Willows 49-unit senior housing project gets green light

Originally published in the August 20, 2013 issue of the Glenn County Transcript.


By Susan Meeker/Glenn County Transcript

Builders will soon break ground on a 49-unit senior housing project in Willows.

The California Department of Housing and Community Development, which administers the federal HOME Program, has given Willows officials the green light to begin drawing on the $4.6 million loan to Pacific Cos. for the project.

Community Development Block Grant funding was considered a long shot in July — when the Planning Commission approved the project — but it became a reality on Thursday when Willows City Manager Steve Holsinger signed the final documents.

The housing units will be on about four acres south of Sycamore Street and Humboldt Avenue.

"The developer is working on a minor revision that is under review by staff, and they should be ready to get rolling around early November," Holsinger said Monday.

The project will consist of two buildings that are two-story residential apartments and will house seniors ages 55 and over whose income ranges between 30 and 50 percent of the area medium income of $43,000, officials said.

The complex will consist of 39 one-bedroom units and 10 two-bedroom units.

About 10 percent of the downstairs units will have full handicap access, although all the ground level units will be built to adapt to handicap access depending on the need of the renters, officials said.

The project will also have a full laundry facility, a swimming pool, a heated spa, a covered picnic area and a community garden, according to the plans.

The California Department of Housing and Community Development had originally planned to reject the loan, city officials said, but reversed its decision when presented a senior housing needs assessment study, which had been completed by Glenn County in 2012.

The study suggested Willows needed at least 48 to 51 affordable senior housing units built between 2012 and 2017 to house residents that wish to stay in Willows.

Orland needs 74 to 79 more units within that time frame and Hamilton City needs five, the study said.

The study also suggested Willows needs 42 to 48 market rate units built within the next five years, and Orland needs 67 to 78.

A market rate senior housing project is being considered as part of the Basin Street housing development south of Willows along Old Highway 99W.

Willows officials said it was the needs assessment that allowed Willows to score high enough to nab one of only 10 to 12 projects in the state that were awarded in this funding cycle.

The city will receive $100,000 to administer the loan program to cover internal expenses related to the project, Holsinger said.

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