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Elk Grove city leaders again consider controversial affordable housing project

Controversial building plan focus of Elk Grove City Council meeting
Controversial building plan focus of Elk Grove City Council meeting 02:06

ELK GROVE — Elk Grove city leaders are taking a second look at a controversial affordable housing proposal.

It's a project the city rejected just 14 months ago, but now a pair of lawsuits has them reconsidering

"I can't help to believe this is no longer about affordable housing," said Elk Grove Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen. "This smells like politics."

The Oak Rose Apartments would be a three-story building with 67 units located on vacant land along Elk Grove Boulevard in the historic Old Town District.

Many people who live and work in the neighborhood oppose the plan.

"It doesn't fit in our community," one resident said.

"Basically, they call it supportive housing," another resident said. "It's going to be a drug and alcohol mental health outpatient center."

Last year, city councilmembers unanimously voted to deny the project saying it did not meet Elk Grove's zoning rules. The developers and California Attorney General Rob Bonta filed separate lawsuits arguing the denial violates California's law requiring cities to approve affordable housing.

"Elk Grove maintains its commitment to providing housing to all," the mayor said.

Now, with the cost of litigation and the potential the city could be forced to pay the developer's attorney fees if they lose, councilmembers are reconsidering the project.

"We're looking at millions of dollars," said City Councilmember Rod Brewer. "This could affect services that we provide for you."

Developers of the project were notified of the public hearing but did not show up, sending a letter saying they would not attend.

Opponents say the cost of a lengthy court battle is worth trying to protect the community.

After several hours of debate at Wednesday's meeting, the city council postponed the vote to give the developer one more chance to appear at the October 11 city council meeting.

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