Anaheim Opens Talks On Stadium After State Rejects 25% Affordable Housing Offers

From the City of Anaheim regarding state Housing and Community Development’s judgment that the Angel Stadium agreement violates the Surplus Land Act:

A proposed offer to add more than 500 additional affordable apartments and bring the development plan for Angel Stadium of Anaheim to 25 percent affordable has been declined by the state of California with the city open to continued talks.

The state’s decline has resulted in the California Department of Housing and Community Development issuing what its has deemed a notice of violation of the state’s Surplus Land Act on Dec. 8.

Anaheim has asserted and continues to maintain that the Surplus Land Act does not apply to the stadium site.

“We have always been aware of and complied with the Surplus Land Act and other laws that allow for the sale of public land,” said Mike Lyster, chief communications officer and spokesman for the city of Anaheim.  “We respectfully disagree with any suggestion otherwise. The new version of this law and how Housing and Community Development has interpreted it have created confusion across our state, and we are far from alone in dealing with this issue.”

Expanded affordable housing

Anaheim and SRB Management LLC, made up of Angels owner Arte Moreno and family, offered to look at increasing the project’s number of affordable homes from 777 to 1,295, with 518 of the affordable homes being available sooner than planned through offsite development across Anaheim.

Encouraging discussions between Anaheim, SRB Management and California’s Department of Housing and Community Development led to the proposed look at partial offsite affordable housing. The proposal would make homes available sooner by not having to wait for the construction of parking structures to free up stadium land.

The proposed offer of 518 additional offsite units would see them come available within 10 years, rather than over 25 years in the existing plan adopted by the Anaheim City Council.

The effort to look at bringing added affordable housing to Anaheim sooner was initially welcomed and encouraged by the state.

But Housing and Community Development on Dec. 2 indicated to the city that it continues to have concerns about the mix of affordable apartments on and off the stadium site.

“We are surprised, disappointed and frustrated with the state’s current stance, which comes after months of positive, collaborative talks focused on bringing even more affordable housing to our city sooner than planned,” Lyster said.

“We stand by our stadium plan and the benefits it will bring to our city,” Lyster said. “This would be the largest single expansion of affordable housing in Anaheim’s history, keep the Angels in our city and bring revenue from development to serve residents. We welcome continued talks given the importance of this to our city and state.”

The development comes after months of constructive, staff-level talks with Housing and Community Development about the stadium site plan.

The talks, which started in May, have focused on Anaheim’s  plan to sell the 150-acre stadium site to SRB Management and the role of the Surplus Land Act, a 1968 state law updated in 2020 and covering the disposal of unneeded government land.

In an April letter to the city, Housing and Community Development raised concerns about the stadium site sale and the agency has now shared with the city that it deems the plan to be in violation of the Surplus Land Act.

Difference of interpretation 

The stadium site is unique and not seen as surplus land by Anaheim because it is covered by an existing, exclusive, long-term lease for baseball through 2029 with extensions through 2038.

The city is also seeking to sell the land for economic development opportunity as allowed for under state law.

A purchase and sale agreement for Anaheim’s stadium plan was approved in December 2019 with other aspects of the plan going before the City Council through October 2020, all with extensive community engagement.

The plan calls for selling the site for $320 million with planned redevelopment of parking lots into 5,175 homes, including a minimum of 466 and up to 777 affordable apartments.

Development also would include a new or refurbished stadium, office space, hotels, shops, restaurants and park space.

The proposed consideration of expanding the number of affordable apartments seeks to bring the most needed affordable homes to people sooner.

The 518 additional units would be for very low income households making 50 percent of the county’s median income and low income households making 80 percent, addressing the most urgent need in Anaheim.

The proposed offer sought to take advantage of development-ready sites across the city that are unhindered by baseball operations and the long-term development plan for the stadium site.

On the stadium site, 777 affordable apartments would be for moderate income households near or just above the county’s median income and be built longer term.

