take two steps toward completion

An abandoned subdivision of townhomes on Sequoia Drive in Lindsay took two more steps toward revitalizing the housing project last week.

At its March 12 meeting, the Lindsay City Council voted to close the road running through the project, Alameda Circle, to public use and release the road and the only two constructed lots, along with their liability and costs, to the Tulare County Housing Authority.

City Planner Bill Zigler said the City has authority to vacate the 600-foot street under the California Highways Code because it serves no public interest. Zigler vacating and abandoning Alameda Circle for private use would save the city all future maintenance and repair costs along with any public liability related to this street over the lifetime of the tax-credit project, which is required to be a minimum of 55 years. The resolution passed unanimously.

The city also approved the transfer of Lots A & B and Alameda Circle to the Tulare County Housing Authority and its housing partner, Sequoia Villas Associates, making the entire subdivision private property. The two lots located adjacent to Sequoia Drive were the only two of the 19-unit multi-family subdivision to be completed before the housing crash. Both the lots and the drive were approved by a 4-0 vote with Councilmember Steven Mecum abstaining from both votes.

“This will allow the Housing Authority to move forward with its tax-credit application,” Zigler said.

The subdivision itself was transferred to the Housing Authority in July 2012. In January of last year, Lindsay voted to turn over its low-to-moderate income housing program to the Housing Authority after dissolving its Redevelopment Agency following the court’s upholding of ABX126 in 2011. The only property left was Sequoia Villas because there were liens against the development following the housing crash in 2008. The City of Lindsay shut down the project in 2012. Sequoia Villas wasn’t officially transferred to the Housing Authority until November after the City issued bonds to pay off liens against the development and McDermont Field House using the City’s completed water tank and library as collateral.

In January 2013, Margaret Lowe, deputy executive director of the Tulare County Housing Authority, said Sequoia Villas is being built through a partnership between Idaho-based Pacific West Communities and Kaweah Management Company, the non-profit development arm of the Tulare County Housing Authority (TCHA). Lowe said the two companies were able to work quickly to file a tax credit application with the California Housing Finance Authority after the development was transferred from the City of Lindsay last summer.

Sequoia Villas will offer three-bedroom and four-bedroom units. All of the units will include major appliances including a stove, garbage disposal, dishwasher and refrigerator. Because it is a tax credit project subsidized by the government, Lowe said rent will be managed by the Housing Authority and set at $685 for a 1,200-square-foot three bedroom units and $785 for a 1,400-square-foot four bedroom units. Rent will include water, refuse and sewer but other utilities, such as gas, electric and phone, will not be included.

Zigler said the project will not need to come back to the City Council for approval since it is extremely similar to what was originally presented in 2007 with the exception they will be rentals under the oversight of the Tulare County Housing Authority.

The Sequoia Villas is not the first housing project overseen by the TC Housing Authority in Lindsay. In June 2011, The Groves in Lindsay opened on Westwood just south of Hermosa Street. The 73-unit senior housing facility is one of the nicest in Lindsay. Inside each unit, there are stainless steel dish washers and sinks. There are granite countertops in the kitchen and bathrooms and a heating/air conditioning unit and thermostat in each room. The patios overlook orange groves, the City of Lindsay and foothills to the Sierras. The low-income apartments are open to anyone at least 62 years old or disabled. Similar to Sequoia Villas, The Groves keeps rent low because it receives tax credits for its income-eligible residents. The Groves was also built by Pacific West Communities and managed by Buckingham Property Management. The entire complex is ADA compliant, as units can easily be switched from non-handicap accessible to ADA compliant with the turning of a few screws and swapping out different appliances, such as front-loading washer and dryers.

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