If the two multiple-unit complexes proposed by Affirmed Housing are ultimately approved, Rancho Bernardo will gain 275 apartments for low-income residents.
In May, the Saber Springs-based company that develops affordable housing communities for families, veterans, the elderly and the homeless presented its first housing proposal to the Rancho Bernardo planning council. Representatives described a plan to convert the Radisson Hotel located at 11520 W. Bernardo Court into an affordable studio apartment complex for seniors. Their goal is to open in early 2023.
Senior project manager Shonda Herold told the board at its May 21 meeting that Affird Housing wanted to convert the 178-room hotel into 175 studios, each 350 square feet in size. The target audience, seniors who have an average annual income of about $ 55,000, should pay 30% of their income in rent, typically $ 849 to $ 1,223 per month. They would start with a 12 month lease and then rent on a monthly basis.
Council members asked about the potential impact of the project on traffic, particularly at the busy West Bernardo Drive / Rancho Bernardo Road intersection. Herold said the project is exempt from the requirement to conduct a traffic survey. Transportation options would be available for seniors without a vehicle, including ride-sharing services, she said, adding that due to their age, residents are unlikely to drive much.
Council members also asked about the impact a new senior citizen community would have on Fire Station # 33. The Rancho Bernardo team’s coverage area is large and the majority of its calls relate to medical problems. They said a new senior citizen residential complex would likely increase the station’s calls and response times.
Herold said Affirmed Housing plans to secure its line of funding this year and acquire the hotel by early 2022.
In October, Affirmed Housing returned to the board with a second housing project, this time a 100-unit apartment complex in the south parking lot of the Rancho Bernardo transit station. The complex would provide families with affordable housing.
The 1-acre site can accommodate 49 one-bedroom apartments of approximately 550 square feet each, 25 two-bedroom apartments ranging from 800 to 850 square feet, and 26 three-bedroom apartments measuring approximately 1,000 square feet each. . according to Jimmy Silverwood, executive vice president of Affird Housing.
The complex would probably have six floors, built on the south parking lot, which has 105 spaces. While Silverwood said the land was underutilized by those using the buses of the San Diego Metro Transportation System, community leaders voiced concerns at the Oct. 21 meeting about the need for spaces for future users of public transport stations.
RB resident George Cooke, namesake of George Cooke Express Drive which runs through the transit hub, said he had a number of concerns. He said the north and south car parks of the center are “integral and necessary parts” to the success and future of the center.
“I am opposed to anything that will take away parking,” he said.
According to Cooke, the center and the ramps of Interstate 15 that connect to it are part of the freeway’s “innovative” managed lane system that captured the world’s attention during its construction. The first part of the center opened in 2009, the remainder following a few years later.
“This center is not only a parking lot for the cars of those going to the city center, but for expensive managed lanes,” he said.
Cooke described how the plans integrate the hub into ride-sharing and ride-sharing options that connect to other transit hubs. As post-pandemic traffic increases on the highway, he said more drivers will turn to transportation options beyond driving individual vehicles for their commute to work.
He also said the center is an attractive option for older people in the area who are reluctant to drive on the highway. They leave their cars so they can still drive downtown to reach destinations such as Petco Park and theaters via MTS buses.
Representatives from Affird Housing said they plan to replace as many displaced parking spaces nearby as possible. Also that a parking garage would be built to accommodate residents’ vehicles.
Silverwood said Affirmed Housing would charge rental rates based on 30% to 80% of the region’s median income, which in 2021 is $ 95,100. For a family of four, the 30% “extremely low income” cutoff is $ 36,350, while the 80% “low income” cutoff is $ 97,000. The limits are determined by income and family size.
The project is in the early stages of development, he said. It has yet to secure funding, which will include access to tax credits for affordable housing developments at restricted rents.
Members of RB’s planning council said they supported new affordable housing options, but had concerns about a family-oriented apartment complex there. They mentioned its distance to community amenities like shops and restaurants and the accident history on the adjacent West Bernardo Parkway.