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Housing Claremont’s Statement on The Commons

May 2021

Housing and Homelessness Collaborative of Claremont (Housing Claremont) works to educate, advocate, and connect Claremont on issues that impact our neighbors struggling with housing affordability and homelessness.

On May 11, the City Council will make a final decision on appeals submitted by Clare Properties, LLC regarding a development known as The Commons. Like most housing developments in our city, it’s become a divisive project. Councilmembers must assess the limits and reach of LA County’s Airport Land Use Compatibility plan and the California Aeronautics Act, as well as weigh the risks and rewards of building much-needed housing near Cable airport. Few would envy City Council for the decision before them, as there are passionate arguments on both sides.

In an effort to simplify the arguments, Housing Claremont offers the following: Claremont cannot kick the can down the road when it comes to improving the affordability of our city. The Commons is an imperfect site to be sure, yet the urgency of the local housing crisis is extreme. If not now, when?

This is an unprecedented opportunity and the first time in Claremont’s history that a for-profit developer has made a commitment to low-income affordability as part of its inclusionary housing requirement. With so few suitable sites available for new housing in Claremont, and opportunities for affordable housing so vanishingly rare, the value of The Commons must not be underestimated.

Claremont has a legal and moral obligation to meet State Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) targets, and we are woefully behind. In total, Claremont is obligated to add 1,707 new housing units as part of our Housing Element; 1,160 are meant to be affordable for very low (554), low (309), and moderate (297) income households. How many units are in the current pipeline with an expressed commitment to affordability? A mere 34, most of which are for moderate-income households in the Colby Circle and Old School House developments. The Commons will not solve our affordability crisis, but it will help, and we cannot afford to let these opportunities pass.

Any increase in housing stock moves the needle on the local housing market, and The Commons would add 62 new single family homes, town homes, and flats suitable for many different types of households. Importantly, it would put homeownership within reach for six moderate income Claremont households and four low-income households. The City Council heard from several of our neighbors who would welcome this life-changing opportunity despite the limits of the location. The voices of those whom these decisions impact most must be central to the City Council’s difficult decision-making.

Recognizing the trade-offs, Housing Claremont supports The Commons because it aligns with our mission and represents the hard choices we must make to meet the challenge of our local housing crisis.

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