SIMI VALLEY – The public hearing to consider an appeal of the Planning Commission’s decision to approve a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for 62 single room occupancy (SRO) residential units on vacant lots at 2225 and 2230 Tapo Street, was continued a second time due to a last minute agreement between the developer, Colton Lee Communities, LLC, and the Marketplace Master Association opposing the development.
Their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was presented to the City Council. The 54, 540 square foot development originally consisting of two, three-story commercial buildings was originally approved by the planning commission October 23, 2019. As part of the MOU, the developer agreed to substitute one of the buildings with additional parking instead.
According to the Association of Transportation Engineers (ATE), who conducted the transportation study, “72 townhouse units and 36 Senior rental units have been constructed adjacent to the Tapo District Lofts site. Currently 12, 254 square-feet of commercial space (5,590 square-feet of fast-food restaurant space and 6,664 square feet of retail commercial space) is entitled and has yet to be developed on the Project site. The applicant is proposing to eliminate 10,454 square-feet of retail commercial space and construct 62 Single Room Occupance (SRO) units and 1,800 square-feet of retail commercial space.”
During last year’s planning commission meeting, 31 speaker cards were submitted in opposition to the development and one in favor.
In a memo to the City Council from the Department of Environmental Services (DES), it was recommended that the Council deny the appeal and “uphold the Planning Commision’s approval” of the CUP. The memo provides details of the appeal and the city’s response.
The developer cited Mayor Mashburn as a contributing factor that lead to the MOU, saying that Mashburn had appealed to him to take another look at the plan.
During comments, Councilmember Luevanos praised the developer for building “an affordable place to live…You have people who don’t feel the need to be in a car…The environment benefits…They can walk, they can take the bus. I want to thank you for reducing our carbon footprint.” She also encouraged him to have charging stations for electric vehicles in the parking lot.
Councilmember Judge said that people still drive to work and “this whole thing about not having cars…is a fantasy.” The elephant in the room was the Agenda 21 push for high density, mixed use construction and the elimination of personal vehicles.
This type of SRO development would be the first of its kind in Ventura County. According to DES memo, “Each unit contains one single room with kitchenette and bathroom.” The next public hearing on the matter is scheduled for March 9.
The February 24 agenda is available online.