Case Against Aliso Ridge: Pt 3

The Case Against Aliso Ridge Mixed-use Development - Part 3
by Dale Tyler ().

 It seems to me that rezoning should almost never occur in a master-planned community, as the primary purpose of having a master plan is to provide certainty for property owners that the uses for parcels surrounding theirs are known in advance and will not change.

 Thus, one can build and improve a house with no concern that an apartment complex will be built next door unless it is already zoned for such. Unfortunately, past planning commissions and councils have ignored the zoning and put 700 apartments where there were to be office buildings. The resulting traffic and crime mess should be evidence enough of the folly of such changes.

However, let's say for the sake of argument that changes might be good under certain circumstances. What should the factors be that would permit rezoning a property? First, consent by adjacent property owners. In my mind, there is some doubt that this is the case with the Steadfast property. Second, a net positive to the city as a whole. Here, the Steadfast proposal does not even come close. We should be comparing $480K/year of sales tax revenue, plus property tax revenue of $30,000 ($20M assessed), totaling $510K against $30K of sales tax ($20K * 154 units) plus $151K ($100.4M assessed) of property tax revenue totaling $181K. This means that residential use of the 10 acres will provide $329K less to the city every year, or more than  $3M less over 10 years. Add to the residential side costs for parks, library use and schools, and we see no economic benefit to the city.

Now, some might say, "But this will fix our affordable housing problem.” But, of course, it does not even come close. In fact, there is no way we can satisfy the low-income requirement unless we build a tenement just for them, as there is not enough open space in the city to build enough units at the 15 percent burden imposed here.

I urge the city to not rezone this property. It will do nothing to improve our city or its finances.