How will high-density apartments/multifamily housing benefit residents? Did the 09 General Plan call for 300 apartments w/ options to add more in future phases? Are the approved 988 units mandated

The currently approved Five Lagunas project from 2016, which included 988 multifamily units (and any additional housing if approved in the proposed plan), will help facilitate the redevelopment of the property by replacing obsolete retail space for which there is shrinking demand.  The approved housing is consistent with City planning policies and the City will evaluate if additional housing units would be consistent.  Generally, by proposing a balance of uses that fill a need in the market, the community benefits by having new vibrant buildings and spaces, productive retail stores, and office spaces that provide jobs in the local economy.  Newer multifamily housing provides older existing residents who are looking to downsize the opportunity to remain in Laguna Hills while providing a housing choice for younger residents who can’t yet afford to purchase a home in Laguna Hills.  The proposed housing will also help the City meet its housing obligations to the State.  In addition, MGP must pay $15,636 per unit in “Quimby Fees.”  Quimby Fees are fees authorized by State law which the City collects to build new park and recreation facilities, or rehabilitate existing facilities, when new multi-family residential development occurs. If approved, the project would result in the payment of between $18 million and $23 million in Quimby Fees, depending on the number of units built in the project. 

Housing was always anticipated to be included in the Urban Village area, which was analyzed in the City 2009 General Plan update.  While the General Plan estimated that an additional 200 units would be built, it also determined that as properties transitioned from one use to another or property owners rebuilt in certain areas (such as the Urban Village), land uses and intensities would gradually shift to align with the intent of the General Plan’s Land Use Element.  For the UVSP area, this means creating an urban village consisting of civic, retail, recreational, housing, hotel, medical offices, and general offices (Laguna Hills General Plan, pp. 29-30).  Further, the UVSP anticipated that land uses could be interchangeable and that property could be developed to its maximum intensity provided that the UVSP Trip Budget was not exceeded and trip generation impacts created were within acceptable levels identified by the General Plan (UVSP, pp. 35 & 36).


Laguna Hills General Plan & Urban Village Specific Plan 

Laguna Hills Municipal Code Chapter 8-06 – LagunaHills/#!/LagunaHills08/LagunaHills0806.html#8-06

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1. Explain the current zoning, conditional use permits, and land use for the 68-acre property [the former Laguna Hills Mall] and adjacent developments. What can/can’t the City Council control?
2. What is the status of the plan MGP showed the community at their April 2019 Community Forum? How does it compare to the approved 2016 plan?
3. How much housing does the City’s Zoning Code allow on the property?
4. Does the City consider traffic in evaluating development proposals in the UVSP?
5. In 2016, the City approved over 926,000 sq. feet of retail and office building area and 988 dwelling units. If MGP is an established developer, why has Five Lagunas taken so long to get started?
6. What does the City Council see as a viable solution for the development of the site? When considering a new development, does and can the City Council factor in the greater good of the community?
7. How do the new and future proposed/approved Oakbrook apartments factor into any decision making?
8. What are current vacancy rates for existing apartment complexes?
9. Why doesn’t the City insist MGP provide more retail space and less office and housing space?
10. What creates the most value for the city and community: High-density multifamily housing, retail, or commercial office?
11. What kind of retail space can residents expect to see since the outlook for traditional storefronts is so negative?
12. How much revenue has the City lost from the mall closing?
13. How has the City responded to this loss of revenue?
14. How will property taxes benefit the city and how much will the city actually receive?
15. How does more development on the site, especially more residential development, impact community infrastructure such as police services, fire and paramedic services, traffic, water, schools, etc.?
16. What were the projected traffic levels for the originally approved Five Lagunas Project? What is the difference between retail development and apartment development with respect to traffic?
17. How will high-density apartments/multifamily housing benefit residents? Did the 09 General Plan call for 300 apartments w/ options to add more in future phases? Are the approved 988 units mandated
18. What if residents do not want to see more housing developed beyond the 988 units approved in 2016 in a future project?
19. Why doesn’t the City simply ignore State housing element law?
20. What is the City’s obligation to help address the Statewide/federal affordable housing shortage, including low-income and homeless shelters?
21. What exactly is the Housing Crisis Act (SB 330) and how does it impact the new project submitted by MGP?
22. What are the key steps involved in the entitlement process?
23. How long will it take for the project to reach the public hearing?