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March 3, 2020 — Primary Election
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Local

City of Calabasas
Measure N - Majority Approval Required

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Shall the Initiative Ordinance No. 2020-380 amending the Calabasas General Plan and Municipal Code and adopting a new Specific Plan allowing up to 161 new market-rate apartment units, within an existing 600-unit apartment complex at 3831 North Orchid Lane, Calabasas, CA, requiring at least ten percent of the complex's units be reserved for fifty-five years as deed-restricted affordable units, designating 60 units for moderate income households and 20 units for very-low income households, be adopted?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Scott H. Howard, City Attorney

Summary:
If approved by a majority of Calabasas voters, Measure N amends the Calabasas General Plan and Calabasas Municipal Code and adopts a new specific plan allowing the addition of up to 161 new market-rate apartment units within an existing 600 unit apartment complex at 3831 North Orchid Lane, Calabasas, CA, commonly known as the Avalon Calabasas property. Among other conditions, the proposed specific plan reserves eighty units of the complex for fifty-five years as deed-restricted affordable housing, with 60 units for moderate income households and 20 units for very-low income households.

The Measure:
If approved by Calabasas voters, the measure amends the Calabasas General Plan and Municipal Code to allow specific plans and to increase the maximum number of housing units allowed on the Avalon Calabasas property. The measure amends the Calabasas General Plan's land use designation for the Avalon Calabasas property to allow a new maximum of twenty-six units per acre, but only if the property is governed by a specific plan that, among other requirements, reserves at least ten percent of its total apartment units for fifty-five years as affordable housing.

The measure amends the Calabasas Municipal Code to create a new zoning district, named "Specific Plan," and rezones the Avalon Calabasas property to that zone. The measure defines development projects consistent with an adopted specific plan, including the proposed expansion and its specific plan, as exempt from review under the California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA") and the Calabasas Municipal Code requirements for discretionary permits, public hearings, and review by City Boards, Commissions and the City Council.

The measure adopts a specific plan for the property approving the proposed addition of up to 161 new apartment units for a maximum total of 761 apartment units. Among other conditions, the specific plan reserves 80 units for fifty-five years as deed-restricted affordable units, designating 60 units for moderate income households and 20 units for very-low income households. The specific plan requires the property owner to fund the project, including funding the Las Virgenes School District for its Community 360 Counseling Center and funding improvements for De Anza Park.

Yes/No Statement:
A "yes" vote approves the proposed Calabasas General Plan and Municipal Code amendments and specific plan, allowing up to 161 new market-rate apartment units with specified conditions, including the requirement to set aside 80 units for affordable housing for fifty-five years, at the Avalon Calabasas apartment complex. A "no" vote rejects the proposed expansion and its enabling proposed Calabasas General Plan and Municipal Code amendments and specific plan. A simple majority of votes cast (50% + 1) will approve the measure.

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

This measure has one simple goal: to guarantee 80 families can remain in their affordable homes at Avalon Calabasas.

Your YES vote means families who have lived in this community, some for more than two decades, get to stay. Single moms, members of the Calabasas workforce, and seniors can stay instead of being forced out of their long term home to look for something affordable.

The challenge is that the affordable requirement on these 80 units expired. These 80 units represent the largest share of affordable housing in Calabasas. The solution is to build 161 new units on vacant land within the property to subsidize 80 units of long-term affordable housing. An environmental analysis concluded there would be no significant environmental impacts from so few additional units. The existing level of service for traffic would remain the same. In fact, the Calabasas planning department staff recommends approval.

Recently, the State has demanded that Calabasas build more affordable homes. This project removes pressure from the State without disturbing hillsides or undeveloped land. And, building fire resistant buildings within an existing complex avoids any fire issues.

As part of the project, Avalon will plant more than 350 new trees to complement local native oaks and sycamores, will provide funding to the local school district's counseling center, and will fund improvements to de Anza Park.

This was placed on the ballot to give the entire community a voice rather than leaving this important decision to a loud few.

A YES vote on this measure means 80 families can afford to stay and Calabasas' precious open space is preserved. It is the right thing to do.

While this initiative serves 80 neighboring families, it also says a lot about who we are.

VOTE YES to help your neighbors keep their homes.

FRED GAINES
Calabasas City Councilmember

RICHARD BRUCKNER
Director of Regional Planning (Ret.)

BERNARD MCDUEL
County Fire Department Chief of Engineering (Ret.)

KIM HARWOOD
Calabasas Resident

JOLENE PLACENCIO
Calabasas Resident

Arguments AGAINST

DON'T LOSE CONTROL OF THE CITY YOU LOVE.

