Antioch Council denies waiver of Measure O, other taxes for affordable apartment complex, project may not happen

By Nick Goodrich

A public hearing was held by the Antioch City Council, at its November 8th meeting, to discuss a request for more funding for the Delta Courtyard Apartments affordable housing project. In a 4-1 vote, with Councilmember Mary Rocha dissenting, the Council chose to deny developer Pacific West Communities’ plea for the city’s financial help in order to move ahead with the plans.

The Delta Courtyard Apartments project, designated by the city as an affordable housing opportunity, was set to include 126 units on 4.62 acres, located across from the Tri Delta Transit headquarters and just east of the Lakeshore Apartments on Wilbur Avenue.

At their meeting on September 7th, the Antioch Planning Commission approved the project. Upon further review of the project cost, however, Pacific West Communities realized they would be unable to move forward without additional city help.

The developer’s appeal included reduced Police CFD participation, the deferral of Development Impact Fees, and the waiver of Measure O fees. If granted, the requests would cost the city nearly $1.8 million over a period of 30 years, as Antioch would take on the costs on behalf of the developer.

According to Forrest Ebbs, head of Antioch’s Community Development Department, “The city does not need to guarantee the feasibility or financial success of every affordable housing project.” Antioch’s only obligation is to make sure it doesn’t present any unnecessary roadblocks or discourage the project.

“The cost is simply too high, for what they’re asking for,” Ebbs told the Council.

With that in mind, Ebbs and city staff recommended that the Council deny Pacific West’s appeal of the reduced Police CFD fees and the waiver of Measure O fees.

Bill Span, representing the project on behalf of Pacific West Communities, was present at Tuesday’s meeting.

Even a partial payment of the Police CFD and Measure O fees would allow the project to move forward, he said, but without the city’s help, it would not make sense to continue.

According to Span, Pacific West was not aware of the extent of the two fees until the Planning Commission approved the project in September.

“Our operating expenses are now much higher because of the CFD and [Measure O] landlord taxes”, he told the Council, making the project financially infeasible.

He noted that while Pacific West Communities would be constructing the development, it would ultimately be managed by a nonprofit organization, making it eligible for property tax waivers down the line.

In addition, the re-zoning of the parcel on which the apartments would be built is imminent, perhaps sometime next year, Span said.

This would mean higher Development Impact fees for any future project, to the tune of $3.4 million, according to Span.

Several members of the public stepped up during the hearing to offer their opinions to Council.

Antioch resident Nancy Fernandez worried that future developers might request similar concessions from the city if Pacific West’s requests were granted.


“We cannot waive Measure O fees, something that the public voted on. It will be setting a horrible precedent,” she said. “Every builder coming in from now on will want their fees waived.”

Lynette Solario, a landlord in Antioch, was worried about the parking problems a new development would bring to the area.

Solario voted for Measure O, saying that the $150 per unit fee was needed. And overcrowding, she noted, brings other problems, such as increased crime, drug use, and more.

But Mike Serpa, another Antioch landlord and part-owner of the Aviano Project that initally created the CFD, was in favor of assisting Pacific West.

He cited squatters, police problems, and issues with the land parcel as several recent problems. Pacific West, however, has found resolutions to many of those issues, in his opinion.

“There’s no development that works there…but this is a beautiful project. It’s a wonderful project.” Serpa argued that the developer should be exempt from the city’s landlord taxes because it would be managed by a nonprofit, rather than a for-profit company.

Ultimately, however, the Council voted down Pacific West’s appeal.

Mayor Pro Tem Lori Ogorchock said, “We voted on Measure O, and I feel we can’t ignore Measure O.” She echoed some resident’s concerns about parking, and also stated that not enough feedback had been received from the citizens in the project’s vicinity.

Mayor Wade Harper agreed with her, saying, “To me, when developers want to come in and not have to pay the CFD, that’s a non-starter.”

Councilmember Mary Rocha, in her dissent, was the lone voice willing to give Pacific West Communities a chance. She argued for more research and feedback before a decision was made, noting the city’s need for affordable housing and its potential benefits.

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