“We are disappointed by the abrupt change in course after months of good-faith discussions,” Lyster said. “We are open to continued talks on the mix and location of affordable housing as part of this project and are ready to find a path forward.”

Communications

Read the Dec. 2 letter from Housing and Community Development here.

Read the Dec. 8 notice from Housing and Community Development here.

Read the city’s response letter here.

5 comments

  1. Enough already! Anyone that believes adding more people to live in Anaheim is a solution, it’s not, it’s a ginormous problem. We’re in a drought, have to conserve water in CA. Just us, nobody else has to. It’s looking and feeling more like Los Angeles every day and that’s a negative

  2. How is occupied land that is currently being used by a “tenant” considered surplus?

    Surplus (noun)
    sur·​plus | \ ˈsər-(ˌ)pləs \
    Definition of surplus (Entry 1 of 2)
    1a: the amount that remains when use or need is satisfied
    b: an excess of receipts over disbursements

    Definition of surplus (Entry 2 of 2)
    : more than the amount that is needed : constituting a surplus

    So…there is no remaining land as all the land in question has been assigned a use and or is currently being used in some capacity. The State of California should not really have a say in this. Let the state of California build, at State cost, “affordable govt. tax payer subsidized” housing out in Yermo or Adelanto or tell the feds they want to use some of the 47.8 million acres of land it owns in California which is about 48% of California’s land mass. Stop having municipalities pay for the spectacularly idiotic and stupid way that Sacramento governs this state. Apparently Sacramento does not give a crap about the 350,000 legal residents of Anaheim.

  3. Perhaps Anaheim should do like San Diego did and call the Department of Housing and Community Development’s bluff and declare the land as surplus.

    How many affordable housing developers could actually afford to purchase such a large chunk of land?

    When affordable housing developers do purchase surplus land, it tends to be in small parcels of land. They also go back to the local governments and ask the governments to pay for all sorts of improvements to make it less expensive to build their communities.

    If an affordable housing developer were to afford market value of the all that stadium land, it would be a much higher price than the starting price the Angels agreed upon because it would no longer have the encumbrances for a stadium or parking lot. And… The Angels would have to look for some other place to play.

    The affordable housing developer would have to knock down the stadium, rip out the parking lot and dispose of everything, which they would try to have the city cover that cost. Then there is all the enhancements to electric, gas, water, sewer, and fire services that would need to be made, again they would try to have the city cover the cost. They’d likely also try to get the city to pay for all the road access and parking for the housing. Before you know it, the profit the city would net from selling to an affordable housing developer would be at or below what would’ve be made from the Angels.

    Another note… The California Department of Housing and Community Development is the same organization that is threatening to file a lawsuit with Anaheim because the city is trying to protect its neighborhoods from fraudulent organizations that disguise themselves as addiction treatment facilities and sober living homes.

  4. Time To Pay The Piper

    There is a swirling rumor at city hall that Vern and Donna Nelsons explicit XMAS card were actually sent by a group of housing advocates/agitators to help derail the stadium sale.

    Sacrificing the Nelson’s is an easy call when, you look at the published history on the OJB.

    Housing advocate and BOS member Katrina Foley was introduced to the clown car when Vern serenaded bus full of people with sexually explicit lyrics mentioning Andrew Do’s genitals. Thrice bashed Asian Democrat Kim Bernice Ngyuen’s was especially offended after hearing Verns Asian accent mimic.

    So look what Vern just did to his pet cause. Mayor Sidhu should send Vern a thank You card after he CRUSHES Aslieh!

  5. Donna Acevedo-Nelson

    Your comment is kinda funny. I don’t really celebrate Christmas by sending out cards. Katrina Foley was introduced to Vern many years ago before I even knew him. Vern’s song about Andrew Do was interrupted by me because I don’t like Vern calling anyone a dick before looking in the mirror first. And Kim Bernice was not on that shuttle bus with us and Foley going downhill. She was on the Fleetwood Mac Landslide shuttle bus on the way up the hill.
    Get your facts straight.
    Oh; and I really don’t care for “Aslieh!”

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