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Developers Argue Too Much Red Tape In Way Of Affordable Housing

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The city of Sacramento says there isn't enough affordable housing, but two developers argue too much red tape is getting in the way.

Steve Lanzi and his brother Vince have been developers for a decade, working on 500 rehabs and more than 15 developments in Sacramento and surrounding areas.

"We love the idea of providing housing for people and getting the neighborhoods cleaned up," Lanzi said.

That's why they bought a rundown Del Paso Heights triplex on nearly an acre lot in January 2018.

"They were actually on the dangerous building list with the city. The city was fining them. The city moved the tenants out…because the house was deemed uninhabitable," Lanzi said.

They tore down the house and chased out the tenants, then presented a plan to build six to eight new units that would accept Section 8 housing vouchers.

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"They shut us down before we even went for it. We were going to look into rezoning and they said it was close to $20,000 in fees to apply for that," Lanzi said.

The brothers say they are at a standstill trying to follow the city's rules. While they're waiting, their fence has been stolen and trash was dumped on the site, forcing them to hire private security to keep homeless away. They want to know why the city won't allow a re-zoning.

Councilman Allen Warren is also an experienced developer. He met with the Lanzi brothers and assessed the site.

"This site to me seems like it would be easy to identify as a parcel where you can develop more than a triplex," Warren said.

Warren said it's a process that takes time in California.

READ: Habitat For Humanity Turning Illegal Grow Houses Into Affordable Housing

"The cost of housing is what it is because we have a lot of checks and balances, we have a lot of environmental challenges," Warren said.

The city of Sacramento is requiring that the developers have shade trees over 50% of the paved area. In addition to that, they are also required to come up with a 10-year landscaping plan.

It's regulations like this that frustrate the brothers. Given the immediate need for affordable housing, the thought of months of internal review is daunting.

Steve and his brother say they've wasted too much time and money on this lot and are considering selling it.

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