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Proposed affordable housing project in El Dorado County has neighbors raising questions

Neighbors raise questions over proposed affordable housing project in El Dorado County
Neighbors raise questions over proposed affordable housing project in El Dorado County 03:01

EL DORADO COUNTY – A proposed five-acre housing complex in El Dorado County is making waves and a group of neighbors want to know how big it will be and if it will even be allowed.

"This is the site here," Derik Oakes said. "So we already have apartments right here. Then we have another large apartment complex here. And then we have another large complex here."

Oakes showed plans for yet another affordable housing project in the Sierra Crossing neighborhood where he lives. 

Bass Lake Apartment is an affordable housing project at the corner of Bass Lake and Foxmore. Signs are already up in protest.

"It's not the high-density housing or the apartment complex is the problem. It's really the size and scale of that project, right on the corner of a small quiet community," Oakes said.

The site sits right across from a school and would eliminate a beautiful wooded area that backs up to homes.

"Three-story high-density apartments put in a little corner full of trees, wildlife. And there's obviously some pretty legitimate wildlife concerns and fire concerns," Oakes said.

But the bigger concern is how quickly the project is being pushed through thanks to SB330, better known as the Housing Crisis Act of 2019, which prohibits a local agency from disapproving or conditioning approval for specific low-income projects or emergency shelters unless it's inconsistent with the zoning ordinance or the jurisdiction's general plan. It also shortens review periods.

"The way we're doing it, rushing it, expediting it, pushing things through, removing review processes, removing local voices, really isn't a good idea and maybe what we have to do is look back to some other things that happened recently. Some other crises that we had that we solved in a high-speed fashion and turns out a lot of those measures were not right, didn't work and some of them illegal," Oakes said.

El Dorado County says it received a pre-application in March of this year and is now awaiting a building permit. A rep said in a statement:

"The county will then have 60 days to determine and inform the applicant whether their proposed project is consistent with state-law qualifying criteria. We do not have enough information yet to determine today whether the project would qualify for these state housing streamlining laws. Full project documentation was not required for a pre-application."

CBS13 reached out to Affirmed Housing, the developer who has built similar complexes in the Bay and Southern California and has not received a response.

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