This Initiative:
- Takes away control of local development.
-Circumvents our City's land use processes by removing oversight by our City Council and Planning Commission.
- Eliminates transparency by not holding Public Forums and Public Hearings.
- Forces amendments to our General Plan and rezoning changes that allow for the construction of 11 buildings, on terms dictated by the developer that cannot be changed or reduced, all without mitigation.
- Increases residential density more than what's currently allowed. Adding 161 market-rate units will bring in millions in new rent revenue annually, maximizing profits for AvalonBay.
- Sets a horrible precedent. Any deep-pocketed developer with a bigger project than our laws allow will exploit the initiative process to get what they want.

The majority of our City Council chose to put this matter to a public vote on the ballot. They recognize the important role local control and public input play in the direction that development in our city will take.

VOTE NO:
- To keep Calabasas from suffering the kind of uncontrolled and unplanned development that is the polar opposite of why we all choose to live here, and the primary reason why Calabasas incorporated as a city nearly 30 years ago.
- To require developers to adhere to our City's laws and development processes that provide us protections, including State laws such as the California Environmental Quality Act from which this Initiative exempts itself.

We're a broad non-partisan coalition of Democrats, Republicans and Independents who represent neighborhoods throughout Calabasas.

We, the people, now have the final say in this important decision.

The fate of Calabasas hangs in the balance.

Protect Calabasas. VOTE NO.

For more information visit http://www.ProtectCalabasas.com

MARY SUE MAURER
Councilmember & Former Mayor

HAROLD B. ARKOFF
Co-Founder, Calabasas Park Homeowners Assn.

DALLAS LAWRENCE
Trustee, Board of Education, Past President

EDWARD ALBRECHT
Pres. Greater Mulwood Homeowner Assoc.

JOANNE SUWARA
Founder - The Calabasas Coalition

Replies to Arguments FOR

WHO CAN YOU TRUST TO TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT THIS INITIATIVE?

AvalonBay's owned the complex since 2013 and had years to go through the City's development process. They deliberately chose otherwise.

AvalonBay proponents say the bond program requiring affordable housing "expired" and there wasn't enough time to use the City's development process.

But AvalonBay controlled the timeframe: The affordable housing units could've been maintained until 2028; instead, AvalonBay paid off their bonds ten years early. Funding could've been secured during that time to preserve those units.

None of the proposed 161 units will be affordable housing. They'll all be market-rate, squeezing millions more from the property for shareholder profit. That's far beyond subsidizing 80 units.

AvalonBay estimates their project will generate an additional 1,179 daily car trips on congested streets.

Gridlock on Las Virgenes is the greatest concern of Calabasas residents who'll rely on this mostly single-lane roadway for their evacuation in a fire.

AvalonBay asked the City Council to adopt their initiative immediately, which would've denied a vote of the people. It's on the ballot only because our Council listened to the many residents who asked to vote on this.

This is unprecedented in Calabasas. If passed, it'll change the way developers of large projects do business. They'll choose the initiative route and bypass City protections.

Trust the people who are less concerned with financial gain and more concerned about preserving the values held by the founding members of our beautiful City.

Protect Calabasas.

VOTE NO.

JAMES R. BOZAJIAN
Mayor pro Tem of Calabasas

CANDICE WEBER
President, Community Association of Saratoga Hills

MICHAEL HARRISON
Former Mayor

FRANCES ALET
Asst. Treasurer, "No on Measure F"

LUCY MARTIN
Former Mayor City of Calabasas

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

Your YES ON N vote means those of us signing below (along with 75 other families) can stay in our Calabasas homes.

We are single working moms, local teachers, local workers, and seniors on fixed incomes. We have been your neighbors, some for decades, and we love Calabasas.

The argument against this measure cruelly ignores that we even exist.

Instead of considering the benefit of this measure for families and seniors, our opponents demand more public meetings. For what? They refuse to even consider us, let alone be our voice. This is precisely why we bring this critical decision direct to our neighbors. 

Instead of protecting our homes by embracing a modest solution that allows them to remain affordable, they instead knowingly risk the State forcing our City to lose decision-making power on future developments. This would mean new developments in your neighborhoods and backyards with complete disregard for our City's local character.

This measure helps ensure our city retains local control of future development.

This measure's passage will mean we get to continue to live in the place that we call home. Just like many of you, we are longtime Calabasas residents and we want to remain Calabasas residents.

Every study required by the City has been completed. It has zero traffic or environmental impacts. Even the City's own staff recommended approval.

If you care about 80 Calabasas families being able to stay in their homes and retaining local control over development, vote YES.

We appreciate your consideration.

CORDIA WRIGHT
23-Year Avalon Resident

NOEMI MULHEARN
Single Mom, Avalon Resident

MAUREEN MANNING
Senior, Avalon Resident

INA ROCHELLE CREEF
Senior, Avalon Resident

FRED MIRZA
Senior, Avalon Resident

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