ANAHEIM, Calif.—Anaheim planning commissioners advanced a proposal to lower the number of on-site affordable housing units at Angel Stadium on May 9 following allegations from the state housing department that the stadium sale violated state law.
Commissioners approved a development agreement to allocate $27.7 million for 84 to 104 apartment units for low-income households on the property surrounding Angel Stadium during a 4–1 vote, with two members abstaining because of work or residency conflicts.
Originally, the city settled a lawsuit with the state by promising to build 466 affordable units on the land over the next 25 years.
The agreement will be voted upon by the city council—who has the final say—at a later date.
The state’s Department of Housing and Community Development alleged the city of Anaheim violated the Surplus Land Act—a law that requires public land put up for sale must first be made available for affordable housing developers to place a bid—in the December 2019 sale of the stadium to Angel baseball team owner Arte Moreno’s company.
The city was cited by the housing department for failing to entertain bids before selling the 150-acre property among other zoning issues.
The state’s housing department then provided the city with the option to settle the violation by allocating $96 million toward a housing fund for off-site affordable housing units over the next five years. The city would also be required to build 466 affordable apartment units on the land surrounding the stadium. The settlement would result in 1000 new affordable housing units in the city.
Despite the city officials disagreeing the stadium sale violated state law, they agreed to the settlement.
To help meet the 1,000 affordable unit goal, Anaheim Spokesman Mike Lyster said he expects the city will receive state and federal funding along with non-profit funding.
“We put in money but then that attracts other money, so you get a multiplier effect,” Lyster told The Epoch Times.
Aside from the affordable units, the agreement on Monday approves over 5,000 market-priced apartments and condominiums being built at the stadium site along with a 2.7 million square feet of office space, 1.75 million square feet of retail, restaurant and hotels, a 7-acre park, and an additional 5.2 acres for a community park.
Meanwhile, Anaheim Councilman Jose Moreno—who has been a critic of the stadium sale, siding with the state that it was allegedly done illegally—questioned the $96 million settlement voted upon by his colleagues during an April 26 council meeting.
“If we didn’t do anything wrong, then why are we paying $96 million,” he said. “It insults the intelligence of the public and it certainly insults the values of transparency and honesty that we should expect of ourselves.
“[The council] will always vote to keep intact with what [they] originally agreed to two years ago with Angels baseball,” he said while claiming his colleagues would agree to the newly proposed development plan.
Councilman Moreno further said he worried about the city’s attentiveness to economic and racial segregation housing patterns will be overlooked as officials attempt to build 1,000 affordable units within five years and only about 104 affordable onsite units in the next 25 years.
“We’re sending this clear message to future employees of the stadium site, 45,000 people, to expect employment … low wages … and they can serve the City of Anaheim, but they can’t live at the site where they work,” he said. “We have to do a careful, thoughtful analysis of where we are going to build that affordable housing.”