The Coast News Group
Residents last month moved into 38 new affordable housing units at the Villa Storia development in Oceanside. Courtesy photo
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First families move into affordable housing complex

OCEANSIDE — Villa Storia celebrated the grand opening of 38 affordable housing units that are part of the 380 home development Jan. 17. They are the first affordable housing units in the city that have been built by a developer.

Construction of the apartment units broke ground in March 2017, and families moved in December 2017. There are 12 one-bedroom units, 20 two-bedroom units, and six three-bedroom units that range from 550 to 1,000 square feet.

“Everyone moved in last month,” Charles Schmid, chief operating officer of Chelsea Investment Corporation and developer of the Villa Storia affordable apartments, said.

During the grand opening celebration city officials and community members toured a three-bedroom apartment that housed a family of four. Deputy Mayor Chuck Lowery was a speaker at the event and part of the walk-through tour group.

“The mom could barely stop crying, she was so happy they had a home,” Lowery said.

Other families also expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to rent a budget-friendly, safe, newly built unit.

“We really need this apartment,” one couple said. “It is very beautiful and the space is perfect for my family.”

Schmid said some families who took occupancy were close to becoming homeless and said the units “saved their family.”

Most of the renters are Oceanside working families. To qualify for units residents must earn 50 to 60 percent of the area median income, and pass a credit and criminal background check.

Rents range from $822 per month for a one-bedroom apartment, to $894 for a two-bedroom unit.

There are 200 families on the waiting list to become future renters.

“The affordable development has received a lot of positive attention from people that live and work in Oceanside,” Schmid said.

There are also residents who opposed the 300-plus home development, which required a General Plan amendment and zoning change. City approval of the project fueled the proposed SOAR initiative that would require a citizen vote on zoning and land use changes.

Dana Corso, president of the ACTION community group, continues to have objections to the project.

“The Villa Storia project is not good for Oceanside because it raises the city’s negative jobs/housing balance,” Corso said. “The conversion of land to residential uses eliminates the opportunity to locate projects within the city that provide jobs for its residents.”

Corso also objects to the development being outside a smart growth area, and the added public safety cost it brings.

“Oceanside needs to respect and maintain the well-being of our existing neighborhoods,” Corso said. “We need to listen to our community and not Integral (the master developer), who will develop every square inch of Oceanside if given the opportunity.”

Lowery stands in support of the development. He said the project’s 3.5-acre lot, adjacent to Mission San Luis Rey, previously attracted loitering and dumping of used furniture.

Lowery said that in addition to building affordable units, the developer also improved drainage and roads for the neighboring Rancho San Luis Rey mobile home park.

Residents of the affordable housing units receive free after-school tutoring for children, computer access and organized sports. Adults can access ESL instruction, financial literacy classes and job counseling on site.

Extensive community outreach was done by master developer Integral Communities, home builder Beazer Homes and affordable developer Chelsea Investment Corporation prior to city approval of the project.

“The developers will continue working with the city and other stakeholders to ensure the for-sale housing is completed safely and efficiently,” Schmid said.

Market rate for-sale housing is now under construction.


Oceansidevotes February 8, 2018 at 6:13 am

I agree with Ms. Corso. The Diocese agreed to sell the land because they needed the money to pay for the class action lawsuits filed against them. The affordable housing component is better then paying the in-lieu fees, however, the folks on the waiting list are the same folks who don’t want to work. They would prefer to have more kids and therefore receive more state aid. The 200 families on a waiting list.. will be waiting for a long time and will probably end up in the homeless camp. Perhaps, we should start finding jobs for these folks, so they can afford to live, work, and contribute to Oceanside’s economy. Everybody has low income or no income, if you don’t work! I suppose rxstr and coastal voter are on disability or State aid too. The market rate homes in this development are starting at $650k far more than what was promised, when this was in the planning stages. And at the end of the development the City has to pay for the services??? Who made that deal? The City should be in business to make money, not lose money. I suppose that’s another reason why the water rates were increased again in Oceanside!

Todd Holmes February 8, 2018 at 8:35 am

To ‘Oceansidevotes’: Please help me in reconciling two things you said:

1) “…folks on the waiting list are the same folks who don’t want to work”, vs.
2) “…Perhaps, we should start finding jobs for these folks…”

So, do the people of this complex (and those on the waitlist) want to work the jobs that would be found, or don’t they?

Also, “The City should be in business to make money…” confuses me. Cities are legally endowed government organizations that (theoretically) represent the collective will of the people living within its boundary. ‘Making money’ isn’t their ‘business’. Rather, equitably acting on behalf of its citizens is it’s business, I would think.

TonyV February 7, 2018 at 12:26 am

We need local jobs balanced with housing. Oceanside needs to create jobs by supporting companies to invest in the city. The old drive in theater lot for one is an eye sore that could be developed into local jobs and tax revenue for the city. It’s all a balance and no matter what happens you’ll never make everyone happy.

rxstr February 4, 2018 at 8:42 am

Residential housing was the ONLY use agreed upon by the Diocese, Historic Society, Luiseno Tribe and majority of residents at San Luis Rey (over 100 letters in favor). The Diocese sold the land to a developer, not the City. Instead of applauding the City for making the developer build the affordable housing component (instead of paying in-lieu fees), some folks seem to think Oceanside doesn’t need more affordable housing. Ask the 200 families still waiting for these 38 units, or the thousands waiting for Mission Cove to open senior units. Smart Growth? Its on a major thoroughfare with a bus stop out front.

Tim B February 3, 2018 at 7:01 pm

With all due respect to Dana, most people in Oceanside commute to work out of the city. Just have a look at Hwy. 76 or 78 during rush hour and you’ll see what I mean.

I’m not following the logic of the jobs/housing balance presented.

We need more housing in Oceanside and fewer office parks and ill conceived strip malls. Low income housing opens the city up to grant money from the state and federal level.

Where do you think low income people will live? If you think that denying low income people housing and services will cause them to move on, you are sorely mistaken.

Kudos to the city of Oceanside staff and council for completing this project. We could use more projects like this.

CoastalVoter February 3, 2018 at 12:25 pm

Residential housing was the last of 5 or so other projects (including drug and alcohol rehab) already rejected by stakeholders and the City. Residential housing was the only project agreed upon by the Diocese, the Historical Society, the Luiseno Tribe and the majority San Luis Rey residents (only 3 or 4 engaged in legal action). The Diocese had already sold the land to a developer, not the City. Go argue with the Church. Concerned citizens had 4 yrs.+ to object. Where were you?

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