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City lacks affordable housing

December 17, 1999

Noaki Schwartz

NEWPORT BEACH -- The city has fallen behind on the number of affordable

houses it is required to build, and officials are trying to do something

about it.

"As it stands now, we have an affordable housing requirement, and we're

trying to decide how to deal with that," said Mayor John Noyes.

The state requires that about 20% of the total units built in the city be

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affordable, but the city has fallen beneath that due to recent losses of

many inexpensive units as affordable housing agreements with landlords

have expired.

The lack of affordable housing is a problem for many seniors, who have

limited incomes, said H. Ross Miller, spokesman for Oasis Senior Center.

Miller said much of Newport's senior population have been forced to move

out of the community over the last year because they can no longer afford

to live here.

"Rents have gone out of sight," he said. "Several hundred seniors are

really having difficulties. We ran a survey and close to 1,000 seniors

are in trouble"

This week, the City Council studied a list of possible sites to build

affordable housing. These included Bayview Landing, Bonita Canyon,

Newport Village, Newport Center and Banning Ranch.

Of these, the Irvine Co. has indicated interest in building at Bayview

Landing.

"It's already designated and entitled for senior affordable housing,"

Noyes said, adding that 120 units could be built there.

In addition to Newport fulfilling the state's housing requirement, the

Irvine Co. also has similar requirements to meet, Noyes said.

Rents for affordable housing vary from county to county and are based on

median income levels. Because Orange County has one of the highest income

levels in the state, "low income" here ranges from $34,150 to $54,640, or

50% to 80% of the median income.

And that is often too high for many seniors, Miller said.

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