RLF Richard Francis

In brief

Affordable housing meeting in Ventura; Former Ventura mayor enters City Council election

By Shane Cohn 07/03/2013


Affordable housing meeting in Ventura,
July 11, at City Hall

The future is finally approaching.

While 40 percent of Ventura’s population earns what is considered a low income, city staff has recommended eliminating an ordinance that requires new residential developments to have affordable housing units.

The City Council pulled this item from the agenda at the June 17 meeting and plans to revisit the item at July 15’s meeting.

A stakeholder meeting has been scheduled to discuss the issue on Thursday, July 11, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the Santa Cruz Conference Room at City Hall.

Developers have complained that the inclusionary ordinance creates a burden on a project’s profitability.

Statewide, inclusionary housing policies have created nearly 30,000 units for low-income renters and buyers since 1999. Locally, however, the ordinance wasn’t established until 2006 and many of these projects haven’t fared well due largely in part to the 2008 economic crash.

But affording the average rent of $1,380 a month in Ventura requires approximately a $50,000 a year income.

According to the fiscal 2013 income limits published by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, low income for Ventura County is between $30,600 and $48,950, which describes 40 percent of the city’s population.

In California, 170 cities have inclusionary ordinances that require developers to include a percentage of low-income housing in their projects. In Ventura, the inclusionary housing ordinance requires new developments to set aside up to 15 percent of the units for low-income buyers.


Former Ventura mayor
enters City Council election

Richard Francis, who was elected to the Ventura City Council in 1987 and appointed mayor in 1989, announced his candidacy for a council seat last week. Francis, an advocate against urban sprawl, was the co-author of SOAR (Save Open-space and Agricultural Resources).

He said the driving force behind his run for candidacy is the current council’s “lack of vision.”

“I think they have an agenda that they don’t want to articulate,” said Francis. “It was revealed when they tried to bring Cañada Larga into the city, and that blew up on them because it was politically unpalatable.”

Francis, an attorney, is currently adviser to Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation and a trustee with the Ventura Hillsides Conservancy.

The seats of councilmen Neal Andrews, Jim Monahan, Brian Brennan and Mayor Mike Tracy are up for grabs. Only Andrews and Monahan have filed for reelection, according the city clerk’s office. The four of them make up 68 years of service on the City Council. Filing deadline for this election is Aug. 9.                                                       

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