Local Group Ordered to Pay $500K Bond for Delaying Affordable Housing Project

What starts as a familiar story about a local group wielding the California Environmental Quality Act to delay an affordable housing project includes a surprise twist: another state law requires the group to cover some of the cost of the delay.

2 minute read

November 11, 2021, 12:00 PM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

A rendering of a proposed affordable housing project in Livermore, California

The Downtown Livermore Apartments would be built on the former location of a Lucky grocery store, currently in use as a parking lot. | Eden Housing

Joseph Geha reports that a local organization in Livermore, California has been forced to pay a $500,000 bond to cover the costs of delaying an affordable housing project proposed for the city's downtown.

"Save Livermore Downtown, sued Livermore in June over the City Council’s decision in May to approve a 130-unit affordable apartment complex at the corner of Railroad Avenue and South L Street, alleging the project is 'inconsistent' with elements of Livermore’s downtown plan, and that the city needs to do further environmental analysis regarding contamination on the site," writes Geha.

With the lawsuit still pending, the nonprofit developer behind the project, Eden Housing, was able to get the court to force Save Livermore Downtown "to post a $500,000 bond to help offset the 'costs and damages' it is facing while the lawsuit proceeds," by citing a California state law.

Some of the funding to make this project work is time sensitive, so the delay compelled by Save Livermore Downtown's lawsuit could doom the project, as Geha explains in more detail in the source article.

For more details on the proposed, development see a separate article by Cierra Bailey, which provides this summary:

The plan consists of two four-story buildings with units that range in size from 500 to approximately 1,000 square feet. Both buildings would occupy a combined footprint of about 38,000 square feet and will include various amenities like lobbies, recreation rooms and laundry facilities. About 31,000 square feet of land between and to the southeast of the two buildings would be allocated to Veterans Park, which would be open to the public.

Moreover, writes Bailey:

The units would be reserved for residents with incomes between 20% and 60% of the Alameda County area median income, which includes individuals earning less than $55,000 a year and less than $78,000 a year for a family of four.

Yet another article by Cierra Bailey provides more detail about the substance of the Save Livermore Downtown lawsuit, while also citing local experts who dispute claims of contaminated soil central to the lawsuit. The delay and the lawsuit have the support of the Sierra Club's Tri-Valley chapter, according to Bailey.

Sunday, November 7, 2021 in The Mercury News

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