City Council reverses Commission decision

Project approved by the City Council on Front St.

In spite of opposition by many Venturan’s who spoke at the meeting City council members have approved an 88-unit apartment project located at 935 E. Front St. It will have four stories of rental units. Residents who addressed the council opposed the project because the building height and it negatively changes the character of the neighborhood.

The townhome-style apartments will include 12 units for low-income residents and two for moderate-income residents.

The Planning Commission denied the project on Sept. 28 citing inconsistencies with the city’s municipal code, the city’s plan for downtown and state density bonus law. The plan approved by the City Council has more low-income units than the design considered by planning commissioners.

The applicant, Aldersgate Investment, LLC, appealed the decision to the City Council.

As the state has taken over local controls Gov. Gavin Newsom has sued cities for violating state housing law.

Echoing the thoughts of council members Councilmember Jeannette Sanchez-Palacios stated “I recognize that there are state laws that we just can’t circumvent that we as a city have to abide by and if we don’t, there will be consequences.”

In approving the project, the council did ask the Design Review Committee to recommend design changes that could improve the plan.

If the project continues through final drawings, approval processes and construction it will be many years before it is completed.

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